​John Jared, President
UTIA Retirees Association

As I sit and write in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with my four energetic grandkids (thankfully asleep at the moment), it’s difficult to believe that another year for our association is in the books. Like most retirement years, it passed much too quickly. Nevertheless, 2016-2017 has been productive thanks entirely to the great effort so many of you gave to make it happen. Allow me to share a few of the many accomplishments you made possible.

Area Meetings—Area officers are to be commended for doing an outstanding job of planning, organizing, and conducting excellent spring meetings across the state. Delicious food, wonderful fellowship, lots of reminiscing, and inspiring programs were enjoyed at each location.

Members in the Central Area met at the Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville on April 19. Chancellor Tim Cross was the guest speaker. Tim updated the group on the current status of UTIA programs, funding, faculty, and staff with emphasis on the overall mission and goals of the Institute. The meeting was attended by nineteen members and guests.

Mr. A. C. Clark was remembered by his former coworkers and friends at the Cumberland Area meeting in Cookeville on May 2. Members of the Clark family were recognized and presented a commemorative portrait of A. C. The meeting was an emotional and special occasion attended by thirty-five members and guests. A sweet thank you note has been received from the Clark family.

The Eastern Area and State meetings were conducted jointly at the Eastern Region Extension Office in Knoxville on April 13. Mike Buschermohle’s presentation, “We Don’t Farm Like Granddad Did” revealed just how much farming has changed over the past few decades due to advancements in technology. A short business meeting followed. Fifty-plus members and guests were in attendance.

Fall Outings—Successful fall outings were enjoyed by members in Lynchburg, Leiper’s Fork, and Greeneville in 2016. Hopefully, more of these events will be/are being planned for the coming fall. These outings are some of the most fun-filled opportunities our people get to experience and enjoy as members of the organization.

New Members—A total of sixteen new members were added to the membership during the past year. The new members are Bill Adcock, Larry Arrington, Susan Bray, Paul Denton, Cornelius Dixon, Mary Giffen, Betty Greer, Paul Hart, Micki Heatherly, Nancy Howell, Debbie Joines, George Killgore, Carolyn Maples, Steve Oliver, Ricky Skillington, and Joan Wherley. Thanks to all of you for your willingness and desire to become a valued member of the UTIA Retirees Association. Your addition is most important to the growth and success of the organization. Thanks also to those of you who actively helped recruit the new people. The above are fruits of your labor!

New Officers—The association welcomes the following new officers for the coming year: Pat Whitaker, vice president, Central Area; Steve Sutton, vice president, Eastern Area; and George Grandle, secretary-treasurer, Eastern Area. Thanks to each of you for your willingness and commitment to serve and for the leadership you bring to the organization. I look forward to working with you!

Other Accomplishments—The association’s Constitution and By-Laws were revised as appropriate, its website was updated to, a new banner was developed to display the organization’s new name and website, and a teleconference was utilized as a more efficient means of conducting Board of Director meetings. The association continued to support the State 4-H Essay and Poster Contest. Thank you notes have been received from Lisa Hill, State 4-H Poster Winner, Benton County; Jordan Bowling, State 4-H Essay Winner, Anderson County; and Zachary Goad, Macon County. Congratulations, Lisa, Jordan and Zachary.

Thank You—I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to everyone who had a part in making 2016-2017 a successful year. You are the ones who move the organization forward, and it is my honor and pleasure to work with so many dedicated people. Together we can make 2017-2018 the best year ever, and I trust that is your goal. I look forward to the opportunity.

In Closing—The association would like to congratulate Tim Cross and Steve Sutton for the very special recognition they recently received for their outstanding accomplishments as Extension workers. Tim was recognized and honored by his peers as the recipient of the Southern Extension Service Award for Excellence in Leadership presented by the Southern Region Directors. The award recognizes those who have served their university in an exemplary manner. Steve has been selected to be inducted into the 2017 National 4-H Hall of Fame in Chevy Chase, Maryland, in October. The award is the highest award obtainable in 4-H.


​Finally, I wish for everyone a safe, healthy, and wonderful summer as you travel, spend time with family, and enjoy the many activities and exciting things the season brings! My goal is to spend more time on the golf course . . . famous last words!