August 20, 2015
New NAACO President Lisa Walker Takes Reign
September 17, 2014
New NAACO President Lois Ferguson Takes Reign
August 17, 2014
Courier-Post – Late Katz Named Best Commencement Speaker
August 3, 2014
Philly.com – Katz Feted for Temple Speech
March 20, 2014
Four Tips to Manage Stress During Commencement Season
Connect – NAACO Annual Conference
November 20, 2013
NAACO’s 14th Annual Conference to Honor the Past and Inspire the Future
July 11, 2013
Commencement’s Over, Now What?
Connect – NAACO Annual Conference
March 19, 2013
USAE – NAACO 2013 Annual Conference
November 30, 2012
NAACO Annual Conference Spells Commencement with a “Capital C”
August 9, 2012
New NAACO Board Takes Reign
June 1, 2012
How Does Your Setting Affect Your Graduation Plan?
Connect – NAACO Annual Conference
May 5, 2012
Smart Meetings – NAACO Annual Conference
January 16, 2012
NAACO Annual Conference to Foster Collaborations and Connections
November 29, 2011
USAE News – NAACO Partners with CMA
November 22, 2011
NAACO Invests in Strategic Growth Initiative to Enhance Member Value
Board of Directors Contact List
NAACO Board of Directors
Current NAACO Officers (2017-2018)
Suzanne Kahl, President
Suzanne Kahl currently serves as President on NAACO’s Board of Directors. She has worked as Commencement Coordinator at Tufts University since 2006. She plans and organizes the all-university commencement ceremony, and helps coordinate and provide logistical support for the Baccalaureate service, and for 26 school and department diploma ceremonies. She is responsible for editing commencement publications, maintaining the commencement website, monitoring finances of commencement accounts, and coordinating the meetings of the university-wide commencement committee (consisting of 30 members). In addition, she helped coordinate Tufts’ presidential inauguration ceremony and events in 2011. Suzanne has been a member of NAACO for 8 years, and has organized two NAACO regional meetings at Tufts, most recently in December 2013. Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University, and a Master’s Degree in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Birmingham, England.
Dr. Douglas Bolin, President Elect
|Associate Director for University Events
University of Texas at Austin
Doug Bolin is responsible for strategic planning and creative elements integrated into a series of events that focus on creating community across the University of Texas campus. Doug has an academic background in music and was a member of the voice faculty at Baylor University prior to moving to Austin. He received his doctorate in vocal performance from the Ohio State University, a master’s degree from the University of Texax at Austin, and a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Doug previously served on the NAACO Board as President and Past President.
Lisa Walker, Past President
|Director of Ceremonies, Marketing Manager
University of Washington Bothell
As Director of Ceremonies, Lisa is responsible for planning and coordinating all aspects of the commencement and convocation ceremonies at the University of Washington Bothell. This includes event logistics, budget preparation and reconciliation, supervising all volunteers, faculty, staff and vendors to create and implement memorable commencement ceremonies. Lisa also plans additional university events. In addition to her ceremonies work, Lisa is the Marketing and Advertising Manager at her institution.
Lisa is currently the Chairperson of the General Staff Organization and is the recipient of the 2010 Staff Appreciation Award. Additionally, she is also the recipient of a 2009 District VIII Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Bronze Award for “Branding UW Bothell.”
Melissa Picher Kelly, Treasurer
|Melissa Picher Kelly
Academic Events Manager
Ceremonies & Events Office
The University of British Columbia
Melissa Picher Kelly has 12 years of experience as the Academic Events Manager in the Ceremonies Office at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver campus.
Previously, Melissa was a member of the team that launched UBC’s downtown Vancouver campus where she led the successful event services department for seven years.
In her current role, Melissa manages a cross-campus team that produces UBC’s bi-annual graduation ceremonies, held in the Spring and Fall. UBC graduates approximately 9,000 students per year and welcomes thousands of guests to campus for the festivities.
In addition to graduation, Melissa coordinates several other University events as part of the Ceremonies Office team. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in French from UBC.
Lisa Arakaki, Secretary
|Senior Director, Special Events
Lisa Arakaki serves as the Senior Director of Special Events in the Office of the President at American University in Washington, D.C. She works closely with campus partners to coordinate large-scale events including commencement, All-American Weekend, Staff Appreciation, Celebrate AU, and the Faculty-Staff Holiday Party. In addition, she assists with special projects, advises departments and student organizations on event logistics and protocol issues, and represents the office on campus-wide committees. She has worked in Special Events for more than eighteen years and previously worked in the School of International Service. American University is a founding member of NAACO and Lisa served as co-chair of the 2013 Annual Conference in Washington, DC and the Southeast Regional Director for 2014-15.
Pamela Faust, Director at Large-Education
|Executive Assistant to the President and Provost
Pamela J. Faust is the Executive Assistant to the President and Provost at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. She serves the offices of the President and Provost jointly as the college’s ceremony officer, coordinating small- to large-scale ceremonial events, two internal grant programs, and the academic award and honorary degree processes. In addition, Pamela provides event planning assistance to sister offices in the academic division and logistical support to the Faculty Chair in various governance areas. Pamela has been a member of NAACO for eight years, serving on the Education Committee for the last two years. Before coming to Kenyon College, she served as director of adult literary programs at The (James) Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio, and as development event coordinator at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, Ohio.
Alanna Vernon, Director at Large-Membership
|Associate Director, Ceremonies and Events
The University of British Columbia, Okanagan
Alanna joined the Ceremonies Office at the inception of the Okanagan campus in 2005 and has managed every UBC Okanagan graduation ceremony since then. Besides graduation ceremonies, she is responsible for over 30 annual and special events each year, and none were bigger or more special than the Royal Visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in September 2016. Alanna is the NAACO regional director for Canada West and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian History from the University of Alberta.
Ellen Liebman, Director at Large-Communications
|The College of Arts and Sciences
University of Pennsylvania
Ellen Liebman is the Associate Director of Administration in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, managing department finances, support staff, and academic advising in addition to major events like Family Weekend and College Graduation. In the past she has been the Faculty Affairs Coordinator for the Neuroscience Department, the Department Administrator for Romance Languages, and an assistant director in Alumni Relations, all at Penn. Ellen holds a bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies from Penn and a master’s degree in Latin from Bryn Mawr College.