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Business Officer Magazine

Reaching New Heights in Chicago

The NACUBO 2008 Annual Meeting brought business officers together for a mix of learning and networking opportunities.

By NACUBO staff members and consultants: Connie Adamson, Mary Bachinger, Jeanne Cure, Altovise Davis, Bryan Dickson, Bill Dillon, Bobbie Dillon, Karla Hignite, Lisa Jordan, Donna Klinger, Michele Madia, Sue Menditto, David Rupp, Jessica Shedd, Carole Schweitzer, Jennifer Vernon, and Dorothy Wagener. Photographs by Rodney Choice, Choice Photography, and Bobbie Dillon

Here are a few of the perspectives experienced by the record-breaking gathering of business officers in Chicago.

Amidst signature skyscrapers along Chicago’s Lake Michigan shore, a record 1,630 registrants gathered for the NACUBO 2008 Annual Meeting, July 12–15. Not only did the total attendance far exceed the record of 1,536 in 2005, but the more than 200 walk-ins who registered on site also outpaced earlier numbers.

NACUBO has been working to expand its scope, said NACUBO President and CEO John Walda in opening remarks: “We’ve always focused on topics such as accounting, tax, and endowment management. But now, with business officers becoming more important campus managers, the topics have been broadened to include those such as sustainability and risk management. We’ve forged partnerships with a number of key organizations—the AGB, ACE, and the NCAA, to name a few. We’ve made a point to reach out to new audiences.”

Among the previous year’s initiatives Walda mentioned were the Thought Leaders program, the National Campus Security Project, and new efforts related to the issue of sustainability, including the online resource center CampusERC.

“I believe success always depends on being open to fresh approaches, seeking new ideas, and the restless pursuit of innovation—to changing perspectives,” he said.

“[Chicago] is the perfect example of that spirit of innovation,” Walda said. “Chicago, with its groundbreaking architecture, is the undisputed birthplace of the skyscraper. It’s safe to say NACUBO takes its inspiration from this cutting-edge city. We pride ourselves on applying novel approaches to solve long-standing problems.”

To suit the conference theme of “Changing Perspectives,” a Chicago ambience greeted attendees at every turn, from the skyscraper models on the ballroom stage to live blues music during the closing luncheon to the expo halls named for four of Chicago’s professional sports teams: Bears, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox.

See You in Boston

Mark your calendar now for the NACUBO 2009 Annual Meeting, June 27–30, in Boston. Check and future issues of Business Officer magazine for details and updates.

Attendees also found sustainability a consistent emphasis from the first day, when they received reusable water bottles in their convention bags and heard the first general session speaker: Daniel C. Esty, coauthor of Green to Gold. Throughout the meeting, session speakers did not give handouts, but attendees could download speakers’ PowerPoint presentations at the cybercafe in the NACUBO Bookstore.

New this year were two preconference workshops: “Taking the Next Step: Career Advancement in Higher Education” for business office staff ready to gain leadership skills to move upward, and “Future Trends Impacting Community Colleges” for community college business officers.