By Sharon Toogood Froehle
Director of Gift Planning
At lunch one day, Angeline Dufner, CSB English Department retiree, told me she felt removed from her CSB community in her retirement and wished for more meaningful involvement. She was saddened that CSB did not have any method in place for retirees to learn what they could do as volunteers or even to connect with their students or current and retired faculty and staff. She also did not think the exit interview was a positive experience that invited the retiree to have a continued relationship with the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s UniversityFollowing this conversation, I met with S. Colman, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, to tell her we were not serving our retirees. Somewhat surprised, S. Colman suggested I meet with Human Resources to find out what could be done. Herb Trenz, former Human Resources Director, and I subsequently met to discuss needs, possible leaders from among retirees, and a process to move ahead in forming an association.
In later discussions, Margy Hughes, Physical Education Department retiree, recollected several conversations about CSB/SJU retirees’ benefits. Retirees seemed to experience a lack of information—or even misinformation—about such benefits. In addition, retirees did not have access to news on either campus nor were they invited to most events.
With these comments in mind, I convened a group of retirees to initiate conversation about retirement from CSB/SJU. Throughout the year of meetings that followed, the initial planning group expanded to include representation from all areas of retired employees. As a result of several meetings, the committee devised procedures as well as the formal name for this group—Association of Retirees—with approval from Stuart Lang, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and Judy Bednar, Interim Human Resources Director.
Thanks to assistance from several offices, the planning committee has established and set forth what it thinks are clear and, in some cases, new benefits for all retirees. Retirees now also have access to several Web links that connect them to information and ongoing events at CSB and SJU.