Excerpt from the Spring 2022 issue of The Extension
Upon learning that I would be the recipient of the Lewis K. Shupe Faculty Service Award, I began to think about what WSURA has meant to me over the past 24 years. The word that kept coming to mind was “connections.” The first connection was with Lew Shupe himself, a dear friend, colleague and traveling companion. I miss him. It was in 1998 that I received a phone call from Lew and Gary Barlow urging me to join WSURA and, in addition, to allow them to put me on the ballot for president-elect. The first request was an easy “yes.” The second was a harder decision since I knew very little about the fledging organization, but I eventually agreed. For the next 20 years, it was my great pleasure to serve on the board as president, The Extension editor, and Sunshine and Membership chairs.
While serving in those various positions a number of connections were made. First and foremost, I made new friends with people who I knew only slightly or not at all while an active faculty member. Those connections endure today. I love the continuing connections that WSURA makes with current students through our scholarship program, our support of the Food Pantry and direct contacts with international exchange students and faculty. For many years the board was a guest of the president of the university at a spring luncheon where we were updated on the current activities of the administration. This connected us to the ongoing priorities of the university. Through the social activities and our various lectures, more connections were made with retirees who were not board members and with the issues of the world beyond the university.
WSURA has been an important part of my retirement years. Receiving the award was a great honor. As we return to a more normal schedule of events, I look forward to re-connecting with all of those friends that I have missed over the past few years. I hope to see all of you in the near future.
Photo caption: Marlene Bireley with colleagues Lorraine and Robert Wagley and Abe Bassett at the Annual WSURA luncheon. Marlene, Robert, and Abe are all past presidents of the Wright State Retirees Association