The Indiana University Retirees Association has connected retired faculty and staff with the university and with each other since it was founded in 1975. The idea for the organization is said to have originated in a conversation between then Chancellor Herman B Wells and business professor Harry Sauvain on a road trip to Indianapolis. At that point the TIAA-CREF program was just getting under way at IU. The two men thought an association formed of those actually collecting their contributions to the program—in other words, the annuitants themselves—would strengthen faculty participation. Hence the Annuitants Association, the name of the organization for its first 33 years. With the addition of retirement benefits other than annuities, the name became outdated and was changed to the IU Association of Retired Faculty and Staff in 2008. In 1999 the word "Bloomington" was removed from the membership description. Retirees from all IU campuses, their spouses or partners, widows or widowers, are welcomed into membership.
Over its history the association has been the means for retirees to communicate with the university administration about matters as varied as parking privileges and changes in health insurance. Social and educational programs bring retirees together and keep them up to date with IU, the community, and each other. 2009-2010 membership hovers around 285.