A Bit of History: I’m certain that Hal Cloer, Mary Christlieb, Don Lewis, Ed Hungerford, and Thom Jones, all emeritus faculty, were being playful when in 2000 they dubbed themselves “The Kitchen Cabinet.” They certainly did not meet with Interim President Sarah Hopkins-Powell to give her informal advice about how to run the University. In fact, their role was limited to proposing to Sarah that a committee work with Jeanne Stallman, head of Senior Programs. Their goal was to foster the creation of an emeriti organization. Sarah agreed that the group should draft an agreement between emeriti faculty and the University; it would formally establish an Emeriti Association and have Senior Programs underwrite costs for two yearly luncheons, as well as provide clerical support. (Neil Kunze’s brief history of the activities of the Kitchen Cabinet, from which I have liberally borrowed, nicely details the Cabinet’s work and composition and confirms the crucial role Hal played.) A Bit More Ancient History: As a member of the Cabinet, Hal was uniquely positioned to advocate for an emeritus association and to build on the legacy of a dear friend and colleague, Lee Mulling, Emeritus Professor of Communication. Senior members of the Retirees Association will recall that for many years following his own retirement, Lee was, for all practical purposes, the emeriti faculty organization. He found rooms and times for monthly brown-bag meetings, arranged programs, took minutes, and sent out a brief newsletter, typed by departmental secretaries he charmed into helping him out. When James Dean attended these brown-bag affairs following his own retirement, there were never more than ten or twelve in attendance. But Lee was tenacious. He strongly believed that such a group should exist.
Hal was a great believer in participatory democracy. He willingly volunteered to poll all retired faculty members to determine whether they were in favor of establishing an organization to represent them to the University, and if they did desire such ties, to discover what their priorities for such an organization should be. The survey, returned by more than 50 percent of emeriti, proved invaluable: it provided fellow Kitchen Cabinet members with good data about how an Association should be organized and governed, what its goals should be, and how it should maintain contact with retirees by means of a Newsletter. Hal, like other members of the Kitchen Cabinet, agreed to serve as a Board Member for the first year of the fledgling organization’s life.
In 2007, responding to a new provision in the Association of Retirees Guidelines that encourages nonfaculty members of the University community to join the Retirees Association and participate in its activities, Council President John Whitesitt sent a letter inviting them to future Association activities. During a Fall term luncheon and business meeting, Association members voted unanimously for the idea of making membership more inclusive. By going in this direction, SOU resembles most other west coast universities in not limiting membership to emeritus faculty members. At least 50 people will receive John’s initial letter. More will likely be added to the list as other names are suggested and their whereabouts determined. Membership is open to administrators and staff who retired from SOU with at least five years service. “Staff” includes classified employees. “Administration” includes non teaching faculty (aka as administrative faculty) and people who at one point were called management service or administrative professionals A little later it was voted by the association to change the name of the organization to "SOU Retirees Association"
For more information, contact: Jeanne Stallman, Executive Director, Outreach and Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org.