Dr. Franco Vaccarino, University of Guelph’s President, hosted his annual tea gathering with UGRA members on Thursday, September 3 at the University Club. As well as mingling with the members there (about 100), he gave a short talk. He mentioned that the very first social event he attended last year after coming into office was this event with UGRA, of which he had warm memories as a splendid start to his mandate: a great year, a year of renewal, marking as it did the 50th anniversary of the University and the start of a renewal for the next 50 years with the theme of “what can we build on in innovative ways.” He invited the retirees to participate in the renewal by providing input and suggestions.
Dr. Vaccarino introduced his Executive team, pointing out that the “veteran” in the group came on board in 2011 so that the team was fresh and eager to work towards the future. He thanked the retirees for their past participation in the University community saying they played a vital, critical role in terms of bridging the past and the present; he strongly encouraged them to stay connected.
Robin Davidson-Arnott, the President of UGRA, responded by acknowledging some of the major contributions the University has offered to UGRA, among which are hosting of its website, the publication and mailing of the Newsletter, and paying for the monthly meeting room at the Arboretum. He also reinforced the idea of the importance of retirees in the University community, especially by being “ambassadors” to faculty due to retire in the future, keeping in touch with their old schools and faculties through attendance at university events and personal contacts. He reminded everyone of the importance of UGRA’s scholarship program: it is currently funded out of regular budget lines, but needs to be endowed so that it generates its own funds, and is not a yearly drain on the working budget. UGRA and Alumni Affairs are working together on this project, with a particular effort this coming year.
— Dana Paramskas