Catching up with our VBS faculty emeriti: Where are they now?

December 6, 2021

We had a chance to check in recently with some of the VBS faculty emeriti, which included individuals who have been retired for several years, and some only several months. They graciously shared what they have been up to since retiring from the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences.


Beitz, AlAl Beitz

What have you been up to since retirement? "With COVID-19 it has been tough to travel so we have spend time remodeling our home, spending time with our kids and grand kids, and keeping busy (boating on White Bear Lake 3x per week during the summer, swimming in our backyard pool, walking our two dogs every day."

Any new hobbies, recipes, travels, or other favorite activities? "I enjoy doing home projects (putting in new flooring, painting, refinishing doors, etc).  My wife and I play bingo once a week and attend a lot of our grandkids school functions including dance, track, baseball, etc. I really enjoy playing fantasy football!"

Have you gained any new wisdom since retiring: "I had one wisdom tooth extracted since I retired, so I guess I lost some wisdom.  I take it one day at a time and enjoy each day as it comes. I have a new publication as well, "Intrathecal interleukin-1β decreases sigma-1 receptor expression in spinal astrocytes in a murine model of neuropathic pain," published in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy."

Cox, VicVic Cox

What have you been up to since retirement? "Soon after my retirement in 2016 I was diagnosed with Parkinson's and ALS and Clara was seven years after a diagnosis with early Alzhiemer's disease.  After 54 years of marriage, I lost Clara in February of this year.  In spite of all our neurodegenerative problems, I'm thankful for a very supportive family including 7 grandkids (9th grade thru college senior.) They often send me their interesting class reports (should bitcoins be regulated? How should NATO support the Baltic states?) Fortunately, my Parkinson's signs are not like what Carl Osborne had. Mainly I suffer from muscle weakness due to ALS = motor neuron disease soI have been reading books by Stephen Hawking (Brief History of Time......The Universe in a Nutshell.) He died of ALS. Also, I read 6 books by James Herriot and 4 biographies by Walter Isaacson (Code Breaker about CRISPR-Cas 9.) Often my reading leads to Wikipedia searches. Reading is my hobby along with Netflix documentaries. Herriot is a good light read for anyone interested in veterinary medicine." Dr. Cox was also recently featured in the Regions Foundation newsletter.

Halvorson, DaveDave Halvorson

What have you been up to since retirement? "I can't believe it's been 13 years since I retired. Since retirement I have worked part time and as a volunteer with Dr. Carol Cardona's group on influenza projects. This allowed some welcome mental stimulation, and even some continued participation in publications. I have enjoyed removing invasive buckthorn trees on 160 acres in Wisconsin, an activity that turns out to be continuous. Susan and I are snow birds now, and I have found a volunteer opportunity in Venice, Florida removing invasive Brazilian pepper trees. In looking back at my University career working with avian influenza and now in retirement working to control invasive trees I can see that perhaps I have been choosing Sisyphean projects. Greetings to all at the department!"

Isaacson, DickDick Isaacson

What have you been up to since retirement? "We had hoped to do some significant travel but the pandemic has pretty much changed our plans. We had a trip to Verona, Italy and one to New Orleans that we canceled. We also missed a rocket lift off in Florida too. The Florida trip was to be a chance also to visit with one of our grand daughters. Since being vaccinated we did go to California three times to visit our kids and grand kids. We’ve both had our boosters now and are planning to travel again (DC, and San Diego for Christmas)." Dr. Isaacson also has a new paper, "Oral Vaccination Reduces the Effects of Lawsonia intracellularis Challenge on the Swine Small and Large Intestine Microbiome,” published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

Any new hobbies, recipes, travels, or other favorite activities? "We’ve spent the warm months in our gardens. The colder months provided some time to do fun reading too."

Have you gained any new wisdom since retiring? "I’ve learned not to underestimate the power of Mother Nature. I joined a weekly discussion group at the Bayport library. It’s comprised of 12-18 people where we discuss politics, global warming, the pandemic, and economics. I bring and infectious disease and academic bent to the group that is mainly engineers. Topics are kind of a extension of my previous pre-retirement daily discussions with Dr. Kannan (although time with Kannan was more fun)."

 Kannan, MathurMathur Kannan

What have you been up to since retirement? "I still serve on the Editorial Board of American Journal of Physiology and review manuscripts routinely. Recently the Department of Urology at the Medical School invited me to serve on a research committee focusing on Functional Urodynamics. They wanted my expertise in smooth muscle physiology and NIH grant writing. I’ve traveled before the Covid outbreak to Canada India Malaysia Australia and New Zealand."

Larson, AliceAlice Larson

Alice and Bob Larson, MichiganWhat have you been up to since retirement? "I’ve only just retired so there’s not much to report.  I’m still serving on Manci Li’s graduate student committee, a chance for me to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease.  I’m also acting as the Academic Complaint Officer for a dismissal case, a flashback to my years on the Judicial Committee. And I presented a lecture on November 16 lecture about Fostering Creativity to UMRA (UMN Retiree Association). It’s an honor to still be invited to serve and fun to maintain my interactions with the University."

Any new hobbies, recipes, travels, or other favorite activities? "Interior decorating!  Two years ago, we renovated the kitchen, living room and dining room.  It looks so good that we just finished renovating four bedrooms and bathrooms too.  The next phase is our lower level, which will start next month.  Moving all your stuff back and forth in the house really helps motivate you to throw stuff away so you don’t have to move it again!"

Have you gained any new wisdom since retiring? "Having recently taken over all the financial activities in our household has given me a new skillset that I didn’t want but now feel quite comfortable doing.  I’ve also learned to change furnace filters, replace water filtration canisters, repair garbage disposals, replenish water softener salt, and install closet shelving. I guess the wisdom in all that is to keep learning and stay active. August trip visiting lighthouses and friends in Michigan, where I grew up."

(Pictured from left to right, Alice Larson with her husband Bob Larson.)

Maheswaran, SamSam Maheswaran

What have you been up to since retirement? "I retired from the University of Minnesota in September 2009. Wow, time flies! Since my retirement, I have spent almost every year, for three weeks during the month of January several times at Cabo San Lucas and once in Costa Rica. I loved to spend my Winters especially at Cabo San Lucas because it is a warm place with blue skies every day, great food, unlimited beverages and great ocean fishing. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I stopped traveling to Mexico after January 2019. I have also enjoyed fishing in the Summers with three other friends in several freshwater lakes in Northern Manitoba, Northern Saskatchewan, and Western Ontario. Since I got older and got a frozen right shoulder, I gave up fishing in the Summers since 2018. During my retirement, I have completed reading four books that deal with the four year narcissistic, autocratic and ruthless regime of Trump in the White House ( Fear, Only I can fix it, Peril and Betrayal). I also go to my office (Cubicle) in the Veterinary Science building at least once a week for half a day to catch up with reading on the latest scientific information  on Covid-19 disease, Bovine Respiratory Disease and a few other topics. I get mental stimulation reading scientific papers. I am also an avid gardener growing annuals, perennials,vegetables and keeping my Turf Grass in my lawn free of weeds  and nicely manicured throughout the warm months. The last time I traveled long distance overseas was in July 2016 when I visited my native land Ceylon (Sri Lanka) with my two daughters. Sadly, because of my old age I can't travel such a long distance anymore. Lately, I have embarked on a new hobby of Wood-Working. I wish you all a Merry Christmas which is filled with the peace and promise that was born on that Holy Night".