This morning, I was thinking about my upcoming travel to Phoenix for the NASPA Conference. There is a full list of “to do’s” between now and then – and I still don’t know what I’m packing.
My very first NASPA was 30 years ago this Spring in Boston. It’s famous because of the amazing and unexpected snow storm that dumped a foot of snow overnight on Boston and New York City. I was only there for the Placement part of NASPA. I had eight interviews in one day and laryngitis! I also remember leaving the snow for a stop-over at DFW in pouring rain and landing in Lubbock in the middle of a dust storm! The first actual conference I attended was in Denver. I have no idea what year it was, but I do know the introvert inside me stood up and screamed in terror at attending a conference of 4000+ people. If I had not been attending with my supervisor, UT-Austin Dean of Students Sharon Justice, I don’t think I would have met anyone. Luckily, Sharon knew everyone – at least, it felt like it. There have been other memorable conferences and conference stories over the years, but there are also many that have blended together. But good or bad, memorable or forgettable, there will never be another one like 2012.
This year, in the company of wonderful UTSA colleagues, I will have the honor of receiving two of NASPA’s top awards. There is no way I could have foreseen that as I wandered lost (figuratively and literally) through my first national conferences. The Pillar of the Profession award recognizes sustained work over time. The Scott Goodnight award for Outstanding Service as a Dean/Senior Student Affairs Officer is earned through teamwork. I hope all of you know that I know it is impossible to earn either of these awards by oneself. Just as it is impossible to dance at the highest level without an equally talented partner, it is impossible to lead on any level without talented partners. The people of UTSA and the Division of Student Affairs are extraordinarily talented and committed partners – and I’m lucky to get to work with you. Please know that I am honored to represent UTSA and our division of Student Affairs at the NASPA national conference this year. It will be an experience I will never forget.