MURAnews Fall 2022 issue in PDF format / in accessible PDF format
In this issue:
The summer weather has truly left us, and we are starting to do the chores that signal preparation for winter. As I write this, I am watching leaves drift down from the trees in my yard and know that means raking will soon begin. Fall also means that your MURA council has started its work for the year in earnest. We had our first event of the fall – a virtual tour of the McMaster Museum of Art, led by the Museum’s Education Officer, Teresa Gregorio. For the almost 25 pieces Teresa showed us, she chose those that give her joy - they represented various media, cultures, ages, and genders. Teresa noted that the average length of time that people view art in a gallery is seven seconds. She encouraged us to look longer in order to see more details and gain a better perspective. The Museum of Art is now fully open and has a number of exhibitions this fall and winter. More information is available on their website.
We are also looking forward to our first in-person event since before COVID. The two McMaster Planetarium shows we booked for October 28 are sold out. The planetarium has limited seating, which makes it a great venue for cautious emergence from our COVID crowd-avoidance behaviour of the past two years.
I was honoured to be asked to participate in the first annual “McMaster Remembers” on October 5th, a
MURA Council is undertaking some significant work this year. We are consulting with the university on the definition of “retiree”, which has become important in light of employees who participate in the group RRSP rather than the defined benefit pension plan. Our objective is to agree on a definition that affords those who leave the university with the intention of retiring to be recognized as such, and to be eligible for supplemental retiree benefits such as retiree parking, library privileges and tuition assistance. Also, we are conducting a review of our MURA constitution, to ensure that we are keeping it up to date.
MURAnews is put together by a few hard-working folks who have become very experienced. We are in desperate need of a couple of new retirees to join the group. We need a news editor, and a chair for the MURAnews committee. Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to find out more. You will not be left alone to fill the role - our experienced folks are happy to teach you the ropes and provide assistance.
News from MURA
MURA Holiday Lunch - POSTPONED
MURA Council has reluctantly decided that the annual Holiday Lunch will not be held in December this year. As an alternative, we are working on ideas for holding an outdoor event in late spring that will allow retirees to mingle in better weather. Please watch the spring newsletter for details.
Council is not comfortable with holding the planned December event indoors due to the number of participants involved, the room capacity and airflow, the still present COVID risk, and increased event costs that would need to be reflected in the ticket price.
The Holiday Lunch has traditionally been a wonderful opportunity to gather and visit with retired colleagues. We hope to offer a Spring event that will allow for that same opportunity – in better weather, economically, and with less likelihood of illness as a result.
Retirees in the News
By Marcia MacAulay
David Streiner, retiree and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences is one of ten professors at McMaster University joining the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) as fellows, the highest recognition of excellence in Canadian academic health sciences. David has a joint appointment in the former Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, now known as Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI). Although trained as a clinical psychologist, he has achieved international recognition as a statistician and epidemiologist and has published many books and articles in those fields. See the Brighter World article: Ten McMaster professors elected fellows of Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
Richard Arthur, retiree, and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Philosophy has been named a fellow in the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) Academy of Science. Fellowship in the RSC represents the highest academic honour in Canada. Richard is the author of numerous ground-breaking articles and books on the German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. His innovative work on the history and philosophy of science and mathematics in the 17th century has transformed the study of his field. See the Brighter World article: Four McMaster researchers named to Royal Society of Canada.
courtesy of Meanwhile in Canada
courtesy of icanhascheeseburgers.com
MURA Graduate Scholarship Fund
– the goal is in sight!
Double your impact by donating now
Retirees and friends of MURA have generously contributed over $19,000 to the MURA Graduate Scholarship Fund. As soon as the $25,000 goal is reached, this fund will provide a $1,000 annual scholarship to a graduate student researching technological advances that may have a positive impact on seniors.
MURA Council has allocated a $3,000 extraordinary budget surplus generated during the COVID-19 pandemic to help reach the funding goal by year end. This $3,000 will be used to match donors’ gifts 1:1, ensuring that the first scholarship is awarded for the 2023/2024 academic year.
Please donate now and double your impact.
Donate online at MURAscholarship.ca, or by phone at 905-525-9150, ext. 24224. Your tax-deductible gift, whether small or large, will help future McMaster graduate students.
MURA members have been supporting academic awards since 1992. A separate, fully-funded endowment continues to provide an annual $2,500 in-course scholarship and a $750 graduand prize to undergraduate students studying society’s aging population.
Welcome New Retirees
compiled by Kathy Overholt
Silvana Patricia Alaimo, Hospitality Services
Ursula Bene, Facility Services
Vicki Benedetti, School of Nursing
Mary Bruni, Medicine
Patrick Burke, Facility Services
Rita Campbell, Faculty of Science
Gail Campbell, Medicine
Mary Coccia, Student Financial Aid & Scholarships
Wendy Cochrane, School of Nursing
Linda Coughlin, University Alumni
Cheryl Earle, University Alumni
Joanne Gadawski, Civil Engineering
Tracey Jewiss, School of Nursing
Deborah Klunder, Health Sciences Education
Carol Lavery, Medicine
Derek Lobb, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Penny Losier, Health Sciences Education
Vania Loyzer, Faculty of Engineering
Teresa McCurdy, School of Nursing
Scott McMaster, Nuclear Reactor
Olga Perkovic, University Library
Virginia Riddell, Faculty of Engineering DocuCentre
Douglas Sicanica, Hospitality Services
Elizabeth Sidorkewicz, Surgery
Mary Silcox, English & Cultural Studies
Lorna Thomas, School of Graduate Studies
Ann Thompson, Psychiatry
Peter Vilks, DeGroote School of Business
compiled by Kathy Overholt
Paul Bates, DeGroote School of Business, September 4/22*
Irene Johnston, Planning Department, August 14/22
Tribute to John Paul (Jack) Evans (1935 – 2022)
By Helen Barton
Jack Evans spent many years representing MURA in the long struggle to reach agreement on the equitable distribution of the excess pension surplus. MURA President from 1995 to 1997, Jack spent most of his presidency and several years beyond ensuring that retirees, and those nearing retirement, received a fair portion of the pension surplus.
Jack was instrumental in gaining recognition for MURA, with voting representation, on both the Pension Trust Committee and the McMaster University Futures Fund (MUFF), the committee set up to deal with the excess pension fund surplus as defined by Canada Revenue (then National Revenue).
Jack was presented with a certificate of honorary MURA membership in 2002 as a tribute to his unique and outstanding contributions to the association.
J.P. (Jack) Evans began his 25-year career at McMaster in 1966, serving as Registrar, and Secretary to the Senate. Prior to his retirement in 1991, he was associate vice-president (University Services) and secretary of the Board of Governors. Jack was an outstanding contributor to the quality of student life at McMaster. A strong advocate of the student role in university governance, Jack was recognized with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2013. His work to engage student leadership at McMaster created a now widely-followed template for student relations. When AVP, he had many pizza evenings at his house with student leaders, and maintained many of these contacts after students had graduated.
Jack’s long-time McMaster colleague, retiree A.L. (Sandy) Darling, says: “Two of Jack’s strengths were his ability to identify and hire good people, and let them do the job, and his ability to look at things from a broad policy perspective.”
A keen pilot, Jack was a life-time member of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, and was active in the Hamilton community through the Boy Scouts Association of Canada. He was a member of the Canadian Nature Federation as well as the Federation of Ontario Naturalists.
Jack is survived by his wife, Stefania, professor emerita, Political Science, son Paul, daughters Andra and Marta, Stefania’s son Julian, and their families.
What's Happening at Mac
By Marcia MacAulay
McLean Centre for Collaborative Discovery
Construction of the new McLean Centre for Collaborative Discovery officially began at the end of August 2021, but the most dramatic transformation of this new state-of-the-art 10-storey facility began in June 2022 with demolition of portions of the DeGroote School of Business building.The McLean Centre has a welcoming ground floor with a café and light-filled open spaces where students can engage in discussions and participate in major events. The upper floors will have learning “hubs” or “labs”, organized spaces for students, faculty members and business partners to collaborate on solutions for the challenges facing the world of business in the 21st century. All labs at the McLean Centre for Collaborative Discovery will operate in partnership with each other. The vision is for a cross-disciplinary approach that will focus on the future of finance, analytics, social impact, and the entrepreneurial mindset. These spaces enhance the opportunity for dynamic and collaborative work to unravel business challenges and seize opportunities in a rapidly changing digital age. View the Daily News article: From Demolition to Development: MCCD Construction Update - DeGroote School of Business.
Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement
McMaster University is launching Canada’s most comprehensive leadership college with a $50 million gift from Chancellor Emeritus Lynton “Red” Wilson and the Wilson Foundation. L.R. “Red” Wilson, an accomplished Canadian business and public service leader and philanthropist, is an Officer of the Order of Canada and recipient of the Vanier Medal for public service. He has been an extraordinary champion of McMaster University for six decades, serving as Chancellor from 2007 to 2013, as a member of the Board of Governors from 1983 to 1991 and as chair of the Changing Tomorrow Today fundraising campaign from 1999 to 2001.Wilson’s support will establish the Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement, with the goal of developing outstanding young leaders who understand the challenges facing our world and who will be committed to strengthening our societies. The Wilson Foundation concentrates on supporting education, history, heritage, and public service at organizations across Canada. For more information visit the Daily News article: Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement.
Latest News in Science & Technology at McMaster
By Dawnelle Hawes
The Brighter World website continues to be a rich source of up-to-date research information in the McMaster setting. The three examples in this issue from the Science & Technology channel* illustrate McMaster’s widely divergent research.
*Reminder: Channels can be found at the bottom of any Brighter World webpage.
1. Researchers create device to replicate conditions in blood vessels after grafts
The team designed a new non-stick material to prevent “proteins and cells from sticking to the inner walls of blood vessels, where they can build into menacing blood clots.” Although their creation showed promise in static blood samples, they still needed to be able to evaluate its efficacy in more “real-world” conditions.
The resulting tiny tool that they engineered closely represents four different sections of human blood vessels. This tool allows researchers to recreate conditions of variable flow of blood in the body, rather than static. Researchers are able to watch what is happening in “real time.”
If this technology works in the lab, it could be a globally promising solution to prevent clots in grafts.
2. The James Webb Space Telescope: Engineering researcher Andrew Gadsden answers 5 questions
Webb is seven times more capable of collecting light than the Hubble telescope. This collection allows for transmission of data that can look further back into time than ever before. Studies from Webb can help determine how planets were formed, how Earth was created, or whether planets beyond our solar system are habitable.
To transport Webb to its new home, the telescope was innovatively folded “origami-fashion” into the rocket. Unfolding it took about two weeks to complete.
Andrew Gadsden, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering is currently involved in a collaboration with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) to develop an “autonomous robotic telescope” to collect light from the Moon. Gadsden feels that we will more accurately be able to predict future events based on “what’s actually happening here”.
3. Gita Ljubicic appointed to expert panel on the future of Arctic and Northern research in Canada
Ljubicic reflected on her Inuit and northern research partners. She feels that these research partners act as guides and collaborators, and are an inspiration in fostering the next generation of northern research leaders. These research partners represent a wide range of ages, and highly value research “despite a harmful colonial legacy of extractive research and who are committed to making research work for their communities”. Ljubicic feels that if research is going to bring about any kind of change, it must be in step with the priorities of the various communities, be headed up by Indigenous and Northern peoples, and bring about positive change.
The Cancer Assistance Program is a community based, not for profit organization, offering free services for individuals and families affected by cancer, living in the greater region of Hamilton and surrounding communities. CAP provides services for over 2000 clients each year, all free of charge. It receives no government funding, relying on the community for support. CAP’s volunteers serve in every area from planning to service delivery. Retirees are invaluable contributors to CAP’s volunteer base because of their emotional maturity, experience, and daytime availability.
As one of its many services, CAP provides free rides for cancer patients to cancer-related medical appointments in the Hamilton area.
Exam Hospitality December 2022 @ McMaster
Become a Scenario Writer for a Mac Spinoff Company
Our academic clients include universities such as Stanford and UCLA. The MMI is also used by public sector clients when hiring front-line professionals such as paramedics and firefighters and assessing employees for leadership potential.
The MMI consists of a circuit in which 8-10 candidates cycle through a series of mini-interviews, each with its own scenario and evaluator. Candidates have 1-2 minutes to read the scenario, then 5 – 8 minutes to discuss their response with the evaluator. The scenarios deal with emotional and soft skill attributes such as ethical and moral reasoning, collaboration, empathy, and resilience. The station's scenario is visible to both the applicant and the interviewer. Other station materials, visible only to the interviewer, include suggested probing questions, evaluation criteria, and the background and theory that support the scenario. Once the applicant finishes reading the scenario, they discuss its subject matter with the interviewer, who has the tools to guide the interview and their assessment.
ProspectHR MMI is looking for station writers with diverse educational backgrounds and life experiences who can create stations that resonate with our diverse clients in the public, private and academic sectors.
Please contact Jack Rosenfeld at email@example.com if you are interested in participating in this endeavour.
For more information, check https://www.prospecthrmmi.com/
courtesy of Meanwhile in Canada
Your Money/Your Health
For retirees who are eligible for post-retirement benefits, your benefits booklet is the official document that outlines benefit coverage. It is recommended that you keep the original booklet that you received in your retirement package. You should note that as a retiree, your benefits will be different from those you had as an active employee. It’s important to be aware of any coverage changes.
Sun Life regularly looks at the claiming and administrative practices of medical and dental health care services and providers. Consequently, from time to time Sun Life may delist services, service providers, or medications, etc. You are encouraged to check to ensure your providers and service information are valid and up to date prior to incurring any major expenses, or you can arrange to get a pre-determination. If the total cost of a product or proposed treatment is over $500, Sun Life recommends you send in a pre-determination to confirm coverage prior to you receiving services. Often the service provider can send this in on your behalf. If you would like to inquire about available coverage for specific items, you can contact Sun Life directly via their website or by phone (1-800-361-6212) or download the “my Sun Life” mobile app. Important updates on Sun Life coverage and procedures can be found on Human Resources’ webpage Sun Life Benefit Information.
Parking on Campus
Permit Expiry Renewal Reminder
A note to retirees without parking transponders
McMaster Photo ID Card
All retirees are eligible for a free McMaster photo identification access card that identifies them as a McMaster retiree. Retirees who do not have a photo ID, either because they still have the older, blue ID card, or because they handed in their photo ID upon retirement, are encouraged to get a McMaster retiree photo ID card that facilitates the following services:
Please send the following information via email to firstname.lastname@example.org:
When your card is ready for pickup, you will receive instructions where and when to attend.
Contact Angie Earl at email@example.com or 905-525-9140, x27416 for further information.
Additional information on retiree photo ID cards is available on the McMaster Security Services’ Technology webpage, in the Photo ID Cards section, under "Retirees".
*If your existing retiree photo ID card does not work for accessing staff lounges, send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org including the name on your card and the number printed on the back of your card.
Walking and Artistic Endeavours - a Boon to Good Health
A summary of a recent report from the McMaster University Optimal Aging Portal
By John Horsman
Increasingly, the medical profession is advising, even urging, their patients to engage in activities to improve mental and physical health. The advice is not without good reason. Cardiovascular diseases and mental health issues are increasing at, some would argue, alarming rates in western society. Obesity, cognitive impairment, cholesterol levels, dementia, diabetes, mental health issues, arthritis and the list goes on, are all too common and increasing to historic levels.
There are over 100 types of arthritis but the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It becomes more common with age. In Australia about 15% of adults have some form of arthritis while in Canada and the US the figure is 20%. Of those afflicted, 60% are women.
courtesy of Rose Anne Prevec
Computer Tips & Tricks
by Nora Gaskin
More and more these days, online services that require you to sign in to an account (think online transactions with banks, social media, shopping sites, and health records) are requiring users to adopt multi-factor authentication (MFA). If they are not requiring it, they may be offering it as an optional extra layer of protection.
This article will outline what MFA is, how it works to protect your online accounts and data and, finally, how it affects people who use McMaster online services, McMaster email in particular.
When you sign into an online account – a process called "authentication" – you're proving to the service that you are who you say you are. In the past this was accomplished by having you provide a username (to let the service know who you are) and a password (to prove your identity, since, in theory, only you know your password).
Unfortunately, as we’ve heard in the news in recent years, cyber criminals make it their business to steal usernames and passwords by hacking in to secure systems (data breaches), or by “phishing attacks” (luring internet users into revealing their online credentials through deceptive emails or web sites). In addition, if a password is weak (easily guessed) hackers can run a computer program that inputs frequently used passwords until it hits on one that works. Perhaps unbelievably, according to a Cybernews.com study1 of publicly leaked data breaches in 2022, the top five passwords currently in use are: “123456”, “123456789”, “qwerty”, “password”, and “12345”!
The username/password system has declined in security with the rise of cybercrime. This is where MFA comes in. According to Microsoft2, MFA can “prevent 99.9 percent of attacks on your accounts.”
What is MFA?
How does MFA work?
For example, you might be asked to provide your mobile phone number so a numeric code can be sent to you via a text message (“something you have”). You then use this single-use numeric code to complete the sign-in process. If someone tries to log in with your username and password but doesn’t have your phone, they will be out of luck, as they will have no way to get the numeric code. As another example, if you use a mobile device with fingerprint or facial recognition, you might be able to use one of those as your second factor (“something you are”). Some systems have their own authentication apps, such as Microsoft Authenticator, that provide the numeric code.
Depending on the online service, and the settings you have chosen, you may not have to do the second step every time you sign in. It is sometimes only required the first time you sign in on a new app, device, or web browser, or perhaps the first time you sign in after changing your password. Some services may ask you to provide your second factor on a set schedule, for example once every 90 days.
The McMaster UTS Multi-Factor Authentication page has helpful links, FAQs, and instructions on how to set up and use MFA.
The text message and Microsoft Authenticator options send a numerical code which you use to complete the sign-in. The phone call is a recorded message from Microsoft asking you to press the hash key on your phone (#) to verify that it was you who initiated the sign-in request.
You can choose your preferred option in your account settings, and you can have as many options as you want. It’s a good idea to set up more than one option if you can.
In the McMaster environment, you won’t be asked to provide your second factor every time you sign in. You will be asked the first time you sign in from a new location, or on a new device or web browser. After that, you may be asked once every 30 to 90 days, but not so often as to become inconvenient.
A final word
Further reading and information
Hiking (all) the Mountains of Scotland
By Stephen Walter, Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
In the late 19th century, Sir Hugh Munro, a member of the landed gentry, took it upon himself to document all the mountains in Scotland by walking and riding around the Scottish Highlands himself. Munro created a catalogue of almost 300 mountain peaks, defining a “mountain” as being over 3000 feet with a sufficient distance and altitude drop between it and the next candidate peak. More recently, the Scottish Mountaineering Club has maintained this list. When new surveying data becomes available, corrections to the list are sometimes required, but for some time now the list has included 282 summits. In Munro’s honour, these peaks are now themselves known as “Munros”, and this designation has created a challenge for people to get to the tops of all of them - a process colloquially referred to as “Munro bagging”. (Interactive Munro Map)
I started hiking in the Scottish Highlands when my girlfriend (now wife) Loraine and I were students in Edinburgh. I “bagged” my first (one of three Ben Mores, this one being near Crianlarich) in 1969, using a day-trip bus organised by a local newspaper. We also joined the Edinburgh University Mountaineering Club, and enjoyed many weekends hiking, often in the winter. We either camped (typically in the snow) or used the basic facilities of a bothy (often an abandoned farm cottage).
Although 3000 feet is not high for a mountain by international standards, this is deceiving. Many of the Munros are very remote, in trackless country, and require considerable navigation skills to climb safely. Even on the easier hills, one has to travel equipped with suitable clothing and other resources in order to deal with severe weather or whiteouts that can occur at any time. Regrettably, lives are not infrequently lost on the Scottish hills because of lack of suitable precautions.
While there are a few places where one can reach two (occasionally more) Munros in a single day, most require a trek of 6+ hours, so one can only “bag” a single mountain in the day. Some peaks are sufficiently remote that one needs a long drive to get into the general area, a full day’s hike to get close, and then a wild camp for one or more nights as a base. Also, with the very short winter days in Scotland, one may need to start and/or finish in the dark, with a good headlight.
Our student years in Edinburgh (1969-72) gave me a small start on the quest for 282. Since 1972, we have lived in Canada or the USA, which meant that my total increased very slowly, and only when I was in the UK for academic reasons or visiting family. By the time I retired from McMaster in 2012 (already with 43 years of bagging behind me), I had accumulated only about half of the Munros. But retirement permitted me to make some more extended trips to Scotland, and I realised that with a push, I had a chance of getting the lot. And so, in 2017, 2018 and 2019 I spent a whole month or more each year in Scotland, climbing every day and managing about 35 peaks on each trip.
I targeted my last Munro for the summer of 2019 (fortunately just before COVID lockdowns took hold in the UK). This was, curiously, another Ben More, on the island of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. On July 2, and almost exactly 50 years since my first summit, I reached the top, and celebrated with a small company of friends and family, including Loraine; she is not quite as crazy about Munros as I am, but she has accompanied me to about 100 summits.
In the curious terminology of the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC), by climbing all 282 mountains, I had become a ‘compleationist’, a feat first achieved in 1901. I sent in all my details to the SMC, which then registered me on the list of people who have ‘compleated’ and sent a certificate to mark the occasion.
I’ve been asked, “what’s next”? Well, it has crossed my mind that the SMC had also defined 226 Munro “Tops”, which form the secondary peaks of the main mountains. But they would take me many more years to climb, so enough is enough, and we have now moved on to hiking and climbing elsewhere. It was good fun while it lasted.
Services for Students with Disabilities at McMaster
By Tim Nolan, Student Accessibility Services
As a somewhat new retiree in March 2020, I find the MURA newsletter very informative. All the news and stories are great, in particular stories about life after McMaster. I asked the MURA newsletter team if I could write a short article about the origins of student disability services at McMaster. So, briefly, here it is. If you want more detail and a few anecdotes in future issues just say the word!
by Ellen Ryan
A high point of my life, at age 65, was hearing my 97-year-old friend Naomi say, ”Oh, Ellen, you’re a wonderful kid.” I had edited her book of poems, which she was now giving away with delight.
Here’s to our friends – longtime or new, far or near, still living or dead – and to our courage to continue reaching out, listening, and nurturing.
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