The Academic Event Professional: Forging a Retreat for Academia’s Event Producers

The Academic Event Professional Conference 2011
January 23-24, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona
By Kelly Wynn

Academic event producers were challenged to “rethink events in higher education” at the fifth annual Academic Event Professional (AEP) conference held in Phoenix from January 23-24.

Hosted alongside The Special Event (TSE), AEP serves as a resource for more specialized education and networking for event professionals from academic institutions charged with coordinating a variety of segmented events, including development, alumni and parent, institutional milestones, commencement, cultivation and donor recognition events. Academic planners looked to the conference speakers and one another to exchange best practices as well as ideas and strategies for success, efficiency, productivity and return on relationships (ROR). AEP’s format provided an intimate, yet open environment for academic event producers to build upon their arsenals and acquire concrete deliverables to take back to their institutions and innovate.

Highlights of the conference included a presentation and case study by USC’s Senior Vice President Cultural Relations and University Events, Jim Hooker, on inaugurating a university president and the hysterically funny, yet somewhat scary, “War Stories Luncheon, ” which included a recount of academic event planning horror stories and lessons learned. Other sessions included an emphasis on event production, social media, capital campaigns and collaborating with industry partners.

Next year’s conference will be held alongside TSE in Tampa, FL. For more information on this year’s conference, please visit AEP.

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