A landmark event in the in-plant world took place April 17-21 in Dallas. ACUP, the Association of College and University Printers, convened for its 46th annual conference—its first conference as a “formal” organization.
ACUP has deep roots as an in-plant organization, dating back to 1964 when in-plant managers from 25 colleges and universities met at Harvard University and agreed on the need for a forum to share ideas. The University of Virginia hosted the first annual conference in 1965, and the string of conferences continued unbroken until 2009 when the conference was cancelled because of low registration.
Over the years, ACUP membership grew to several hundred and included in-plant managers from Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand, as well as all parts of the United States. In-plant managers from the largest research universities to small, private liberal arts colleges met with a common thread: How can I be a better manager for my institution?
Why was this year’s conference such a big deal? Don’t most organizations have annual conferences?
Yes, but prior to this year, ACUP had been a unique organization. There was no formal organizational structure. The old ACUP had no offices, no newsletter, no staff and did not charge dues. Everyone that attended an annual conference was a “member” for life, and conference fees were waived for retirees. ACUP was more than an “association”; ACUP was a community—a community of in-plant printing professionals coming together to share ides, accomplishments and solutions to common problems, and to network.
The “association” was a group of volunteers. Each year in-plant managers from one, or in some cases a small group of regional colleges and universities, would volunteer to host the next conference. The host institution(s) assumed all responsibility for the conference, planned the educational sessions, organized guest activities, solicited sponsors for support and generally made it happen.
Ray Chambers, CGCM, MBA, has invested over 30 years managing and directing printing plants, copy centers, mail centers and award-winning document management facilities in higher education and government.
Most recently, Chambers served as vice president and chief information officer at Juniata College. Chambers is currently a doctoral candidate studying Higher Education Administration at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). His research interests include outsourcing in higher education and its impact on support services in higher education and managing support services. He also consults (Chambers Management Group) with leaders in both the public and private sectors to help them understand and improve in-plant printing and document services operations.