About Us

The Genesis of MURA/ARUM

In 2013, John Dealy, former Dean of McGill’s Faculty of Engineering, and founding Chair of the Retiree Affairs Committe (RAC) of the McGill Association of University Teachers (MAUT) and Ron Critchley, President of McGill University Non-Academic Staff Association (MUNASA) met with recently appointed Principal Suzanne Fortier to propose the formation of a University-wide retiree association. The new Principal agreed wholeheartedly with their proposal and recommended that a Campus Community Retiree Committee be set up to study and operationalize the project.

A small workgroup was therefore formed in 2014: the Campus Community Retiree Sub-Committee, whose mandate was to create a unified alliance among McGill retirees from all employment categories, to obtain recognition from the University, to build a sense of community with former faculty and staff, and to be a voice for common concerns, such as post-retirement benefits.

The members of the committee included John Dealy, Ron Critchley, Meira Terk (campus community officer at University Advancement), Kohur GowriSankaran (also known as “Gowri,” then Chair of MAUT-RAC), and two recent McGill retirees: Linda Montreuil and Judy Pharo. They invited members of McGill unions: Service Employees’ Union (SEU) and McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA) to provide input throughout the discussion process. 

During 2014, the sub-committee members researched best practices regarding executive and board structures, constitutions, and by-laws for retiree associations at other universities. The Association’s By-Laws, Constitution, and a Memorandum of Agreement were drafted and a formal introductory letter announcing the launch of the Association was distributed. During the summer of 2014, MAUT Council, MAUT-RAC, MUNACA, SEU, and MUNASA provided their approval in principle for the proposed University-wide retiree association. 

On November 5, 2014, the official launch of the Association took place in the Gold Room of the Faculty Club. Ron Critchley, together with Kohur GowriSankaran, John Dealy and David Roseman (MUNACA) conducted the meeting. Fifty McGill retirees participated in this watershed event in MURA’s history. Kohur GowriSankaran proposed Ginette Lamontagne for the role of President and Henry Leighton as Vice-President (External), and Ron Critchley nominated Wes Cross as Treasurer. Ginette Lamontagne proposed Joan Wolforth as Vice-President (Internal). Participants were invited to volunteer themselves or to nominate other colleagues for a particular role until nearly a dozen members were selected to form the initial interim Board: Nick Acheson, Jane Amro, Sandra Emery, Eleanor MacLean, Kate Maguire, Kathy Mayhew, Judy Pharo, Ross Smith, Judy Stymest, Beverlea Tallant, and Helen Van Eyk.

Over the course of the next few months, the Interim Executive obtained a charter for a non-profit association from the Registraire des entreprises du Québec to formally establish l’Association des retraité(e)s de l’Université McGill (ARUM) / McGill University Retiree Association (MURA). In addition, the draft constitution and by-laws were revised, approved by the MURA-ARUM Interim Board and translated into French. An annual fee for membership was set at $25 and a bank account was opened at the Bank of Montreal. In March, a provisional bilingual website was launched. View an informative article about MURA published in the McGill Reporter in February, 2015.

first annual general meeting 2015
Inaugural Annual General Meeting 2015

The founding MURA meeting took place on June 1st, 2015, with nearly eighty McGill retirees present. This was a major milestone for the University as McGill finally had its own formally registered non-profit university-wide organization, something that a number of universities across Canada had since the 1980’s. The four founding members of the interim Executive (G. Lamontagne, H. Leighton, J. Wolforth and W. Cross) were elected. Members elected to the founding Board were: Nick Acheson, Jane Amro, Michel Ferland, Eleanor MacLean, Kate Maguire, Kathy Mayhew, Judy Pharo, and Beverlea Tallant.


Genesis of MURA
Genesis of MURA


In 2016, MURA-ARUM became the official McGill representative to the College and University Retiree Associations of Canada (CURAC), a national federation of university retiree associations that represents 40 associations. A forum for all university retirees, CURAC speaks publicly on issues of concern to the over fifteen thousand individual college and university retirees across Canada. CURAC holds annual conferences during which interesting papers and programs are presented and workshops concerning best practices are conducted. The formal relationships that MURA-ARUM has established with the University and the various unions and associations have generated considerable attention as best practices.1

MURA is grateful to the four associations and unions SEU, MUNACA, MAUT and MUNASA who pledged $1000 each in start-up funding. In addition, Kohur GowriSankaran (Gowri), Chair of the MAUT-RAC proposed an agreement to MURA whereby the academic and librarian retirees who were members of RAC, would also become MURA members in exchange for a RAC contribution of $1800 per year for the first two years. This represented almost half of the annual fee paid to RAC by its 180 members. Aside from this financial support, during Gowri’s tenure, MAUT-RAC and MURA established a collaborative relationship by keeping each other fully informed of their proposed activities and jointly hosting several events each year.

MURA Timeline
MURA Timeline


To provide a secure financial base for MURA, Robert Huot, the president of SEU Trades (Downtown), proposed a funding formula that would provide MURA with ongoing revenues in exchange for free membership for all of their retirees, present and future. This formula was a fee of 0,25 $ a pay or $6.50 per year for each of the members of the unions and associations. This formula became a benchmark for the negotiation of partnership agreements, which were signed with the three major associations and unions: SEU Trades – Downtown, MUNACA, MUNASA (2016).

In 2016, MURA began discussions with MAUT President Terry Hébert and his colleagues with the goal of reaching a formal agreement. Governance issues were first addressed. It was agreed that MAUT would retain responsibility for representing the specific interests of retired academics to the University while MURA would be responsible for all other retiree-related issues. In June 2017, while talks continued, MAUT provided an interim funding of $4500 to MURA.

Discussions turned to the financial aspects of the agreement under Alenoush Saroyan’s presidency. In solidarity with McGill associations and unions and recognizing MURA’s onerous responsibilities that include maintaining annual Quebec registration as a non-profit organization, covering liability insurance for Board members, underwriting annual financial reviews, paying an annual membership fee to CURAC, and sending representatives to CURAC’s annual conferences, in addition to serving the entire community of McGill retirees, the MAUT Executive Committee adopted the annual $6.50 per member funding formula, albeit retaining part of that amount to fund the Retiree Affairs Committee (RAC). MURA accepted and on January 30, 2018, the agreement was officially signed.

MURA partners



Signing the statement of principles with McGill
May 14, 2018 - Ginette Lamontagne, Founding MURA President and Yves Beauchamp, VP Administration & Finance sign Statement of Principles between McGill & MURA

In 2017, MURA-ARUM obtained a seat on the Staff Benefits Advisory Committee (SBAC) and a MURA Board Member, Kathy Mayhew, assumed the responsibility of conveying the perspective of retirees to the committee. The following year, a Statement of Principles was signed with the University Administration that provided MURA with office space and access to rooms for events, as well as a recognized status to collaborate with human resources on retiree issues.


Using social media platforms, MURA communicates its plethora of events (concerts, lectures, visits to museums, walking tours), workshops, including, for example, financial and pension planning, and a variety of other activities (book clubs, cycling excursions, golfing, knitting and restaurant groups). So far, these events and activities have attracted more than 400 retirees who are MURA members. As an Association, MURA-ARUM is committed to expanding its membership, to nurturing its existing activities and relationships, and to creating a vibrant network of active retirees connected to each other and to the wider McGill University community.


Ginette Lamontagne, Founding President
July Pharo, Founding Member


1 CURAC's annual conference for 2021 was hosted by MURA at McGill to mark the University's Bicentennial.


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