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News & Press: ACCED-I News

President's Message

Wednesday, March 25, 2020   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Mary Kay Baker, CCEP, Board of Directors President
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If anyone had told me last year, when we all gathered in Pittsburgh for our 39th Annual Conference, that there was not going to be an Annual Conference in Providence, I would have said, “Are you crazy; why in the world would you even suggest such a thing?”  Sadly, here we are in late March 2020 – and as you know, the board of directors and home office made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel.  I know, in my heart, that this was the right decision – really, the only decision – we could have made given the ever evolving Coronavirus crisis.  However, I will admit to an overwhelming sadness as this unfolded – for so many reasons.  The cancellation of the conference pales in comparison to what is happening around us.  My heart is breaking for those who are suffering from COVID-19, those who have lost their lives to this virus, those who are concerned for the eldery/family/friends, and everyone whose life has taken on a new normal, that is not normal at all.

Over the past year, so many people put a great deal of time and effort into planning our Annual Conference – the Education action team, the Hospitality Committee, and our incredible ACCED-I home office staff.  My unending thanks to each one of you for sharing your time and talent.  Please know that your efforts have not gone unnoticed and we appreciate all you did to prepare for our time in Providence and we are forever grateful.

Our world is dealing with unprecedented times.  Life will present its fair share of adversity and experiences outside of our control.  However, every day we can choose to overcome those setbacks. Each day we can deliberately control our attitude, behavior, mindset, and how we react to life's trials.  It costs us nothing to be kind and to demonstrate greater levels of daily patience and empathy.  Please know we have the capacity to heal, grow, survive, and thrive in times of immense uncertainty.  I recently saw a quote that resonates right now:

 When you can’t control what’s happening,

challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening.

That’s where your power is.

I hope you all can find ways to find your power. These are crazy, chaotic, and uncertain times - that's for sure.  It is said, if we want to travel fast, travel alone, but if we want to travel far, it is vital we travel together.  I hope you will all take time to find some joy with people you love, indoors or outdoors, doing whatever it is that fills your soul….we all need more of that right now. 

I am sharing a link to a video that captures my hope for our future: view here.  We need to "rise up" as individuals, as an association, as colleges and universities, as communities, as a country.

Please stay healthy and safe.  This too shall pass.   

Warm regards,

Mary Kay

   Mary Kay Baker, CCEP, is the President of the ACCED-I Board of Directors for 2019-2020. She is the Director of Conference Services at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Mary Kay can be reached at (610) 758-5302 or



Christina Patarino CCEP, University of Colorado Boulder says...
Posted Thursday, March 26, 2020
Ditto to Jim's comment. Mary Kay, thank you for all you have done for OUR association over the years. I appreciate your inspiring words - all true! We can and will get through this ALL together. Thinking of you, HQ staff, leadership and all our members! Peace!
Jim Hodges, Duke University says...
Posted Thursday, March 26, 2020
Thank you for sharing this thoughtful message, your leadership, and most importantly, just being you! Your upbeat attitude brightens each situation. Thank you Mary Kay for your service and dedication.