Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

York University Retirees' Association

Members of the 2024 YURA Executive Committee

The York University
Retirees' Association
is a voluntary group
which represents
retired employees
from all the employee
groups -- faculty,
staff and managers
-- who wish to
maintain contact
with the University
and each other.


If you are a York retiree or planning to retire and you would like to receive an "info page" about the Retirees’ Association (without having to surf this website), please e-mail


Head and shoulders photo of Diane Woody
Diane Beelen Woody

As YURA co-presidents we welcome you to the YURA website; here you will find information about our organization and its events and activities, and a wealth of information about social outings as well as learning and volunteer opportunities. We strive to provide relevant information about wellness and well-being during retirement, the better to experience the joys and rewards of this stage of life, while simultaneously learning to navigate the inevitable challenges. We are proud to have one of the most active university retirees’ associations in Canada, with close to 500 retired staff and faculty members.

YURA has an office on campus in the Lorna Marsden Honour Court and we invite members to drop in during office hours (Tues/Wed/Thurs between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., September through June). We thank our Office Volunteers who are currently assisting us with implementing a process for Records Management. We are deeply grateful to our co-officers, Secretary Marla Chodak and Treasurer Melody King, and to all the members of our hard-working Executive Committee for their . . .

... click here to read more

Head & shoulders photo of Steve Dranitsaris
Steve Dranitsaris

YURA Seeks Participants for its 2024 Charity Challenge Walk

The York University Retirees' Association will again be participating in the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon Charity Challenge in October 2024.  Within the framework of this year’s Charity Challenge program, YURA will hold its own 5 km fundraising walk on the Keele Street campus as it did in 2023 to raise funds to help address student food insecurity at the University.  Last year, YURA raised more than $20,000 for this cause and we hope to equal or surpass it in 2024.

YURA members are encouraged to register for this event and to seek sponsorships from among family, friends and colleagues and former co-workers. All sponsor donations are tax deductible and York University will provide appropriate receipts.  Those YURA members who prefer not to register are encouraged to donate to support this cause and also to participate in the walk on campus to show their concern and support.

Please click here for more information about the event, the cause, how to participate and how to contribute.

Memberships for 2024-2025

YURA memberships for the 2024-2025 year (October 1 through September 30) are now available.  Current YURA members are encouraged to renew their membership by August 15th.  The membership renewal form is available by clicking here.

YURA members receive quarterly issues of the YURA Newsletter and ongoing bulletins and e-mail communications with information about YURA and activities available to our members.  This website includes links to key websites for retirees (“ Retiring at York”) as well as information about member privileges, events, and YURA’s role in representing its members’ interests with York University.

Retired York employees who wish to join YURA are most welcome to do so.  For more information, instructions and the application form, please click here.

Dr. Glen Jones to Speak at 2024 YURA AGM

The 2024 Annual General Meeting of the York University Retirees’ Association will be held on Friday, November 1st.

Dr. Glen A. Jones

This year’s guest speaker will be Dr. Glen A. Jones, Professor of Higher Education, and former dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.  Dr. Jones holds the Ontario Research Chair in Postsecondary Education Policy and Measurement, and he is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Canadian and International Higher Education. 

Dr. Jones is a past president of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education and a former editor of the Canadian Journal of Higher Education. He has held visiting professorships in several countries and has received numerous honours, including the Distinguished Research Award from the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education in 2001 and their Distinguished Member Award in 2011. He is regarded as a leader in education with considerable insight on both the current state and future direction of higher education in Canada, North America and beyond.

For more information about our guest speaker, please click here.

The AGM on Friday, November 1st will again be held in the Second Student Centre at the Keele campus.  The day’s activities will commence with morning coffee at 10:30 a.m. and our guest speaker at 11:00 a.m.  A luncheon will then be served followed by the Association’s business meeting in the early afternoon.  The AGM will again be held in hybrid format – both in person and broadcast via Zoom.  Full details with registration information will be posted on this website and circulated by e-mail to all registered YURA members closer to the date.

YURA Office Summer Break

YURA members are advised that the Association's office on the Keele Campus will close for the summer after Thursday, June 20th. It will re-open in early September. During the summer break, we will continue to monitor e-mail communications and telephone calls and will respond to enquiries as soon as possible. Information about activities and membership renewal will be communicated via e-mail and will be posted on this website.

YURA Café Adjourns until the Fall

This popular online monthly coffee hour moderated by Fran Wilkinson, professor emerita of psychology, continued on the second Tuesday of the month at 10:00 a.m. during the winter and early spring.

At the YURA Café on Tuesday, January 9th, YURA co-presidents Diane Woody and Steve Dranitsaris discussed the role of the YURA Executive, the YURA office, and some of the items that YURA has been dealing with, including the planning of events for the 2024 year.  Participants also discussed matters on their mind that included the age-friendly study under Dr. Brad Meisner and novel experiences of the holiday season.

Mike Layton

At the February 13th session, Mike Layton, York's Chief Sustainability Officer, discussed with participants the University's sustainability strategy, initiatives underway, and some of the challenges ahead in reducing the University's carbon emissions. His slide presentation can be viewed by clicking here.

After Mike's presentation, YURA members in attendance shared views on what an Ontario university campus might look like in 20 years, given constant technological advancement, changing work and research arrangements, and the costs of running ever expanding campuses.

At the open discussion on March 12th, YURA members shared plans for travel and the summer months and discussed challenges of downsizing, exchanged commentary about health and personal safety concerns, including some of the more interesting scams that are circulating, and touched on the usual political items of the day.

April's Café was a lively and interactive get-together that ran 90 minutes. Discussion focused on the theme of this spring's CURAC conference: "Survive in retirement? No, thrive in retirement!" In turn, all participants shared how they are thriving in retirement. Very little was offered on the other side of the ledger other than the inevitable challenges of aging, including declining health, loss of friends and family, and keeping up with the pace of change.

Alex Neumann

At the April session, we also heard about some upcoming art shows, including a photography exhibit by our own Alex Neumann, a member of YURA's website team and participant in the YURA Café. His exhibit will be open to the public from May 9 to September 6, 2024 at the Trafalgar Park Community Centre, 133 Rebecca Street in Oakville. He invites YURA members and friends to drop by and be intrigued by his innovative works.

Dr. Fran Wilkinson

We are grateful to Fran Wilkinson for moderating this monthly online get-together of YURA members and for organizing topics for discussion. The YURA Café will resume in September 2024. Details will be posted on this website and all registered YURA members will receive e-mail notification.

Overviews of the Fall 2023 sessions of the YURA Café can be read by clicking here.

AROHE "Reimagining Retirement" Series
- Recordings of Sessions now Available online

During January and February, AROHE, the US-based Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education, of which YURA is a member, presented a three-session program, “Reimagining Retirement: Exploring Your Life Plan.” This virtual learning series was designed to help retirees clarify their goals and embrace the changes that occur during this chapter of life. The social, psychological, and emotional aspects of transitioning to, and living in, retirement were explored during the sessions.

“Reframing Identity Your Identity,” by Dr. Michelle Pannor Silver from the University of Toronto

“Reimagining Your Personalized Plan,” by Dr. Stacey Gordon from New York University

“Rebuilding Your Network,” featuring a panel of retired faculty and staff: Dr. Jan Blustein, New York University; Marty Howard, Boston University; Eddie Murphy, UCLA; and Dr. Louise Nasmith, University of British Columbia

For those interested or if you missed any of the sessions, the recordings can be viewed on the program website by clicking here.

Donations for 2024

YURA members are encouraged to consider a donation to the one or more of the YURA sponsored student awards or other worthwhile YURA-sponsored projects at the University.  Among these are the YURA Graduate Student Award, the William Small Award, the YURA Mature Student Bursaries, the Student Food Bank, the York Camps Subsidy Fund (for local kids from disadvantaged families) or the Access to Postsecondary Program (aimed at middle school youth from the local Black Creek community).

To make an on-line donation or to arrange monthly contributions, please click here.

Membership Survey Results Summarized

More than 60% of YURA members participated in a survey conducted in 2022 by the Association's Executive Committee to learn about what members thought about current activities and how YURA could better support its members in the future. A summary of survey results, prepared by professor emeritus and former YURA co-president Ian Greene, can be found by clicking here.

College and University Retiree Associations of Canada (CURAC)

CURAC is the national organization of the postsecondary retirees' associations across Canada.  It speaks for the collective on a variety of public policy issues.  It provides a number of important services to its members, including an annual conference that highlights best practices among its member associations and promotes collaboration. YURA was among the founders of CURAC.  

All YURA members should check out the CURAC website to learn about the initiatives in which it is involved and the services and activities it offers to all retiree association members, including members of YURA.

CURAC's affinity partners belairdirect and Johnson Travel Insurance are presently running contests open to members of all CURAC member associations, including YURA. These contests offer prizes of cash and travel vouchers. belairdirect has also launched a scholarship program for fall 2024 for which progeny of YURA members may be eligible. More info...

Fred Fletcher receives the 2024 CURAC Tribute Award

Fred Fletcher, who has made significant contributions to two retiree groups at York University and has assumed key roles at the national level within CURAC, the College and University Retiree Associations of Canada, has received the 2024 CURAC Tribute Award. He was jointly nominated for this distinguished honour by YURA and ARFL (the Association of Retired Faculty and Librarians at York University). The annual awards were announced at the 2024 Annual CURAC Conference, held at the University of Waterloo May 22 to 24.

At the conference in Waterloo, Fred was also presented with the CURAC Appreciation Award by the Board of Directors of CURAC for his exemplary leadership to the organization.

Click here for the full story.

Dr. Fred Fletcher