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April 10, 2014 Volume 35, No. 26

MU Retirees Association launches new website

Retirees want more communication with UM System and MU administrators

Ken Hutchinson. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

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, Hutchinson 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 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. 

At the 2013 Chancellor’s Retiree Luncheon, MURA presented Brady J. Deaton a check for $6 million, the largest-ever annual donation by retirees to MU. 

“That just says to me the potential is there for a lot of giving back to the university from retirees, but you have to keep us connected, you have to keep up the relationships and you have to communicate,” said Porter, who retired in 2010 as interim dean of the College of Education after 10 years as dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing. 

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. 

“Whether it’s spending time with the commissioner of higher education for the state [at the fall information meeting], being supportive of the university through legislative activity, or staying tuned into benefit changes,” MURA members stay current on university activities and interests, Hutchinson said.

For example, in February, MURA members wrote a letter to Gov. Jay Nixon that underscored the importance of MU’s ranking within the Association of American Universities. 

“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.”

— Kelsey Allen

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. 

Here are some upcoming events:

• MURA Breakfast is 8–9:30 a.m. May 6 at Columbia Country Club, Country Club Drive.

• The Ray Schroeder Spring Picnic is 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. May 14 at Twin Lakes Recreational Shelter. 

• The Chancellor’s Retirees Luncheon and Resource Fair is 10 a.m. May 23 at the Reynolds Alumni Center. 

For more information, visit