Resources for Graduation Event Professionals

An Overview of the North American Association of Commencement Officers

Mandated with putting on the highest profile events of the year for our institutions, commencement coordinators or directors of academic ceremonies must face considerable challenges: meeting the needs of many stakeholders, and the even greater challenge of ensuring that each ceremony is one that will appropriately celebrate our graduates and the work they have done to achieve this level of academic success.  It is our goal that graduates, parents, family and friends and the university community leave the ceremony with a positive and lasting impression of this occasion and of the university. I have found that the North American Association of Commencement Officers (NAACO) has proven to be my greatest resource towards meeting this goal.


You too can take advantage of all that NAACO has to offer.  Check out our website and consider attending this year’s conference.  There is still time to register and join us February 9-11, 2015 at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston, Florida.  The conference theme is focused on event production and work-life balance.

NAACO-01NAACO supports commencement and convocation officers at member institutions and universities in providing best practices, keeping up with current trends, implementing new ideas and providing access to a wide range of service and product providers. Members have access to year-round networking opportunities, a directory to colleagues from the US, Canada and beyond, educational programs, leadership opportunities, professional and personal development, and soon to come, a certification program. NAACO hosts regional meetings and an annual conference and can provide you with the opportunities to exchange ideas, share traditions and explore new opportunities with others who face the same struggles of our industry.

Influence and impact strategist Neen James will kick-off the conference with her session, “Folding Time: How to Achieve Twice as Much in Half the Time.” James will help attendees understand how they can increase time accountability, leverage technology platforms, utilize efficient workflow solutions and create a productive personal action plan for implementation and measurable results.

Patrick Henry, author, humorist and former Nashville songwriter, will deliver the closing keynote address titled, “Becoming ‘Rememberable.’” During his presentation, Henry will reveal the secret to building “remember-ability” in the eyes of customers while providing ways for creating an extraordinary experience for graduates, guests and participants.

NAACO AttendeesAttendees will experience educational sessions on a wide-range of topics including “You’ve Prepared for Commencement – But are you Prepared to Respond in an Emergency?” featuring Florida International University representatives discussing how institutions can be prepared for a potential emergency during commencement. The session “Social Media Engagement: Before, During and After,” will provide tips for attendees on utilizing social media to engage graduates, families, stakeholders and alumni year-round. During the “Peeling Away the Budget Onion” session, attendees will learn the components of a commencement budget and how to be more budget-conscious and efficient, while delivering a great commencement experience.

Editor's Note: be sure to check out our spotlight article feature Linda Bekerian, which can be found here.

Topics: Best Practices