The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) promised the sky would be the limit at their Annual Meeting in Seattle in July, and the event certainly hit some very high notes. Founded in 1962, the nonprofit professional organization represents chief administrative and financial officers at more than 2,100 colleges and universities across the country, and the Annual Meeting is designed to help uphold the organization’s mission of promoting sound management and financial practices at colleges and universities. “We have been an active and key supporter of NACUBO for over 30 years,” commented Janine von Juergensonn, National Vice President of Marketing for Barnes & Noble College. “Our involvement with NACUBO is essential and critical to our business. It provides us the invaluable opportunity to connect with our clients in an informal way and build relationships with prospective clients,” she explained.
With its expansive theme of “Scaling New Heights,” this year’s Annual Meeting offered some different perspectives on business excellence and the definition of success. Keynote speaker Alison Levine is a polar explorer and mountaineer who is no stranger to extreme environments, having not only skied the North Pole, the South Pole and all of the Seven Summits, but also having survived a successful career on Wall Street. In her opening keynote speech, Levine drew parallels between mountaineering and business leadership, a theme of her book, On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates also addressed the attendees in a far-reaching general session that covered funding, education and the future of giving in his role as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The theme of high altitude leadership continued for invited guests of Barnes & Noble College who had the opportunity to join Lynn Sherr for a cocktail reception event at Loulay Kitchen & Bar. The award-winning broadcast journalist and ABC News national correspondent discussed her best-selling book Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space, written as Sherr became a personal friend of the barrier-breaking astronaut. “I wrote the book because I knew her as well as I did, and because I thought I could tell the right story,” she told the audience.
The author also shared anecdotes on Sally Ride’s life, her career at NASA, and her later life dedicated to encouraging young girls to pursue careers in the fields of science and math. The Barnes & Noble College author receptions have long been a highlight of industry conferences such as the NACUBO Annual Meeting, and von Juergensonn praised previous events that have included luminaries as diverse as Dr. Henry Kissinger, the late John Kenneth Galbraith, James Carville and Mary Matalin, Al Gore and Emeril Lagasse.
In addition to the high quality of guest speakers, NACUBO’s 2014 Annual Meeting also included a busy trade show featuring vendors, partners and services allied to the higher education industry. “In addition to having a prominent presence in the Exhibit Hall and providing major sponsorships, Barnes & Noble College attends, as well as hosts, seminars to stay abreast of timely and critical issues affecting the business officers at the colleges and universities we serve,” von Juergensonn said. Some of those seminars and workshops covered topics ranging from everything from enrollment strategies, health-care costs and how to sustain athletic programs with state funding gaps, and the development of digital learning. It was food for thought for the attendees of the NACUBO Annual Meeting, and valuable information for the kinds of challenges business officers face today in higher education.