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Showing posts from March, 2019

Dean's Column (March 2019)

Dear Extension retirees, Extension is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year with both a look back at the organization’s accomplishments and a look ahead to its future. If you attend a retiree luncheon or other Extension events throughout 2019, you will see and hear the theme “110 Years: Extending Knowledge and Changing Lives.” Those words mean that Extension has made a difference in Minnesota, and it will continue to do so. At the same time, a committee of Extension faculty and staff is reviewing our strategic plan this year. Their work, which you’ll hear more about this summer, will help set a course for Extension’s 12th decade. This milestone will be noted at Extension’s public-facing events all year long with special banners, buttons, stickers and other materials that can serve as conversation-starters with our stakeholders. The anniversary provides a wonderful opportunity for us to tell the story of Extension and why it matters. I look forward to hearing your version of that

Fundraising milestone

Extension’s fundraising has reached the $11 million milestone for giving during the University’s Driven campaign. Thanks to generous donors, as of the end of February, Extension’s development effort had raised $11,010,631. That’s about 69 percent of our goal of $16 million by 2021. More than 6,600 donors have contributed to Extension since Driven was launched in 2012, including 4,020 donors who made their first gift to Extension during this campaign. About 165 Extension faculty, staff and retirees have contributed nearly $800,000 (includes planned gifts). 60 percent of the money raised so far has been given to Minnesota 4-H. The remaining $3.5 million supporting other centers represents the largest gift totals for Extension programs in our history. To find out more about Extension’s capital campaign or to make a gift, visit the giving page

Extension Retiree Luncheon

Join us for our annual summer Extension Retiree Luncheon in the Twin Cities. Reconnect with friends and colleagues, enjoy a delicious, complimentary lunch, hear about the latest happenings in Extension, and enjoy a featured speaker. We hope to see you this summer! Twin Cities: Thursday, July 18, 12-2 p.m., Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham St., Roseville; RSVP by July 11. Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit, Extension development office, at (612) 624-7971 or . Jane Johnson Chief Development Officer

21st Annual Minnesota 4-H Golf Classic

The Minnesota 4-H Golf Classic takes place Monday, June 17 at TopGolf in Brooklyn Center. Gather your friends, family or business associates for a morning of golf supporting Minnesota 4-H youth programs, or register as an individual and we’ll find you a group. Registration fee includes three hours of golfing, breakfast, hearty hors d'oeuvres, eligibility to win great prizes, as well as an amazing silent auction. Contact Shelly Tschida at for details.

Estate and gift planning strategies seminar

University of Minnesota alumni and friends, including retirees, are invited to attend an informative conversation about estate and gift planning. Hosted by the University of Minnesota Foundation, the estate and gift planning strategies seminar will cover these and related topics: Strategies for creating an estate plan that reflects your wishes How tax law reform may impact gift planning Tax-wise gift options to benefit heirs, charities or both Charitable gifts that can increase your lifetime income The discussion will be led by Jane Godfrey, '91 J.D., who leads the foundation's planned giving group after 20 years as an estate planning attorney. Please join us for one of the three seminars: McNamara Alumni Center: April 24, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: May 7, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Midland Hills Country Club: May 23, 9 to 10:30 a.m. If you'd like to attend, please RSVP to Beth Arnold at or 612-624-2203.

Thanks to all who completed Source magazine survey

More than 100 retirees mailed in or went online to complete the Source magazine survey. No other group had such a high rate of return. Thank you! We are carefully considering the responses. One question was about the importance of receiving a print magazine versus reading stories online. We understand many people’s preference for print communications. We are planning to continue offering Source , but also to satisfy the desire many have for time-sensitive and multimedia stories online. You can find many of those stories on our new Extension News and Highlights section, where we gather Highlights, Source stories, news releases and select stories from various Extension newsletters and blogs. We expect it to grow quite a bit in the coming year. Thanks also to the many who contributed story ideas and other valuable insights. We greatly appreciate the time and thought you put into your survey responses. Becky Beyers Director, Communications and Public Relations

Awards & Accomplishments (March 2019)

Congratulations to the following Extension faculty and staff who received awards in the past few months: Jennifer Garbow, Extension educator in family resiliency, Center for Family Development, received the Thrivent Personal Finance Community Educator Award at Econfest, an annual event hosted by the Minnesota Council on Economic Education. Catherine Rasmussen, Scott Chazdon, and former Humphrey graduate student Aimee Fritsch recently published an article in the Journal of Leadership Education (JOLE). “Old Concept, New Generation: Millennials and Community Leadership Programs." Dorothy Freeman, recently retired associate dean, has joined the National 4-H Council in a part-time role focused on aligning private sector donors with 4-H’s priorities for equity. The council leadership noted in its announcement that Dorothy’s experience in 4-H “positions her well to support the Council’s fundraising efforts in support of equity, access and belonging.”

Welcome new retirees (March 2019)

William Angell, professor and Extension specialist in housing, retired on Dec. 14. Over his 47-year career, his expertise in the field of radon led to numerous outreach efforts, including an appointment to the World Health Organization's International Radon Project, appointments as a visiting scientist at federal laboratories, and an expert witness on state and federal criminal trials. Naaz Babvani began her Extension appointment in the Dean’s Office in 2000 and completed her career as a human resources assistant on Dec. 7. Naaz provided outstanding support in Extension's hiring processes. Merritt Bussiere, an educator in community economics in the Regional Office in Brainerd, retired on Dec. 4. His strategic analysis guided counties to make informed decisions on local sales tax and helped communities understand the talents and skills of seasonal residents. Marna Butler-Fasteland retired on Jan. 4 after 16 years as a 4-H program coordinator for Carlton County. Her work with

In memoriam (March 2019)

Douglas Gunnink, 65, passed away Jan. 19 on his farm in Lafayette. Doug earned a bachelor of science degree in agriculture education from the University and served as an Extension dairy specialist for Sibley County. John “Jack” Morris, an agriculture Extension educator in Pope County for 31 years, dedicated his efforts to help local farmers, businesses and 4-H youth development. He was a member of the University’s Livestock Hall of Fame and pioneered 4-H judging teams and animal science programs. Jack passed away Nov. 10 in Glenwood, age 83. Raymond Solac of Hastings passed away on Nov. 12, age 98. His early career included service as a technical sergeant with the U.S. Army during World War II and concluded with many years at the University as an Extension veterinarian.

Retirees in retirement: Sharing your story (March 2019)

Don Breneman, who retired as a photographer for Extension Communications in 2004, continues with his freelance photography, selling images through an agency in England and locally. Don recently joined the Kabetogama Clean Water Initiative Steering Committee. Jayne Hager Dee, former Extension regional director in the Farmington office who retired in 2012, was re-elected in November to a four-year term on the Dakota County Soil and Water District Board of Supervisors. Shirley Doering, a regional educator in 4-H youth development, Regional Office Mankato until retiring in 2011, is involved with a local school program. The students’ assignment was to research the question: "Why do I volunteer and what do I gain from volunteering and what do others gain?” Shirley joyfully reflected on how volunteering has helped her and encouraged students to see how volunteering can lead to scholarship opportunities and/or career exploration. Barb Liukkonen, water resources educator and program

Epsilon Sigma Phi - Pi Chapter update

Meet the 2018-19 ESP Board Members installed at the annual meeting on October 15, 2018: President: Nathan Winter Vice president: Sara Croymans Secretary: Robin Trott Treasurer: Mary Caskey Past president and nominating committee chair: Suzanne Driessen Member-at-large representing annual members: Becky Harrington Member-at-Large representing life members: Roselyn Biermaier Awards and recognition chair: Marcia Woeste Fundraising chair: Becky Hagen Jokela Global relations: Anita Harris Hering History and archives Chair: Vacant Legislative chair and also retiree / life member chair: Gwen Gmeinder Membership chair: Kathy Brandt Professional improvement chair: Jody Horntvedt Scholarship chair: David Werner All retirees are invited to join ESP Pi Chapter, which fosters a spirit of community among Extension Professionals. For more information visit the Pi Chapter Blog or contact one of the board members listed above. Nathan Winter ESP Pi Chapter President

Media Moment (March 2019)

The Minnesota Daily, the University's student newspaper, recently featured Extension soil scientist Melissa Wilson . Melissa will conduct manure-related research at a soon-to-open laboratory on the St. Paul campus, made possible with legislative funding. Working with the Minnesota Daily gives Extension faculty and educators the opportunity to share our story in the University community, while Extension Communications and Public Relations staff help young reporters learn about our value and hone their journalism craft. Extension and the U's College of Pharmacy received a $1.5 million grant to work with communities in four northern Minnesota counties facing opioid addiction. Coverage has included stories in the Duluth News Tribune and Minnesota Daily .