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Mary Page Community-University Partnerships Fund

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The Mary J. Page Community-University Partnerships Fund has been established to provide support to Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP).  Mary J. Page (1934-2013) was a voice for rural Minnesota. As a commissioner for Renville County, mayor of Olivia, a U of M Regent, and in many other leadership roles throughout the state, she carried the concerns of outstate  Minnesota to important policy-making circles. Mary helped to create, and then served on, the founding board of the West Central RSDP from 1999-2007, and gave vision and leadership to RSDP until 2009.

It is in honor of Mary's commitment to rural communities and RSDP that this endowment has been created, beginning with a founding gift and a matching gift from members of the Page family, which will leverage additional donations. Donors can give online, or contact Jane Johnson, Extension development director, 612-626-3717 or to learn more.

Did You Know? News About Retirees

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Do you ever wonder what Extension retirees are doing now that they have time to devote to their passions? Read below for news about fellow retirees and submit your own personal stories to Gwen Gmeinder at

Extension Retiree Donald P. Untiedt was featured in a February issue of the Star Tribune's Home & Garden section for his impressive garden that is home to dozens of varieties of Minnesota flowers, a waterfall and a koi pond.

Karen Lilley, Extension retiree, volunteers with the Blue House, an orphanage for girls in Uganda, Africa. She maintains their website, manages print and online communications, does publicity for fundraisers and outreach, and serves on the U.S. board. In the past year she's had some success with donors doing their own fundraisers (for example, biking across the country, running marathons) by creating online giving pages. She's trying to balance her desire to help more orphans with a desire not to work too hard in retirement.

Epsilon Sigma Phi Scholarships

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Shirley Anderson-Porisch was awarded a scholarship to support her attendance at the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO, November 2012. Shirley said "I am very grateful for the scholarship to attend the workshops and hear keynote speakers-all of which helped me with strategies for doing my work."

Phyllis Onstad attended the 2012 ESP National Conference in Mobile, AL where she participated as a Minnesota voting delegate. She reported, "Thank you for the scholarship which offset the cost of attending this meaningful conference-it was an amazing opportunity."

If you are a member of ESP Pi Chapter, you are eligible for scholarships to attend National Extension annual meetings, professional conferences, or continuing graduate education.The next round of scholarship applications are due July 1. To learn more, visit the ESP website.

As an undergraduate intern, I am finding many great experiences working for the Extension Development Office. In March, I attended the University of Minnesota Retiree Association's (UMRA) board meeting and lunch event where I heard author and NPR radio broadcaster Krista Tippett speak on a "Conversation on Meaning in Life." She and UMRA President Ron Anderson discussed life, faith and living with purpose.

UMRA hosts a monthly lunch with guests who present on issues of interests to retirees and small-group discussions follow. During the luncheon, I also had the opportunity to speak with retirees about why they decided to join UMRA. The overwhelming response was that the programming, events and connections they made through UMRA kept them active and engaged with the University after their retirement. Faculty from across disciplines and locations have found UMRA to be a great resource.  

UMRA is an independent organization, with about 500 members, including faculty, P&A, and civil service employees. They meet the fourth Tuesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. in Coffman Memorial Union. For more information about how to join, visit the UMRA website.

Sadelle Schroeder, Extension Student Development Intern

Professional Development Grants for Retirees

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University of Minnesota Retirees' Association's (UMRA) program of Professional Development Grants for Retirees is now entering its fifth year. These grants have provided support for retirees wishing to continue or develop new research/scholarly/creative interests. Proposals are now being solicited for the 2013-2014 cycle of grants, and the request for proposals (RFP) and required cover page are now available on the UMRA website. The deadline for applications, which must be submitted electronically, is December 10, with award decisions to be announced in March 2013.

Direct questions to Judd Sheridan (, chair of the grants committee, or other committee members listed in the RFP.  

Dean's Column (January, 2012)

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Dear Extension Retirees,

Thank you for your financial support of Extension throughout the years, and for your years of service to Extension. Your contributions are greatly valued, and your passion and dedication to Extension continues to make a difference.

Last fall Extension created a four question survey to gather information that will help us improve communication with retirees and receive valuable feedback on various Extension initiatives. If you haven't already, please take a moment to complete the online survey today. We look forward to hearing from you!

Over the past year Extension has worked with Chelsea Berndt, University of Minnesota student in agricultural education, to create the Extension Retiree Survey. Chelsea graduated in December with her B.S. in agricultural education, specialization in adult leadership and communications.

I am pleased to introduce Sadie Schroeder, our new development intern. Sadie is a communication studies major at the University, a 2010 graduate of Owatonna High School, and was a 4-H'er in Steele County for 15 years. She will be working closely with Matt Musel, Extension development officer, on projects related to enhancing Extension retiree initiatives.

Bev Durgan, Dean

Extension Retirees Connect on Facebook

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Extension recently created a Facebook group where Extension retirees can connect online as a group to share stories, thoughts, ideas, photos, etc. To join the group, visit the U of M Ext Retirees group page and click "Request to Join."

You can also connect with Extension's official Facebook page, where you can keep track of select news, read interesting stories, and join in conversations about issues that matter to Minnesotans. We encourage you to share Extension's content within your social networks, and post photos, videos or comments on Extension's Facebook wall.

If you have additional suggestions about ways in which Extension retirees can connect, send an email to Gwen Gmeinder at

The University of Minnesota Retirees Association (UMRA) welcomes all retired or soon-to-be-retired University faculty or staff and spouses or partners to join. The benefits of joining include: invitations to a number of events throughout the year; a monthly newsletter that contains updates on key happenings at the University; discounts to several University offerings and affiliations; and more.

Prospective members receive a complimentary meal at the monthly luncheon! The next monthly luncheon will take place on January 24 at 11:30 a.m. at the Campus Club, Minneapolis campus, and will feature Marla Spivak, distinguished McKnight Professor of Entomology. Registration is required.

To join or for more information about what the UMRA has to offer, visit the UMRA website.

Epsilon Sigma Phi-Pi Chapter Awards

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The following awards were presented at the 2011 MAEE and ESP awards and recognition banquet on October 3, in Bloomington:

  • Early Career Service Award, Angela Gupta, Extension Educator in Forestry.

  • Mid-Career Service Award, Kim Asche, Extension Educator, Youth Development.

  • Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Service Award, Cindy Peterson, Extension Educator, Family Resource Management.

  • ESP Continued Excellence Award, Kathleen Olson, Extension Educator, Family Relations.

  • ESP Visionary Leadership Award, Phyllis Onstad, Extension Educator, Family Resource Management.

  • ESP Administrative Leadership Award, David Werner, Chief Operating Officer..

  • Retiree Service Recognition Award, Jeanne Markell.

Read about more Extension awards on the Extension enews blog.

Dean's Column (August 2011)

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Dear Extension Retirees,

I hope you are able to join me and your fellow Extension retirees on Tuesday, August 23 for our annual retiree celebration. This year, we will be hosting a luncheon to honor our retirees at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Maple Grove.

So please mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 23, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and plan on joining us to see old friends and hear the latest updates on Extension.

Please watch for the email invitation and be sure to RSVP to Gwen Gmeinder (, 612-625-6795) by August 15.

I look forward to catching up with you in August!

Bev Durgan, Dean

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