Retirees want more communication with UM System and MU administrators

By Kelsey Allen, originally printed in Mizzou Weekly

Ken Hutchinson is distinctly qualified to serve as president of the MU Retirees Association (MURA), an organization that not only provides educational and social activities for retirees, but also protects their interests, especially in retirement and health benefits. Hutchinson retired in 2008 as the vice president of human resources for the University of Missouri System.

“I used to spend time with the MURA when I was active, discussing benefits or matters of interest to the retirees,” Hutchinson said. “It was a natural thing for me to join the association and become active in it.”

Although MURA monitors pensions and insurance, Hutchison doesn’t view the organization as an advocacy group. Rather MURA provides valuable communication to retirees. Through annual MURA events — such as the fall and winter socials, the spring picnic and the Chancellor’s Retirees Luncheon and Resource Fair — Hutchinson hopes retirees stay knowledgeable about MU activities and support the university.

To facilitate communication among retirees, the UM System and the university, MURA launched a new website at mura-missouri.com. The site is more dynamic and easier to maintain, said Barb Harris, MURA communication committee chair.

With more than 3,000 retirees in a 60-mile radius of Columbia, former MURA president Rose Porter wants them to be better connected to campus. They are a key part of the Mizzou family, she said.

MURA has worked with UM System President Tim Wolfe to start a retiree newsletter tailored to each of the four campuses, and Hutchinson emails the online edition of Mizzou Weekly to MURA’s more than 500 members.

“Just because you retire doesn’t mean that you’re now disinterested,” Hutchinson said. “You continue to care about the university, you continue to want it to be successful, and you want to — although in a different way — contribute to the extent you can in ensuring its continued success.”

Membership in MURA is open to all MU staff and faculty who are 55 years old and older and who are fully vested in the retirement plan. Annual membership is $7.50, and a life membership is $75.