Rajia Tobia was elected president of the Association of Retired Faculty and Associates (ARFA) in December 2021. Tobia began her career at UT Health San Antonio in 1980 and retired as executive director of libraries in 2016.
She succeeds Kenneth Kalkwarf, DDS, MS, former dean of the School of Dentistry, who served as the ARFA president for the past two years.
Tobia is the 16th president of ARFA, which was founded in 1995 to bring faculty and professional staff together to keep members informed of campus activities and to participate in social and health care educational activities.
“One of the benefits of ARFA is it’s a great way for retired faculty and staff to say in touch with each other and with the campus,” Tobia said. “Many of the presentations at our meetings are by researchers and other faculty, which helps keep retirees attuned of what’s going on the university. And socially it’s important for retirees to keep in touch with each other.”
ARFA holds several general meetings each year featuring presentations that highlight topics of interest on campus. Recent speakers have included Rev. Ann Helmke, faith liaison for the City of San Antonio, and Robert Esterl, MD, associate dean for Undergraduate Medical Education and Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Surgery, who discussed the San Antonio Compassionate City initiative and the creation of the Compassion Path on campus. Another presentation included speaker Sudha Seshadri, MD, professor of neurology and founding director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases, who spoke about the latest research being conducted at the institute.
One of the primary activities of the association is to award a scholarship each year, on a rotating basis, to an academically outstanding student from each of the five UT Health San Antonio schools. The recipient is selected by the school. This year, a $2,000 scholarship will be awarded to a student from the School of Health Professions.
“ARFA always welcomes new members,” Tobia said, noting that in previous years ARFA was only open to faculty, administrative and professional employees, but starting this year it is open to any retired employee with five or more years of full-time employment at UT Health San Antonio.