2020 NAACO ANNUAL
CONFERENCE

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2020 Annual Conference: Register Now!

February 10-12, 2020
Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park
Chicago, Illinois

Plan now to join us in Chicago for the 2020 NAACO Conference. The Conference Committee will be working with NAACO member institutions in the Chicago area to plan an educational experience that will highlight the experience and talent of our affiliate members, showcase the resources and expertise of our corporate partners, and spotlight some of the rich traditions that are unique to this incredible city.

Full schedule of events will be posted here when available.

Event Schedule

Times and Sessions are Subject to Change. Further details will be released about each session shortly.

Sunday
2020-02-09
Monday
2020-02-10
Tuesday
2020-02-11
Wednesday
2020-02-12
14:00 - 14:30
Sponsors/Exhibitor Orientation
15:00 - 19:00
Registration Open
17:00 - 18:00
Certificate Welcome and Orientation
07:00 - 17:00
Registration Open
07:30 - 20:00
Corporate Showcase Open
07:30 - 08:50
General Breakfast
07:30 - 08:50
New To NAACO Breakfast (with Lightning Round from Sponsors)
09:00 - 09:30
Opening Ceremony

President’s Welcome, Certificate Graduation Ceremony, Conference Chair’s Welcome, and more

Keynote Presentation: Planning Ceremonies, Building Community, and Shaping Cultural Meaning image
09:30 - 10:30
Keynote Presentation: Planning Ceremonies, Building Community, and Shaping Cultural Meaning

Colleges and universities are replete with rituals and ceremonies marking significant occasions in students’ and community members’ lives. Convocations, presidential inaugurations, graduations, and award ceremonies are ceremonies that occur on college and university campuses. Despite the ubiquitous nature of these rituals and ceremonies, those of us who plan and attend these events have limited knowledge of their deeper meanings, the reasons for the notable commitment to their continuation, and the possible meanings conveyed to internal and external community members.

 

In this keynote, Dr. Kathleen Manning calls upon the anthropological theory of rituals, secular ceremonies, and cultural performances to share ways that traditional ceremonies on campuses can be most richly endowed with purposeful, meaningful messages. The speaker will share her research on campus traditions and connect current day ceremonies with traditional and contemporary anthropological theory to express why the higher education community is so intent on their continuation.

Keynote Presentation: Planning Ceremonies, Building Community, and Shaping Cultural Meaning image
Kathleen Manning
Professor, University of Vermont
10:30 - 11:00
Break
11:00 - 12:00
Education Sessions #1: How to Shorten Your Ceremony While Still Individually Recognizing Your Graduates
11:00 - 12:00
Education Sessions #1: Smooth Operations: A ‘How to’ for Technical Projects (Track 2)
11:00 - 12:00
Education Sessions #1: Outdoor Ceremonies – the Good, the Bad and the Very Wet
11:00 - 12:00
Education Sessions #1 Flag Protocol (Track 1)
12:00 - 13:20
Lunch
13:30 - 14:30
Education Sessions #2: The Playoff Predicament: A Contingency Plan
13:30 - 14:30
Education Sessions #2: Using Ritual and Tradition to Crystallize University Affinity
13:30 - 14:30
Education Sessions #2: Commencement (r)Evolution: Physical Transformation (Track 2)
13:30 - 14:30
Education Sessions #2: Make Them Say Yes!: Volunteer Management 101 (Track 1)
14:30 - 15:00
Break
15:00 - 16:00
Education Sessions #3 A Large Commencement Ceremony and A Small Commencement Ceremony – A Study of Contrasts and Similarities
15:00 - 16:00
Education Sessions #3: Diploma Management: From Degree Conferral to Distribution
15:00 - 16:00
Education Sessions #3: My Grandmother Needs an Aisle Seat! Managing Accessibility Arrangements for Graduands and Guests with Disabilities (Track 1)
16:00 - 17:00
Free Time
17:00 - 18:00
Region Meetings
18:00 - 20:00
Opening Night Reception
20:00
Dinner On Your Own
07:00 - 17:00
Registration Open
07:30 - 20:00
Corporate Showcase Open
07:30 - 09:20
General Breakfast
09:30 - 10:30
Education Sessions #4: Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? Preparing for More Than the Unexpected at Your Convocation Ceremonies (Track 1)
09:30 - 10:30
Education Sessions #4: Leaving So Soon? Strategies for Keeping your Audience Until the End
09:30 - 10:30
Education Sessions #4: Engagement, Service, and the Public Good: A Presidential Investiture (Track 2)
09:30 - 10:30
Education Sessions #4: Planning a Graduate Hooding Ceremony
10:30 - 11:00
Break
11:00 - 12:00
Education Sessions #5: Managing a Successful Graduation Fair, the How’s, the Why’s, and the Did We Really Do That?
11:00 - 12:00
Education Sessions #5: Shared Vision: Partnerships to Enhance the Commencement Experience for Graduates and Guests (Track 2)
11:00 - 12:00
Education Sessions #5: Best Practices for Managing the Platform Party (Track 1)
11:00 - 12:00
Education Sessions #5: All Included: Focusing on Diversity and Inclusion During Commencement Season
12:00 - 13:00
Lunch
13:00 - 13:45
Ignite Sessions and Dessert
13:45 - 14:00
Break
14:00 - 15:00
Education Sessions #6: Developing Ceremonial Protocol and Putting it into Action (Track 2)
14:00 - 15:00
Education Sessions #6: Check it Off Your Checklist (Track 1)
14:00 - 15:00
Education Sessions #6: It’s Never Too Late to Graduate! An Anniversary Commencement Thirty Years Later
14:00 - 15:00
Education Sessions #6: Safe and Successful Ceremonies: Taking Charge of Your Emergency Plan
15:15 - 15:45
Travel to University of Chicago
15:45 - 17:15
Campus Visit and Session at University of Chicago
17:15 - 17:45
Travel from University of Chicago
17:15 - 19:00
Free Time
19:00 - 22:00
Night Out Event at Buddy Guy’s Legends

Night Out Event at Buddy Guy’s Legends

07:00 - 14:30
Registration Open
07:30 - 20:00
Corporate Showcase Open
07:30 - 08:50
General Breakfast
09:00 - 10:15
Panel Discussion
10:15 - 10:45
Break
10:45 - 11:15
Membership Meeting
11:15 - 11:30
Break
11:30 - 12:30
Education Sessions #7: Dukes & Duchesses: Building a Student Ambassador Program
11:30 - 12:30
Education Sessions #7: Elevate the Guest Experience through Effective Team Management (Track 1)
11:30 - 12:30
Education Sessions #7: Surviving the Storm: Sharing Lessons Learned from Two Institutions’ Inclement Weather Plans (Track 1)
11:30 - 12:30
Education Sessions #7: Make Them Say Yes!: Volunteer Management 101 (Track 1)
12:30 - 13:40
Lunch
Keynote Presentation: A Life Of Yes: How to Create a Life That Fits Perfectly image
13:45 - 14:45
Keynote Presentation: A Life Of Yes: How to Create a Life That Fits Perfectly

“Realistic, simple, actionable steps to create a fulfilled, productive, and engaging life for yourself, framed through Saya’s relatable personal experiences and philosophies. She uses charisma, humor, vulnerability, and a dash of TMI to be a breath of fresh air on universal, age-old topics with which we all grapple. Career! Love! Friends! Community! Finances! Adulthood! So much to get right! Everyone else is perfect! Through her shares about being a success and a failure she lessens overwhelm and creates a-ha moments, inspiration to try the scary, and a proactive perspective that life can be easy and joyful, even with the inevitable periods of suck, if you design it so.

Keynote Presentation: A Life Of Yes: How to Create a Life That Fits Perfectly image
Saya Hillman
Owner Mac & Cheese Productions
14:45 - 15:15
Closing Ceremony
Select date to see events.

Hotel Information

Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park
200 N Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Hotel’s Website

NAACO has secured discounted rates for all attendees of the 2020 Annual Conference starting at $159 per night. The special NAACO rate will be offered until January 17, 2020 or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first. Attendees are responsible for making their own hotel reservations. For any questions or assistance making your accommodations, please contact the
Fairmont Chicago at (800) 441-1414 and refer to NAACO.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

  • Dr. Angie Taylor
    Dr. Angie Taylor

    Dr. Taylor has a long history of excellent leadership, people development and community service. Angie is a passionate, energetic presenter and has dedicated her life to making people and organizations better. Fun fact: She was a University of Nevada – Reno’s commencement speaker in 2015.

  • Eric Stuart
    Eric Stuart

    Stuart is the Director of Gentian Events, a crowd safety management company. He has managed crowds of up to 1.1 million and trained hundreds of crowd safety practitioners across the US, Canada, and the UK. He was the Chief of Staff for the planning and delivery of the 2010 London Olympic Torch Relay. His experience and knowledge will leave all commencement officers with valuable take aways.

  • Rick Lozano
    Rick Lozano

    In his own unique way, Lozano will amplify your engagement, your impact and your leadership skills. With his guitar and almost twenty years of experience in global talent development, Rick has a lasting impact everywhere he goes. He has built a reputation for his energy, music and refreshing delivery which will provide a memorable end to our conference.

AGENDA

Corporate Showcase -ALL DAY
7:30 pm – 8:00 9m Location: International D-F
Breakfast: New to NAACO/Mentor Breakfast
7:30 pm – 8:30 am Location: International A-C
Breakfast: All Other Attendees
7:30 pm – 8:30 am Location: International D-F
Procession and President’s Welcome
9:00 am – 9:20 am Location: Dogwood
General Session: Pops Culture: How King of Pops Spreads Joy to Employees and Customers
9:45 am – 11:00 am Location: International D-F
Matt Tanner, Director of People Ops at King of Pops in Atlanta, Georgia reminds us how to keep our employees and, ultimately, customers happy. Through this interactive presentation, you’ll learn the power of empowerment for your teams and will walk away with new tools and strategies to implement the next day.

Break – Corporate Showcase
10:45 am – 11:00 am Location: International D-F
Educational Session 1: Social Media Accessibility, Messaging & Targeting Audiences
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Location: Dogwood
TRACK 1 CERTIFICATE SESSION! Over 80% of the U.S. population has at least one social media profile, as of 2017. Social media is deeply rooted in its ability to connect and network individuals without borders; however many institutions underutilize social media’s ability to push out information and disseminate knowledge. Social media is a unique tool that has the ability to build a two-way connection with constituencies.

Educational Session 1: How to Train Your Team
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Location: International D-F
TRACK 1 CERTIFICATE SESSION! Training a team of more than 100 students and 40 staff volunteers to assist in running your ceremonies can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Learn how York University created an online module to efficiently and effectively train and prepare student staff and volunteers for their roles at Convocation. This session will cover how York reviewed its existing training plans, worked with campus partners to build an online module, rolled out the new program and saw the results in how the team were able to better assist grads and their guests on the day of their ceremonies.

Educational Session 1: What’s In a Name? Updating our Ceremony Name Reading Practices
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Location: International A-C
TRACK 2 CERTIFICATE SESSION! Hearing a student’s name read is one of the most important parts of graduation. As student bodies become increasingly diverse, both culturally and through gender identity transitions, it is important that our practices change, too. How do we collect data in a way that is sensitive and inclusive? A group of offices at Kenyon College is currently working on these questions. Pamela Faust and student Masen Colucci will be presenting their committee’s process to date.

Corporate Showcase
7:30 am – 1:30 pm Location: International D-F
Breakfast
7:30 am – 12:30 pm Location: International D-F
General Session: Creating a Culture of Hospitality & Inclusion with Food & Beverage
9:00 am – 9:20 am Location: Dogwood
Presented by Tracy Stuckrather, President & Chief Food officer at Thrive! Meetings & Events.As a commencement and convocation officers, you want to foster an event environment that is inclusive of all kinds of people, zincluding those with dietary needs. But creating a menu to feed a crowd of 50 to one of 5,000 is a daunting challenge, even under the best of circumstances. In this interactive session, we’ll discuss ways to feed everyone nutritiously, safely and deliciously, no matter what they can and cannot eat and within your budget.

Lunch
11:30 am – 12:15 pm Location: International A-C
Ignite Sessions& Dessert
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm Location: International A-C
Visit to Host Institution
1:30 pm – 4:00 pm Location: Georgia Institute of Technology
Join us on a visit to our host institution. Buses depart at 1:45 so please arrive by 1:30 pm From 2:15 pm – 4:00 pm we’ll tour the campus and charity project as well as build a dresser for the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta. Buses return to the hotel at 4:00 pm so don’t wander too far!

Membership Meeting: State of the Association
11:00 am – 12:15 pm Location: International D-F
Corporate Showcase -ALL DAY
7:30 pm – 8:00 9m Location: International D-F
Breakfast: New to NAACO/Mentor Breakfast
7:30 am – 8:30 am Location: International A-C
Procession and President’s Welcome
9:00 am – 9:20 am Location: Dogwood
General Session: Pops Culture: How King of Pops Spreads Joy to Employees and Customers
9:45 am – 11:00 pm Location: International D-F
Matt Tanner, Director of People Ops at King of Pops in Atlanta, Georgia reminds us how to keep our employees and, ultimately, customers happy. Through this interactive presentation, you’ll learn the power of empowerment for your teams and will walk away with new tools and strategies to implement the next day.

Educational Session 2: Cultural Expanse: Ceremonies Across 1,200 km of British Columbia’s Northern Interior
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Location: Dogwood
TRACK 2 CERTIFICATE SESSION! Incorporation of cultural elements into a university’s community and ceremonies can be a challenge, especially when dealing with regional campuses. University of Northern British Columbia chose specific ceremonial items and flags, and created flexibility on graduands traditional regalia, to express our commitment to cultural inclusion. We take every effort to provide protocol consistency but ensure that each campus, across the province from Fort St. John to the Nass Valley, have their own unique ceremonial sensibility.

Educational Session 2: New Technologies – How to Enhance Your Event Before, During and After
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Location: International A-C
TRACK 1 CERTIFICATE SESSION! Incorporation of cultural elements into a university’s community and ceremonies can be a challenge, especially when dealing with regional campuses. University of Northern British Columbia chose specific ceremonial items and flags, and created flexibility on graduands traditional regalia, to express our commitment to cultural inclusion. We take every effort to provide protocol consistency but ensure that each campus, across the province from Fort St. John to the Nass Valley, have their own unique ceremonial sensibility.

Educational Session 2: Using Technology to Increase the Graduate Experience
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Location: Dogwood
TRACK 1 CERTIFICATE SESSION! At American Public University System we strive to make our commencement experience meaningful for our graduates, their families, faculty, and staff. We are a fully online educator and commencement maybe the only opportunity for graduates to have face-to-face interaction. To ensure events leading up to and including the ceremony go off without a hitch, we enlist the use of technology and strong project management tools to support a successful commencement weekend.

Educational Session 2: Practical Tips to Reboot Your Ceremony
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Location: International A-F
TRACK 2 CERTIFICATE SESSION! “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” That’s awful advice and we’re here to give you great tips on how we introduced new technologies, incorporated learnings from past NAACO conferences, and used our own bright ideas, to tackle challenges and avoid the status quo. We will take you through a year of graduation ceremony planning and execution highlighting our successes, challenges and even some “ooopsies” along the way covering, online project management, communication plans, scripts & program improvements and event technology

Thank You to Our Sponsors

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balfour
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PROUD SPONSORS

BECOME A SPONSOR

NAACO offers a variety of high-value sponsorship opportunities for those looking to have a presence in NAACO and at the annual conference. With options for every budget and level of visibility, explore what level is just perfect for you and your company.

HOTEL RESERVATIONS

Attendees are welcomed to stay at Reno’s only AAA Four Diamond Resort for the 2019 Annual Conference! Book your hotel room now to ensure you capture special rates available exclusively here. Through this website you can book, modify or cancel your hotel reservations at any time and receive updated information about the event. Enjoy slots, table games and poker in the 82,000-square-foot casino and race & Sports book. Resort amenities include a posh 9,900-square-foot fitness center; two beautiful pools and three outdoor jetted spas, heated with on-site geothermal energy; designer boutique shopping, free WiFi Internet access for all guests; Reno’s hottest nightclub, EDGE; 15 bars and lounges, including the iconic Fireside Lounge; and 10 award-winning restaurants offering authentic Chinese, inspired Italian, steaks and chops, seafood, buffet, deli and café dining.

EXHIBITOR INFO

Looking to become an exhibitor at the upcoming conference? Network and connect with attendees at the 2019 conference and showcase your products and services that serve the industry’s community of professionals. Host your very own 10 foot linear space through the 3- day conference alongside some of the biggest names in the commencement and convocations industry. Be front and center with your booth display while also interacting with hundreds of Institutions throughout North America.

NAACO CARES

Since 2004, the NAACO Conference Committee has selected a local charity and asked attendees to make contributions to that organization. Designating a “NAACO Cares” charity is a way for us to demonstrate appreciation for our host city and to honor the work of the charity.

The 2019 Annual Conference Committee has selected the Metro Atlanta Furniture Bank as its charity. The Metro Atlanta Furniture Bank recycles gently used furniture by collecting it from the community and giving it to individuals and families moving out of homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, or countless others struggling to make ends meet. In addition to making financial contributions, attendees will have the opportunity to assist in building furniture that helps turn houses into homes.

LOCAL ACTIVITIES

Looking to become an exhibitor at the upcoming conference? Network and connect with attendees at the 2019 conference and showcase your products and services that serve the industry’s community of professionals. Host your very own 10 foot linear space through the 3- day conference alongside some of the biggest names in the commencement and convocations industry. Be front and center with your booth display while also interacting with hundreds of Institutions throughout North America.

LIST OF EXHIBITORS

A special thank you to our 2019 annual conference exhibitors! Please take some time to stop by their table, learn what they have to offer our ceremonies and convocations, and make some new connections. See below for a list of who to expect in Reno.

Church Hill Classics
Guidebook
Hague
Medalcraft Mint, Inc.

NameCoach
Paradigm, Inc.
Signature Announcements

Annual Conference FAQs

If your institution is a member of NAACO, all individuals from your institution are considered to be affiliate members and should be able to register for the event at the member rate. Be sure to login before registering to receive the discounted member rate.

Please note that if your membership is not renewed prior to October 1, 2019, you will either be required to pay the difference between member and non-members rates or reinstate your membership to take advantage of the member rate.

Registration includes access to all sessions, meals, receptions and the Night Out included on the schedule (unless noted as an invite-only function).

Single-day registration is subject to approval by the NAACO Board of Directors. Registration can only be used for one day, requests to attend multiple days would result in a full registration fee. To be considered for this option, please contact headquarters at info@naaco.org.

Click here to access the Cancellation Policy.

Registration is limited to those who are associated with an educational institution. Businesses and industry representatives interested in attending are able to do so either by becoming a Corporate Sponsor or exhibitor.

Please coordinate with NAACO’s headquarters office to secure all sponsorship details including your booth, registrations and promotional opportunities. Contact Executive Director, Michael Canino, at mcanino@naaco.org or (609) 297-5926 for more details.

Further sponsorship and exhibitor details will be available soon.

The mobile app will be made available as the event approaches. All registered attendees will be sent an invitation to download when available.

You may reserve your room online at the special attendee rate. For any questions or assistance making your accommodations, please contact the Fairmont Chicago at (800) 441-1414 and refer to NAACO.

Yes, there was an increase in registration fees for both attendees and exhibitors for the 2020 Annual Conference. Based on feedback from members and past attendees, this year’s Annual Conference programming has been extended to include three full days of programming to allow additional opportunities for sessions and networking.

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