ACHE’s 77th Annual Conference & Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri is only four short weeks away. We’re excited to see among those registered names both familiar and new, and we can’t wait to see you in St. Louis! The Conference Planning Committee has been working for months, even before last year’s conference in Las Vegas ended, planning an annual meeting that will provide networking opportunities, strategic connections, and celebrations of our collaborative successes. Our plans are for you to reconnect with old colleagues and to make the new, strategic connections that happen when we meet together, face-to-face, relaxing with and learning from each other.
Certainly the biggest strength of any conference is the content. This year’s speakers and presenters are some of the most knowledgeable in the field, chosen specifically to inspire and engage. It is in professional retreats such as this where I know I can find and take away exemplars that I can use immediately and where I connect with colleagues who can assist me in challenging times. I know you will find the same.
As we begin our 30-day countdown to meeting in St. Louis, I want to recognize and express my sincere appreciation to conference co-chairs Pam Collins and Tina Marie Coolidge along with the entire Conference Planning Committee for their dedication and commitment to the success of your 2015 Annual Conference & Meeting. I also want to thank my staff at Eastern Illinois University: Peggy Hickox, Peggy Brown, Cheryl Clapp, Diane Highland, Ryan Boske-Cox, and Bianca Tomlin. Additionally, I would be remiss if I did not include the staff of the ACHE Home Office: Dr. Jim Pappas, Ynez Henningsen, and through August of this year, Stan Khrapak, who have diligently worked behind the scenes to support the efforts of the Conference Planning Committee and me, making sure everyone had the necessary resources… many times even before they were asked.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve as president of ACHE this year, and to represent the association among peer associations. Before I hand the presidential gavel to President Elect Paula Hogard in St. Louis, I wanted to make sure to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for what you do for adult and non-traditional students in higher education. You, as leaders and practitioners in the field, have the vision, the knowledge, the wherewithal, and the experience to help strategically strengthen America’s competitiveness in the global economy. As part of my presidential duties, I traveled throughout the spring, attending our regional meetings, where I got to meet many of you and learn first-hand the impact you are making across our regions for our students, our campuses, and our communities. With the post-traditional student population having grown to over 70%, what we do every day in our institutions is essential to the economic growth of our communities. Where we used to lie at the periphery, we are now much nearer the center, invited into the conversations being had as the landscape of higher education shifts.
Again, words cannot express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to serve as President of ACHE and to work in a profession with colleagues who daily make a difference in the lives of generations. Join me in St. Louis for an outstanding Annual Conference and Meeting, for professional development, for networking, for renewal, for Strategic Connections and Collaborative Success!
Regis M. Gilman
ACHE President, 2015