Las Vegas Summary

SUMMARY of the Las Vegas Gathering Activities                           

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - April 25-27, 2014


By Bruce Janoff





As weary OMA (Overseas Marylanders Association) lecturers and administrators from across the nation--Washington D.C,  Maryland, , Virginia, Texas, New Mexico, California, Reno, Nevada—and even Bangkok, Thailand (Joe Arden, of course)--gathered at the Green Valley Resort and Spa in Henderson, Nevada, spirits were heightened by renewed friendships—and by the spirits in the Hotel Lobby Bar.


With the majority of the group assembled, Carole Amendola led a car caravan from Green Valley to Vic’s Restaurant in the Del Webb Sun City Anthem complex.  See the Gypsyscholars website for pictures from the dinner.  Following dinner, Bruce Janoff and Carole hosted a gathering at their Sun City home in honor of John Mack and John Floyd, UMUC friends who left us far too soon.




Business Meeting:  The main business meeting for the Overseas Maryland Association (OMA) was held in the Greene Room at Sun City, Anthem from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The first order of business was for all those in attendance to speak about their backgrounds, their years of service with UMUC, their overseas assignments, and what they have been doing since leaving Maryland’s employ.


Next on the agenda was Rosemary (Sholl) Hoffman’s explanation of the formation of the Gypsyscholars website. Many thanks to Doug Lemmon for assistance in maintaining the website. Everyone agreed that the concept of a website as the hub of information for OMA members is a boon.  Many lapsed friendships have already been renewed thanks to the wealth of contact information on the website.  Rosemary then addressed the long-term goals of the OMA, and Julian Jones explained the OMA charter and its bylaws.  Joe Arden then announced that the next large gathering of the OMA was scheduled for Naples, Florida in early November, 2014.  Joe also predicted that gatherings of the OMA could/would take place as often as twice a year, with Boston, Chicago, Texas and San Francisco as prime future venues.


As the last order of business, Bruce Janoff presented his proposal for an on-going Oral History Project to preserve the wealth of information and experience that UMUC teachers and administrators have accumulated over the years since the UMUC Overseas program was initiated just after World War II.  With Bruce as the interviewer, the first three interviews in the project were completed during the weekend.  Appropriately, Joe Arden was the first interviewee, followed by Rosemary Hoffman, and Sharon and Tom Hudgins in a two-shot. Many more interviews will follow during the November reunion in Naples.  Ideally the project can be carried on indefinitely so that future historians can study the Viet Nam War, the Cold War, the conflict in Bosnia and other overseas tension spots from the point of view of university professors and students teaching and learning in places as remote as Iceland, Korea, Turkey and even Siberia.  Take a look at the website for pictures from the business meeting. 


NOTE:  Each attendee will receive a customized DVD of the Greene Room meeting, complete with music and text identifying each speaker.


OMA Reception:  At 4:30, UMUC sponsored a cocktail reception for OMA members and local graduates from UMUC programs at the China Spice Restaurant in the Green Valley Resort.  The reception was hosted by Cathy Sweet, UMUC Vice President, Institutional Advancement representing President Javier Miyares. At Cathy’s invitation, UMUC alumni in the Las Vegas area attended the reception and spoke about their experiences with UMUC. Their presence, enthusiasm and accomplishments signified a high point for many attendees as an assurance that, despite the years that have passed and the changes UMUC has undergone, the caliber and integrity of the students continues. Cathy also gave the group a perspective on today’s UMUC and the road ahead, and presented a short film featuring UMUC programs.


The Feast:  Following the reception at China Spice, most of the group moved on to the Feast Buffet in Green Valley.  Satiated by the sumptuous buffet, many quickly found their way to their slumber, while others tested their gambling skills on the casino floor and in the sports book.




9-11 a.m.:  Champagne Breakfast at Green Valley.


11:00:  A car caravan led by Carole Amendola departed Green Valley for the scenic 30-minute drive east from Las Vegas to Lake Mead.


Noon-1:30:  Narrated cruise on Lake Mead aboard an authentic Mississippi-style paddle wheeler.  The narration discussed the geology of the region, the history of the construction of Hoover Dam (one of the man-made wonders of the modern world), and the future of water conservation in the American West.  Highlights were close-up views of Hoover Dam and the recently-completed Bypass Bridge linking Nevada with Arizona.  Again consult the Website for captioned pictures from the cruise.


Don’t forget the next scheduled OMA gathering in Naples, Florida in November!