Former Sen. David Durenberger is among 92 faculty and staff members retiring soon at the University of St. Thomas.

The university, with campuses in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, offered a financial incentive last fall to employees 55 or older who wanted to retire. The result: 22 faculty members and 70 staff will be bidding the university farewell. That's just under 5 percent of its total employees.

It is, officials say, the biggest mass retirement in years. Durenberger, who served three terms in the U.S. Senate, is easily the most well-known. After leaving the Senate in 1995, he founded and became chair of the National Institute of Health Policy at St. Thomas.

The retirees list also includes Susan Huber, the executive vice president and provost; five business professors, three English professors, and long-time faculty and staff from a cross-section of departments.

The university posted the names of (most) of the retirees on its website on Monday, and announced that it will hold a farewell celebration for them all on Thursday, May 22, at 3 pm at the Anderson Student Center.

University officials said they offered the incentive package - a year's pay plus $7,250 for health coverage - in part as a way to trim payroll costs. The university plans to fill at least 40 of the staff positions, and probably more, though some of the jobs may change, according to Doug Hennes, a university spokesman. Decisions on replacing faculty will wait until the next school year.