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The North American Association of Commencement Officers, Inc. (NAACO) was founded in 2000 to promote excellence in the administration and management of academic ceremonies and to foster high standards of excellence and cooperation with related organizations and industries that are centered around commencements and convocations.  

Created by commencement planners for commencement planners, the exchange of ideas and information has remained a critical element of the organization’s success.  The annual conference is the primary opportunity for members to learn from peers and colleagues from across the continent and to share best practices. The first conference was held in 2001 in Tempe, Arizona with 75 participants attending.  Current conferences bring together an average of more than 300 professionals to discuss a broad spectrum of topics in locations extending from Toronto to Honolulu.

Strong and lasting personal relationships are the true hallmarks of NAACO.  For many, the annual conference is an invigorating reunion with good friends and an opportunity to learn innovative practices from new colleagues and acquaintances.  NAACO Co-founder Melissa Werner from Arizona State University continues to be an active member of NAACO as do many other committed individuals who have helped to build the association through the years.

The association is divided into 9 regions across the continent and, in addition to the annual conference, several regional meetings are held throughout the year to provide professional development opportunities and to create local networks for members.

NAACO maintains a members-only, online forum to allow for the free exchange of ideas, recommendations for service providers, the opportunity to ask questions of peers regarding best practices and institutional experiences. NAACO was incorporated in 2007 in the state of Illinois and has operated primary offices in the state of Arizona, Illinois, and is currently based in New Jersey.


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