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Roles of the UWRA Board of Directors

President | Vice-president | Past president | Secretary | Treasurer |

Membership and email coordinator | WATtimes newsletter editor |

Pension and benefits liaison | Social co-chair, luncheons |

Social co-chair, receptions and AGM | Coach tour coordinator |

Web master |University fund representative

Description - last revised 15/04/16

Role Description
University of Waterloo Retirees Association (UWRA)

UWRA exists to foster continued interaction among friends, past colleagues and the university, to represent retiree interests on Pension and Benefits and Human Resources (HR) matters, and to communicate UWaterloo policy changes to retirees.

The Association is maintained by a volunteer Board of Directors. Serving on the Board is a convivial experience that fits nicely into the various other activities that Board members have. All are voting members. Most on the Board fulfill specific tasks and responsibilities. Several perform backup roles. These roles are described below.

The Office of University Relations is the UWaterloo liaison unit with UWRA. Within this unit our direct contacts are:

  • Kelly McManus, Sr. Director, Community Relations & Events, for most matters
  • Ellen Réthoré, Assoc. V-P, Marketing and Strategic Initiatives, pays for WATtimes
  • normal term of office is one year with option, at discretion of the Board and incumbent, for one additional year. Normally then serves one year as Past President, ex officio and voting. A nominee for President must have at least one year of experience on the Board, sometimes as Vice President.
  • chairs all meetings of UWRA membership and of the Board of Directors; occasionally delegates to the Vice President (V-P)
  • ensures that directives from meetings of general membership or the Board are carried out
  • speaks for the Association to the public if need arises
  • is a “signing authority” for the association (with the Treasurer and Past President)
  • serves on “Nominations Committee”
  • works with the Secretary to establish the Agenda for monthly Board meetings and the Annual General Meeting (AGM)
  • reviews/edits draft Minutes of meetings in collaboration with the Secretary
  • helps the Coordinator of Receptions develop programs, speaks at receptions; often is MC for Spring and Fall luncheons (at request of the Coordinator)
  • writes short article for WATtimes three times a year to promote UWRA and occasional letters on behalf of Board as necessary. e.g. Pension and Benefits Nomination from Board to UWaterloo Board of Governors via Secretariat
  • is proactive in maintaining contact with the UWaterloo senior administrators
  • responds to and attempts to assist Board members and others upon request between meetings of Board and issues of WATtimes
  • supports Coach Tour program by attending as often as possible
  • monitors UWRA website regularly and advises Web Master on content


  • assists President as requested, e.g., Chairs Board meetings or MCs events in the President’s absence
  • serves on Nominations Committee
  • normally is nominated by the Board to be the next President

Past president

  • serves as ex-officio but voting member of the Board during term of the current President, normally one year
  • Chairs Nominations Committee
  • provides historical background information to Board as requested
  • is a “signing authority” for the association (with the Treasurer and President)


  • manages, records and reports financial transactions for the Association
  • is a signing authority on the UWRA bank account (with the President and the Past President), and monitors transactions
  • Income: sees that fees for memberships, activities (e.g., luncheons, coach tours), and Board lunches are deposited to the UWRA bank account in a timely manner, either personally or by the Coordinators; keeps deposit slips on file
  • Expenses: issues cheques for expenses incurred as per invoices and receipts received; keeps documentation on file
  • Investments: tracks investments (currently GICs); presents options to the Board at the time of renewal, and reinvests according to the Board advice
  • prepares and submits monthly reports of income and expense to meetings of the Board of Directors
  • prepares and submits annual financial statements to the membership at the AGM including a budget for the next fiscal year
  • books the room and arrangements, if any, for the specific dates and times of Board meetings
  • prepares the agenda and minutes of each monthly meeting and AGM in consultation with the President
  • distributes Agendas and Minutes electronically to members of the Board, including the representative from Community Relations and Events
  • maintains and passes on to new Secretary when that occurs:

- official paper copies of Agendas and Minutes as well as copies of Reports from UWRA board members in an ongoing binder

- history of members of the UWRA Board of Directors - start and end dates of their tenure, positions held

  • is a member of the Nominations Committee (with President, V-P, Past President and others appointed by the Committee, as helpful)
  • arranges annual December Christmas Board and luncheon meeting

Membership and email coordinator

  • keeps an up-to-date database of members of UWRA, other UW retirees, and surviving spouses.
  • receives information about new retirees from HR
  • sends letters to new retirees inviting them to become members
  • receives membership forms from those accepting the invitation to join, records new members’ status (Life or Annual), email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
  • checks for mail at the UW Mailroom monthly
  • makes bank deposits of cheques for membership fees received prior to the end of the month and advises the Treasurer
  • prepares a report about membership for each monthly meeting
  • receives information regarding deaths of retirees and retiree survivors from HR and removes them from the database
  • makes changes of address in the database when they are received from HR
  • prepares the mailing list for WATtimes which includes the membership status
  • removes bad addresses and names of those who have requested not to receive mailings
  • keeps a list of BAD addresses - members whose WATtimes could not be delivered
  • includes in the mailing database - the UWRA database, the pensioners database provided by HR, and a number of campus administrators
  • compiles and maintains UWRA email list from members who provide email addresses
  • periodically sends emails at the request of the Board/Board Members to those members who have provided an email address
  • proof reads messages that have been written and submitted by Board Members and copies them to UWRA letterhead before sending
  • checks UWRA e-mail account regularly for incoming messages and junk mail

  • in March provides Treasurer with next year income estimates for May AGM budget preparation
WATtimes newsletter editor
  • involves article planning and coordination for the three yearly issues of WATtimes
  • remains aware of UWaterloo news and items of retiree interest between issues
  • identifies retirees for a possible Profile feature
  • establishes with the UWRA Board of Directors information to communicate to retirees and sets a publication date
  • contacts possible contributors of articles and photos, as well as authors of the regular features
  • liaises with HR for recent retirees and retiree deaths
  • interacts with Advancement, HR, and other UWaterloo units for stories and information
  • establishes a publication schedule with Creative Services
  • compiles and edits submitted text
  • provides captions for photos
  • forwards the files and photos to Creative Services for the actual lay-out of the newsletter
  • proof-reads drafts and authorizes the final proof for printing

Pension and benefits liaison

  • is a full voting member of the UWaterloo Pension and Benefits Committee
  • is appointed by the Board of Governors (on the recommendation of the Board of Directors of the UWRA) for a three-year term, renewable once
  • monitors developments related to all matters affecting the pensions and benefits of all UWaterloo retirees
  • is a voting ex-officio member of the Board of the UWRA and makes regular reports to the Board and to the Membership via WATtimes, the UWRA website and e-mails

Note: The Pension and Benefits Committee is a standing committee of the Board of Governors of the University responsible for overseeing UWaterloo’s pension plans, extended health care and dental plans, self-insured sick leave and long term disability plans, and life insurance plans. The Committee consists of representatives from senior administration, the Board of Governors, retirees, regular staff members, faculty and CUPE Local 793. The Committee’s regular meetings are held on a monthly basis (except April, July and August); meetings are generally open to the university community.

The Pension and Benefits Committee has the full power to administer UWaterloo’s pension and benefits plans, including:

  • making and enforcing rules and policy decisions as necessary for the administration of the plans
  • preparing accounts and records re: the operations of the pension plan
  • reviewing the annual audit of the pension fund financial statements; appointing the actuary
  • commissioning research on pensions and benefits
  • recommending to the Board of Governors plan changes, appointment of investment professionals, and approval of the Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures

Along with the Finance & Investment Committee, the Pension and Benefits Committee is responsible for reviewing and approving or recommending to the Board of Governors, as applicable, recommendations made by the Registered Pension Plan Investments Subcommittee.

Day-to-day administration of pension and benefits plans is delegated to HR.

Social co-chair; luncheons

  • plans two yearly luncheons in consultation with the Board
  • identifies and invites a speaker in consultation with the Board
  • reserves the place and date with room/caterer
  • sets the price and produces a detailed description for publicity purposes, i.e. WATtimes, website and email
  • receives  the reservations and confirms receipt with UWRA members
  • selects the menu in consultation with the caterer, confirms attendance numbers and set-up one week prior to event
  • arranges audio-visual requirements for speaker
  • purchases thank you gift/certificate for speaker and provides complimentary tickets
  • places direction signs, produces guests’ tickets and guest lists for volunteer greeters, arranges door prizes
  • deposit all reservation cheques with copies to the treasurer
  • arranges payments to all suppliers
  • in March provides Treasurer with next year budget for May AGM budget prep

Social co-chair, receptions and AGM


UWRA receptions (1 or 2 per year):

  • sets place, date, and time for these events
  • writes event advertisement for publicity e.g. WATtimes, website, email
  • reserves the locale
  • suggests and invites the guest speaker in consultation with the Board
  • selects the menu in consultation with locale’s manager and sets prices for food and drinks, based on the estimated number of attendees
  • arranges table setup for registration, membership renewal, etc.
  • arranges for parking as necessary
  • sends out special invitations for prominent guests to attend the event, e.g. HR contacts, UWaterloo Association Presidents/CUPE, contacts involved with UWRA from the Office of University Relations, after consulting with the UWRA President
  • informs the UWRA Treasurer of all costs connected to the event
  • in March provides Treasurer with next year budget for May AGM budget prep

UWRA AGM (usually in May)

  • sets the place, date and time for this event in consultation with the Board
  • reserves the locale
  • discusses with the catering manager the menu and prices for food and drinks, based on the estimated number of attendees
  • arranges table set-up for registration, membership renewal, etc.
  • advertises event in WATtimes, on website, email
  • forwards all invoices to the Treasurer for payment
  • in March provides Treasurer with next year budget for May AGM budget prep

Coach tour coordinator

  • conceives the theme and/or destination for each of the three or four annual trips
  • chooses and books attractions and the restaurant venue for lunch
  • sets price and selects the menu
  • determines the route of travel and creates a timed itinerary
  • sets the package price and produces detailed trip description for publicity purposes – WATtimes, website, email
  • books the motor coach and provides an itinerary for the driver
  • arranges parking permits with UWaterloo Parking Services
  • arranges for name tags to be available for distribution on the bus
  • normally accompanies the group and acts as “tour manager” on the day of trip
  • prior to trip arranges for “alternate tour manager” (normally a Board Member)
  • prior to trip arranges for “emergency person” (normally a Board Member on that trip) to remain with any participant who must leave tour for health or other reason until a solution is found. Could be “alternate tour manager” whose additional expenses are reimbursed by the UWRA
  • handles all payments to suppliers for each trip
  • informs the UWRA Treasurer of all costs connected to the event
  • in March provides Treasurer with next year budget for May AGM budget prep

Note: Coach Tour Reservations and General Inquiries

  • reservations will be recorded and paid for online using our ticketfi system and a summary report is prepared by the Tour Coordinator using the information collected by ticketfi
  • general inquiries will be directed to the Tour Coordinator for response

Web master

  • designs, maintains and updates the UWRA website for the retiree community
  • works with the Board to determine the specific content and define the organization of the site
  • ensures proper testing prior to launching new or improved websites and to correct issues before the site is made available to the intended audience
  • reviews the website content periodically to ensure it is relevant and encompasses all updated information provided by the Board on a regular basis
  • must have strong knowledge and understanding of the Internet, the computer software (WCMS), web servers, online ticketing and event registration platform and related applications and related applications

University fund representative (Keystone)

UWaterloo Retirees fund is an endowment that provides scholarships and bursaries to undergraduate and to graduate students. Rules for distributing awards are decided by the Board, though proposals may be developed in discussions between the Board representative and the Office of Student Awards. The Office of Advancement provides significant assistance, particularly on accounting reports, to the Board’s representative.  It does this through a Senior Development Officer who is the official contact for matters relating to Advancement.

  • is a voting ex-officio member of the Board of Directors of UWRA
  • monitors the financial status of donations to UWaterloo Retiree endowments for scholarships, and for bursaries
  • gathers information on the annual winners of these awards
  • provides information to the Board on the annual winners of the graduate and undergraduate student award
  • liaises with University’s donation program, working closely with Office of Advancement
  • invites the scholarship winner to meet and speak to Board and provides a photo opportunity so retirees may be informed in WATtimes and on website