USC contributes to AROHE’s 10th anniversary conference

Last October, a USC team played key roles at the AROHE Conference (Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. AROHE Executive Director Janette C. Brown, executive director of USC’s Emeriti Center, co-chaired the conference, presented AROHE survey research, and conducted a pre-conference workshop. She was also instrumental in the American Council on Education’s (ACE) participation at the conference and in their joining AROHE as an institutional member. Bob Scales, EC associate director, and Diana Seyb, EC communications and project coordinator, managed the conference oversight and registration with grace and professionalism; and AROHE Vice President Jerry Walker, EC College director, participated as a conference convener.

The AROHE conference was inspirational, informative, and collegial. Three culturally different universities sponsored the conference: the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; North Carolina Central University; and North Carolina State University. For three nights, a different campus hosted a unique cultural dining experience. They showcased the President’s home, two campuses, two art museums, delicious Southern food, student and retiree singing groups, a jazz group, elegant strings and harpsichord, and offered gracious Southern hospitality throughout. Every morning before the conference, many conference attendees willingly arrived early to network with colleagues over breakfast.

Trudier Harris, Professor of English, University of Alabama and Professor Emerita, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was the conference’s keynote speaker who discussed “Outer Space, Inner Space, Creative Space: Riffing on Retirement”

“The keynote speaker was inspirational,” said Brown. “She was bold and informative and she put many superb ideas into wonderful context.”

The entire conference was packed with useful information, innovative ideas, and enough diverse content to keep everyone engaged. The 2012 AROHE conference can claim superb evaluations, highly qualified speakers and panelists, and the collegiality of the conference participants. Those in attendance were retired faculty and staff from the U.S. and Canada, retiree organization directors, and college administrators representing campus offices such as alumni, benefits, development, and human resources.

For many years, the USC Emeriti Center has played a key leadership role in AROHE. It was the late USC Professor Emeritus Paul Hadley’s vision to gather colleagues from the United States and Canada to discuss the importance of campus-based retiree organizations, how to establish them, and how to support colleagues who value the contributions of retired faculty and staff.

Hadley began in 1984 with a survey of public and private universities conducted by the USC Emeriti Center and then invited 10 institutions to the “West Coast Conference on Retirement in Colleges and Universities” in 1985. AROHE became a nonprofit organization in 2002 when Paul Hadley became its president and established the association’s secretariat within the USC Emeriti Center