2013 Retired Gathering is a mix of celebration, activism and education

Retired Gathering 2013

The 12th annual MTA Retired Members Gathering featured a vibrant mix of celebration, activism and education, drawing roughly 200 retired members to the Best Western Royal Plaza in Marlborough on Sept. 24.

The day was divided up into seminars on topics ranging from financial and legal planning to political mobilizing; reports from the MTA’s Retired Members Committee on issues of concern for educators past and present; and recognition for decades of service by Dr. Richard Lyons and Retired Members Committee Co-Chair Kathleen Roberts.

Lyons received the “Honoring Our Own” award. He was part of the drive in 1975 that merged Lowell State College and Lowell Technological Institute to create what is now UMass Lowell. Lyons was president of the first faculty association to represent educators at the newly created school, and he served the union in various capacities throughout his career.

“I felt I had more of an impact as a grad student than I did as a professor,” Lyons said, reflecting on why he became active in his union and stayed active throughout a career that stretched over 36 years.  “I wanted to have a say in who was hired, who was promoted, who supervised me.”

Roberts was genuinely surprised when her committee co-chair, Richard Liston, interrupted lunch to present her with a plaque honoring her many contributions – to the MTA, to education and to her community. Liston also read Roberts a birthday greeting sent from Senator Elizabeth Warren; Roberts recently turned 99, and MTA Vice President Tim Sullivan led the luncheon crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to her.

Liston outlined MTA’s accomplishments in recent elections and noted the challenges that lie ahead, particularly the need for retirees to stay active in political campaigns and follow legislation affecting their lives and their profession.

“We have to fight for ourselves,” he said. “We can’t rest on our laurels. We need as much vigor, passion and involvement in the fall 2014 race for governor and Senator Markey’s race.”

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