The Oregon State University Retirement Association (OSURA) promotes engagement among OSU retirees and between retirees and the University by providing information, programs, scholarship and volunteer service opportunities that contribute to a rewarding retirement and that support the University's mission.
During the summer of 2001, a group of retired and actively employed OSU faculty and staff met to discuss the need for an OSU retirement association. Unlike most comparable institutions, OSU did not have an organization for retired faculty and staff. In September of that year, a steering committee was formed, including OSU retirees Kathy Meddaugh, George Keller (former Vice-President for Research), and Bill Wilkins (former Dean of Liberal Arts), plus other retired and current administrators, faculty and staff. Particularly helpful to the committee was the active participation of Les Risser, wife of former OSU President Paul Risser. The Oregon State University Retirement Association (OSURA) received official recognition in December 2001 in a letter from President Risser granting OSURA affiliate status with the OSU Foundation, as required by OUS 580-046-00205.
OSURA’s stated mission is achieved through programs that bring retirees back to the campus. The Association also works with campus units to provide opportunities for retirees to volunteer their lifetime of experience to current students and faculty. An early activity of the steering committee was working with OSU Continuing Education to develop a plan for a “Learning in Retirement” program for retirees. This subsequently was spun off as an independent program to serve a wider community audience that would include other retirees as well as OSURA members. The Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL), as this program came to be called, is a peer-led, fee-based cooperative endeavor which provides a wide variety of interesting courses.
As of December 2015, OSURA has over 250 active members. Membership is open both to retired and actively employed faculty and staff, spouses, surviving spouses and domestic partners. On application and approval by the OSURA Board, retirees from other colleges and universities also are eligible for membership. Annual dues are $20 per retiree or $30 per household.
Support from OSU’s administration has been, and remains, vital to the successful development of the organization. Following President Risser’s departure from OSU, interim President Tim White, speaking to the OSURA 2002 Annual Meeting, indicated that support of the organization would continue. Shortly after taking office in July 2003, new OSU President Ed Ray indicated his support for OSURA. In the Fall of that year, the University provided a two-year grant to assist with newsletter production and mailing and with website development and maintenance. In early 2005, the OSURA Board applied for permanent status as a recognized university organization; Provost Sabah Randhawa granted that request in May, thus “institutionalizing” OSURA with a regular budget and staff based in the office of University Advancement.
In 2002 and 2003, OSURA participated in a meeting with representatives from university retirement groups in the Northwest region, held in conjunction with UWRA’s Annual Festival. In addition to OSU and the University of Washington, there were representatives from Portland State University, the Universities of Western, Central and Eastern Washington, University of Idaho, University of British Columbia, University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University. While it was deemed unnecessary to formalize another layer of association, the group voted to continue meeting annually to provide mutual support and to exchange ideas on how best to serve members.