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Working at CSU

Here's to retirement and beyond

November 5, 2009
By Nik Olsen

Retirement is a crossroad of diverging impacts. Some retirees leave careers for other pursuits and never look back, and others embrace the waiting arms of grandchildren. For some, it can be too early to leave the University's academic environment and too early to lose contact with colleagues.

Continuing intellectual pursuits

In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain wrote, "Intellectual 'work’ is misnamed; it is a pleasure.” Twain would have approved of a movement that’s afoot for retired Colorado State faculty who continue to enjoy intellectual pursuits.

The Society of Senior Scholars is expanding services and support offered to emeritus and retired faculty members. Seminars on retirement planning, a monthly speaker series, and field trips are examples of the intellectual, cultural, and social pursuits the society provides. The society’s newsletter and website offer events, news, and links to services and activities of interest to retirees.

The society currently serves about 1,150 retirees, nearly 900 of them in Larimer for Weld counties. Jerry Eckert, the society’s director and emeritus professor of agricultural and resource economics, notes there are more retired than hired faculty when comparing the society’s membership to CSU’s current 1,019 tenure-track faculty.

Enhancing life after retirement

“We’re trying to enhance the life-after-retirement of nearly 1,200 CSU faculty,” Eckert says. “These are people who retire but want to continue their connection with the University and with each other in various ways.”

The society is open to all retired faculty or those nearing retirement from Colorado State. Other people living in the area who may have retired from other higher education institutions are welcome as affiliate members. There are no membership dues.

Society's potential is limitless

With growing numbers of retired faculty who remain active and engaged – as well as Fort Collins and Loveland’s preeminence as top retirement destinations – Eckert says the society’s potential is limitless.

“You don’t just turn the key and stop working,” says Eckert, who was first hired by Colorado State in 1972 to work on a Pakistan Water Management Research project. “Staying involved intellectually and physically is something many academicians want to do.”

Indeed, that’s part of Eckert’s story. After he retired, he missed the intellectual stimulation of a university campus and the chance to be of service to others.

“There is plenty to do at home that’s physical and gets you moving, but there isn’t much of an intellectual challenge in mowing the lawn and pruning bushes,” Eckert says.

Story originally appeared in the Fall 2009 Colorado State Magazine.