By Archives Staff
Primary Creator: Purdue University Retirees Association (1976-present)
Extent: 6.0 Cubic feet. More info below.
The records are divided into eleven series: I. History and General Information on the Association; II. Annual Meetings, Minutes, and Annual Reports; III. Awards; IV. Boards and Committees; V. Directories and Rosters; VI. Events, Activities, and Programs; VII. Financial Information; VIII. Membership; IX. Newsletters; X. Policies, Procedures and Bylaws; and XI. President’s Advisory Council on Retirement.
The collection is in chronological order with files for each year placed in alphabetical order.
For the most accurate and up to date box and folder listing, please view the attached finding aid.
Date Acquired: 00/00/2005. More info below under Accruals.
The Purdue University Retirees Association Records (1976-2015; 6 cubic ft.) document the history, growth, and development of PURA, the Retirees Association for Purdue faculty and staff. Topics include: employee retirement benefits, medical benefits, supplemental retirement income, employment options, volunteerism, and retiree activities.
Types of material include: correspondence, meeting minutes, printed material, reports, photographic materials, lists, ephemera, newsletters, and retiree surveys. The records include correspondence between PURA and Purdue presidents Frederick Hovde, Arthur Hansen, interim president John Hicks, and Steven Beering. Gaps in collection: Committees chronological files 1991-1994 are missing from collection. The Purdue University Retirees Newsletters holdings also appear incomplete. Please check with staff to see if missing issues are available in the bound serials section of the archives.
The Purdue University Retirees became active as an organized group in 1976 when President Arthur G. Hansen created the President’s Advisory Council on Retirement (PACR). President Hansen created PACR in response to concerns raised by retirees that the university had become disconnected from the needs of its retired employees. Originally, the council consisted of an Executive Committee, which was composed of the council chairperson and chairs of three committee: Benefits, Program, and Communications. Over the years, several other committees were formed but in the early years the original three committees performed the majority of the council’s work. A top priority for the first chairman of the Advisory Council, Harland W. White, was to survey Purdue retirees to better assess their needs. The survey revealed that rising inflation in the mid to late 1970s had seriously affected the standard of living of university retirees. One of the retirees’ major concerns was the escalating cost of health care. The Benefits Committee urged the administration to include all retirees under the university’s group medical insurance coverage. In the summer of 1977 the Purdue Board of Trustees agreed to an expanded plan in which the costs of the administration of the health insurance plan were to be paid by Purdue University with individual retirees paying the insurance premium.
The Program Committee initiated a series of theater trips to the Beef & Boards Dinner Theater in Indianapolis. They also arranged monthly programs at the university that covered topics that ranged from tax tips to health care. The first annual retiree luncheon was held in the late summer of 1977 at Purdue’s Memorial Union. Another annual event was started that year, the retirees’ summer picnic, which was first held at The Hills and was later moved to West Lafayette’s Happy Hollow Park.
The Communications Committee created the retiree newsletter, which first appeared in the winter of 1977, and published the biannual retiree directory in 1979. The retiree directory information was first published as a special section of the Purdue Telephone Directory in 2001 and mailed to all retirees.
Over the years PACR has worked with the university administration to provide retirees with comprehensive health care coverage and reduced prescription prices. They have also urged the administration to provide additional benefits such as tuition reductions, complementary campus parking permits and reduced rates for convocation programs, athletic events, recreational facilities, and golf courses. PACR and the retirees worked together to make significant contributions to the university. In 1982, retiree donors gave $5,500 to equip the new Undergraduate Library. In the mid-1980s, PACR purchased and installed a $40,000 infrared sound system in both the Elliott Hall of Music and the Loeb Theater to aid the hearing impaired. PACR used profits generated from baseball and theater trips with additional funding provided by individual retirees. From 1979 to 1998 Purdue retirees have donated over seventeen million dollars to the university, and from 2000 through 2011, retirees’ gifts averaged over four million dollars a year.
In the 2001-2002 year, two major events occurred which would have a significant impact on PACR. The first was the creation and associated funding of the Arthur G. Hansen Recognition Award to be awarded to a department/school for cultivating and maintaining a particularly meaningful relationship with its retirees. The second event, approved by Purdue President Martin C. Jischke, was the adoption of an official set of bylaws that changed the name of the organization to the Purdue University Retirees Association (PURA) and guaranteed a source of annual funding from the Office of the President.
PURA’s primary purpose is to serve Purdue’s retirees. At its beginning, the Council stated that, “The purpose of PACR shall be to bring into closer association the retired staff members of Purdue University in order to carry out educational programs for such staff members, to enhance their welfare and fellowship, and to strengthen communication channels with the University in such a manner as to be mutually beneficial.” Today, PURA continues to work to improve the status of and opportunities for Purdue retirees.
Sketch initially composed by Joanne Mendes in 2005; revised by Michael Maune, Betty Nelson, and Mary Alice Nebold in 2012
Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.
Physical Access Note: The collection is stored offsite; 24 hours notice is required to access the collection.
Acquisition Source: Velma Schanke, PURA Historian, 2005; Mary Alice Nebold, PURA Historican July 2012
Acquisition Method: Records transfer.
Separated Materials: Many of the photographs found in the PURA records were subsequently removed from the collection and transferred to the Archives and Special Collections' photograph file under the heading of Retirees.
Preferred Citation: MSP 31, The Purdue University Retirees Association records, Purdue University, Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries
Finding Aid Revision History: FA revised 9/24/2009. Finding aid updated 7/8/2010. Finding aid updated Oct. 2012. Finding aid updated Sep. 2015.
Other Note: This organization is still active and additions to the collection are made on a fairly regular basis.