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May 2010 Archives

Dean's Column (May 2010)

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Dear Extension Retirees,

I am looking forward to hosting our annual reception for Extension retirees on Thursday, September 23. Please mark your calendars and plan on joining us to see old friends and hear about Extension's latest initiatives. This year's event will take place in a new and exciting venue - the University's Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC) at 2001 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis.

The multipurpose facility provides opportunities for University services and community organizations to conduct programs and pursue initiatives and projects to discover solutions to complex issues facing urban communities. Extension programs that will have a presence at the UROC include: Urban 4H Youth Development, Simply Good Eating, Hennepin County Master Gardeners and Operation Frontline. Read more about the facility and the initiatives it serves on the UROC website.

Please plan on joining us at 2 p.m. for refreshments and a tour of the facility. An invitation with directions and a request for your RSVP will be sent later this summer.

Bev Durgan

Some people retire and go fishing in Florida, but for others at the University of Minnesota, a unique program awards grants to retirees to continue their work.

Fourteen awards of up to $3,500 each were granted this year through the University of Minnesota Retirees Association (UMRA) professional development grants program. To read about this year's awards recipients and their projects, as well as the preliminary plan for 2011 grants, visit the UMRA Grants for Retirees webpage.

Extension retirees interested in learning more about the University of Minnesota's role in food conservation during WWI will want to read Rae Katherine Eighmey's new book, "Food Will Win the War: Minnesota Crops, Cooks and Conservation during WWI," published by Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Eighmey, a St. Paul resident and food historian, writes about the accomplishments of the University, Extension, and the state's farmers and citizens to help the food-starved, war-torn American Allies eat another day and fight another battle.

For additional information about Extension's role in food conservation, watch the Extension Centennial video, Access to Healthy Foods, featuring Eighmey as commentator.

Extension website Keeps on Growing

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Extension staff have been making lots of improvements to the Extension website lately. In addition to more web-friendly information, the website offers better navigation and clearer alignment with the University brand. Extension also redesigned the entire Youth Development section of the website, making it easier for staff, volunteers, donors and youth workers to find the information they need. We will be using the lessons from the youth development pilot to make improvements to the other sections of the website in the coming year. These improvements are important steps toward the goal of developing one Extension website for the public to have a single online source for finding Extension content, information and resources.

ESP is a professional organization that is focused on connecting Extension staff and retirees to build networks, continuity and support for Extension. Information on how to become a member can be found on the Epsilon Sigma Phi website.

The annual ESP meeting will be held during Extension's Program Conference, October 4-6, in the Twin Cities. We hope that lifetime members of ESP will be able to attend the annual meeting. When we have a definite date and time, we will share that information.

Minnesota Extension Workers Scholarship

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One way that retirees have chosen to continue their support for Extension is through donations to the Minnesota Extension Workers Scholarship (MEWS) fund. The Minnesota chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) oversees the use of the donations for continuing education scholarships, professional development speakers, and national training from ESP. The fund is one of Extension's oldest charitable giving opportunities, founded in the 1970s by Extension staff Pat Borich and Dennis Seefeldt. Since its beginning, over $100,000 has been raised from Extension staff and supporters for professional development of Extension employees.

Gifts to the MEWS fund can be made at the University's Giving website (fund #2941) or mailed to the University of Minnesota Foundation, CM-3854, PO Box 70870, St. Paul, MN 55170-3854. For more information, contact Matt Musel, Extension development officer, at 612-735-1890 or

New Retirees (May 2010)

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Madge Alberts, associate Extension professor and program coordinator, University of Minnesota Children, Youth and Family Consortium, retired on December 31 after 20 years of leadership and service for programs in the area of children, youth and families.

Carol Ann Burtness, regional Extension educator and active veteran of the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences, retired after 34 years of contributions to Extension program areas of family and consumer science, food science and food safety; her retirement was effective on January 31.

James Deidrick, retired on November 30, 2009 with more than 30 years in youth development, holding 4-H leadership roles at county and state levels. In January, he began a new position as national program coordinator for Operation: Military Kids.

Carl Hoffman, retired on April 30 after more than 20 years as Stearns County's Extension educator in horticulture. His Extension horticulture livelihood followed a long career as a vocational and school teacher, although he had been gardening since he was a child on his family's farm near Clearwater. Read more about Carl Hoffman's retirement on the AgriNews website.

Juan Moreno, diversity and inclusion specialist for Extension, retired on January 31, after 31 years with the University of Minnesota, 12 of which were with Extension. He is most known for contributions to community building through diversity and inclusion in local, state, national and international arenas. He will spend his retirement in Florida and Ecuador.

Robert Quinlan, Extension educator with 34 years of service and contributions in county and regional roles for 4-H Youth Development, retired on May 3. He also was co-chair of the Minnesota 4-H Camping Program Initiative Team.

In Memoriam (May 2010)

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Shirley A. Ruedebusch, age 76, long-time nutrition education assistant in Hennepin County, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on January 5.

Minnesota 4-H has taken to a whole new realm a national 4-H initiative that prepares youth for careers in science and technology. While the Minnesota 4-H Science, Technology and Engineering (SET) initiative includes everything from traditional animal science to robotics, 4-H programs in rocketry and astronomy have become particularly popular. The Brainerd Dispatch recently told a story of a 4-H astronomy program in Aitkin, Cass and Crow Wing counties in the article "Star party treated to explosive meteoroid." Looks like Extension Youth Development Educator Heidi Haugen and her group of trained volunteers truly are helping Minnesota youth reach for the stars.

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