Out of the Park in Boston
Business officers catch a dynamic lineup of offerings at the NACUBO 2009 Annual Meeting.
The following NACUBO staff members and consultants contributed to this report: Connie Adamson, Mary Bachinger, Bryan Dickson, Bill Dillon, Bobbie Dillon, Marta Perez Drake, Anne Gross, Karla Hignite, Donna Klinger, Michele Madia, Sue Menditto, Kenneth Redd, David Rupp, Carole Schweitzer, Maryann Terrana, Dorothy Wagener, and Tadu Yimam. Photographs by Rodney Choice, Choice Photography, and Bobbie Dillon.
“We had no way of knowing at the time we chose the meeting's Green Monster theme how appropriate it would be,” said NACUBO President and CEO John Walda as he greeted the 1,355 registrants who attended the June 27–30 annual meeting. Selected more than a year in advance, “Taming the Green Monster” was chosen with multiple meanings: as a reference to the legendary 37-foot wall in left field of Boston's Fenway Park—but also to pressing issues that face the business office and to specific challenges that accompany sustainability.
“All of you,” said Walda, “have found some new barriers and challenges to the operations of your institutions over the past year as a result of the economic condition and its aftermath.”
To help NACUBO's member institutions meet these challenges, Walda noted, the association initiated several projects including a continually updated Web resource page, on-demand webcasts examining topics such as underwater endowments, and joint advocacy with the American Council on Education and other higher education associations on issues related to the stimulus package.
And, “although it sometimes doesn't seem like it,” he said, “there were challenges beyond the economy,” such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill and campus safety. NACUBO's responses included leading the higher education community in researching campus security issues and scheduling a preconference in Boston before the annual meeting.
“We take the subject of sustainability very seriously, too,” said Walda. He pointed out concurrent sessions in that track and green practices at the meeting, as well as a preconference workshop, campus tours of environmentally friendly facilities on three Boston-area campuses, sustainability poster sessions, and signing of a new NACUBO book, Boldly Sustainable.
Cal Ripken Jr. embodied the baseball theme with an enthusiastically received keynote message on Monday. Other keynote speakers were Gwen Ifill, television journalist, and Dan Ariely, behavioral economist; all spoke against a backdrop depicting a baseball diamond. Participants in the general sessions also heard talented young Boston-area musicians.
Walda noted that Boston was an ideal location for NACUBO's annual meeting because it's “a city with such history and significance for higher education.” Not only is it the home of Harvard University, considered the oldest institution of higher education in the United States with its founding in 1636, but Boston also hosts more than 180 other colleges and universities representing all constituent groups.
Following is a sample of the learning opportunities and special events experienced by the business officers who gathered in Boston.