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Historical Overview

The Association of Retired Faculty at Mississippi State University (ARF) was organized on July 24, 1986, with 73 charter members. One of the founders, and the first president was Peyton Ward Williams, Jr., Professor Emeritus of English with 37 years of service at MSU. Another founder was Robert E. Wolverton, Sr., Vice President for Academic Affairs at MSU, and director of the first ARF executive board (Retired after 70 years at MSU! 96 years young in 2022!). Other members of the first executive board were: Margaret Estes, vice president; Joe Khatena, secretary; Chuck Aiken, treasurer; and directors William L, Giles (MSU President Emeritus), Edward G. Roberts, Troy Laswell, and Lyell Behr.

Membership in ARF increased from 73 charter members in 1986 to 140 members in 1996. During the first 10 years since inception, there were 21 deceased members, including 14 charter members. By 2003, 35 charter members were deceased, and ARF membership had dwindled to 95. However, by 2011-2014, membership had risen to, and was steady at around 175. Membership rose to 210 in 2015. During those years, ARF was “automatically” including new retirees and did not “riff” members for nonpayment of dues for several years. That led to inclusion of some retirees who were not interested in participation in ARF. More realistic membership policies were introduced in 2016, and in 2016 ARF numbers declined to 157. In 2018-2020, ARF membership was steady at about 135, with each new member showing interest in ARF by applying for membership, paying dues, and participating in ARF activities. The Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020-2022 caused losses of ARF membership and cancellations of ARF activities. ARF was 124 strong in early 2022.