Earlier this year, I wrote to you about my travels to several college campuses. There, I witnessed how you, members of business and finance offices, were meeting the challenges of the pandemic, mentoring your future campus leaders, and working with your colleagues to meet the strategic visions of your colleges and universities.
There was a real power in being together with those business officers, cabinet members, and presidents in person, on campus. Many of you—more than 1,600 of you—are about to harness the power of being together with your fellow business officers at the upcoming NACUBO annual meeting in Colorado.
In advance of the annual meeting, our first in person since 2019, I write to thank you. Thank you for what you do, individually and collectively, for institutions, for students, for higher education, and for each other. I could not be prouder of the work that you did to navigate the many challenges brought on by the pandemic.
And I could not be prouder of the work that the NACUBO staff and the NACUBO board have done to support you.
This year, we mark several major anniversaries.
First, our own. For 60 years, NACUBO has been by your side, working together with you, our members, and being a source of clear, trusted knowledge, and providing resources to help you tackle higher education’s evolving challenges. This past year, in person and online, we have been working hard to listen to your concerns. We learned a lot and we are putting it to work with a refreshed Strategic Blueprint, investing in three key areas: Transformation, Strategic Leadership, and Advocacy and Engagement. If you’re attending the annual meeting, you’ll hear more about these priorities.
Two other anniversaries to note this year are the 50th anniversaries of groundbreaking federal legislative achievements that affect you, your institutions, and your student communities every day.
The first is the 50th anniversary of the Pell Grant. In 2020, 6.7 million undergraduate students received Federal Pell Grants, enabling them to pursue their educational goals at your institutions.
The second is the 50th anniversary of Title IX. It was a simple, yet powerful, sentence that has transformed our nation: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
NACUBO’s renewed focus on transformation, strategic leadership, and advocacy and engagement will continue to harness the progress NACUBO and our nation have made over the past decades, and it will amplify the opportunities you and your institutions can deliver in the spirit of your higher education mission.
Like so many of you, I have dedicated my career to higher education because I believe strongly in the opportunity it provides students. I have certainly been the beneficiary of that value—my grandfather was a farmer who only made it through the fifth grade, but he believed in the power of education to improve the lives of his children and grandchildren.
I want to encourage you to continue the challenging work you do that results in opportunities for students to transform themselves and their lives, no matter their background. Whether you are joining us online or in person for the NACUBO 2022 Annual Meeting, I am certain you will discover many new ideas and strategies to achieve such goals.
Thank you for working together to innovate and to transform higher education.
Susan Whealler Johnston, Ph.D.
President and CEO