EIU Annuitants Association 2012-13 Chapter Meetings
Meetings begin at 8:30 a.m. - Refreshments, Business Meeting, and Guest Speaker
April 5, 2013 - Annual Luncheon at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
July 11, 2013 - Neal Welcome Center
Oct. 24, 2013 - Neal Welcome Center
EIU Annuitants Association Jan. 10, 2013, Chapter Meeting
I. Welcome: Association President Julie Sterling welcomed attendees to the meeting and expressed her thanks to Jayne Ozier for her able stewardship of the Association during the period July 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2012. Enthusiastic applause followed. Julie added that Jayne has agreed to fill a new vacancy on the EIUAA Board.
A. President Sterling reminded annuitants that the EIUAA annual spring luncheon is scheduled for April 5 in St. Charles Borromeo's Moriarty Hall. Luncheon reservation forms will be published in the next New Horizons newsletter and posted on EIUAA web page Home Link. Please print and complete the form and return it together with payment.
B. President Sterling thanked (and attendees applauded) Alan Baharlou for his timely postings of information regarding pension issues. Annuitants were thanked for their multiple phone calls and e-mails to legislators regarding their pension concerns.
III. Presentation by Jill Nilsen, EIUAA Vice-President and Co-Chair of the SUAA Legislative Committee:
The 97th General Assembly concluded on Tuesday, January 8, 2013. The 98th General Assembly commenced the following Wednesday. Already Senator Cullerton has introduced a new pension bill, which will combine facets of earlier bills.
In her capacity as a member of SUAA's Legislative Committee, Vice-President Nilsen suggested that we can no longer simply say "no change" to the pension system. The Committee needs to know in what areas we might be willing to compromise. Toward that end, she asked attendees to complete a brief survey addressing this question and to return it to her at the end of the meeting -- or mail it to Julie Sterling shortly thereafter.
In response to several questions from the audience, Vice-President Nilsen made the following points: (a) "We Are One" has recognized the necessity of both revenue increases and expenditure decreases ; (b) It is hoped that the legislature will extend until January 2014 any forced choices between the compounded COLA and state-provided health care; (c) there is no guarantee that health insurance will continue to be provided by the state in the long term.
IV. Presentation by Bill Perry, EIU President: After thanking Jill Nilsen for her "great work," President Perry made the following points:
A. The Campaign for Eastern, which concluded last fall, ahead of schedule, exceeded its goal, raising $63 million.
B. Thanks to Alan Baharlou for his efforts at helping to keep us all informed. EIU now has a Legislative Affairs website.
C. The University Presidents and Chancellors letter pointed out that Illinois's state university presidents and chancellors are willing to assume responsibility for pension costs in a phased manner, but only if individual employees do not lose benefits. It is not yet clear whether the universities will in fact be asked to assume responsibility for funding pensions. The state tax increase has not helped paying backed up bills.
D. Eastern's new football coach Dino Babers brought Eastern the conference championship in year one.
E. Eastern's freshman applications for admission are up 19%, and Honors Program applications have tripled in the last several years -- in part due to increased availability of "up-front" scholarships.
F. Transfer applications to Eastern have not increased either at Eastern or at other state universities -- a trend which appears to be related to the facts that transfer students are taking fewer hours per term of community college coursework and are remaining enrolled at community colleges for longer than one year.
G. Eastern's admission process has been revamped, in part in response to suggestions (e.g., increasing the number of "up-front" scholarships) offered by Noel-Levitz Consulting.
H. "Great people are doing great things" at EIU. For example, (1) Eastern received the State Fire Marshall Award for fire safety in December of 2012 -- as well as the Governor's Excellence Award for Service to Veterans in January of 2013, and a Leadership Award granted to Gail Richard by the OVC.
I. Pemberton renovations continue. The second floor will serve as the locus of Eastern's Honors Programs.
J. Groundbreaking for the building which will house Eastern's Center for Clean Energy Research and Education is scheduled for spring.
K. Eastern received FY 2012's final appropriation in December; the first appropriation for FY 2013 (which began on July 1, 2012) was received several days ago.
L. Positive trends at Eastern include an increase in the number of applications for admission and a continuing high retention rate. We have the best retention rate among comprehensive public institutions in Illinois.
M. The following is a summary of President Perry's responses to questions posed by attendees following his formal presentation:
- Spring enrollment is usually about 95% of the Fall enrollment (about 10,500 in Fall, 2012).
- The Energy Center is now fully functional. The use of natural gas at the facility is proving to be economical.
- One major use of private funds, all which are given for a specific use, is scholarships, which are helping to bring Illinois students back to Illinois. (40% of the University of Missouri's students come from Illinois.) Other gifts enhance the campus experience for all of our students -- for example a recent Tarble family gift to bring in master-level art exhibitions.
- Improvements of the Physical Sciences building are beginning -- e.g. renovation of restrooms and elevator replacement.
- Work on Pemberton Hall's accessibility continues, including installation of sidewalk ramps and an elevator.
- International student numbers, which saw a decline after the recession, are now stable.
- An ad hoc campus committee is presently performing a program-by-program analysis to "see what things we can do to be more efficient."
- An FTE cutback of 5% has been achieved mostly by attrition.
- The net cost of their education is very important to students. We need to stem the flow of native students to other states, expand the number of scholarships available, and "recruit like a private university."
V. Presentation by Steve Rich, Assistant Vice President for Advancement::
A. The Alumni Association is an independent, not-for-profit organization.
B. Opportunities for alumni travel in 2013 may be found on the Alumni Association website. Since 2002, alumni travel has been coordinated through Alumni Holidays.
C. Legacy scholarships, for the children and grandchildren of alumni, are available through the Alumni Association.
D. Each year the Alumni Association presents four awards: (1) Distinguished Alum, (2) Distinguished Educator, (3) Distinguished Service; (4) Outstanding Young Alum. Annuitants are encouraged to nominate candidates for these awards.
VI. Presentation by Cindy White, Executive Director, Charleston Chamber of Commerce: Ms. White noted that the Chamber is "getting into the travel industry." A nine-day trip to four modern cities in China is scheduled for October 2013. Descriptive handouts were distributed and attendees were encouraged to consider participating in the trip.
A. Look for the April 5 banquet reservation form in the next issue of the annuitants newsletter.
B. Remain vigilant and active regarding pension legislation.
C. Encourage others to join the Annuitants Association.
The meeting adjourned at 10 a.m.
The Meeting in Pictures
Click the images below for larger versions.