If the State of the Association address could be summarized in a few words, it would be this: NACAC is on the move. Angel Pérez, NACAC CEO, spoke to the NACAC Conference 2023 crowd on Saturday, Sept. 23 to reflect on where the association has been and where it’s going as it builds on its accomplishments of the last few years.

Since Pérez took the helm in July 2020, NACAC has evolved its governance to become more flexible, nimble, inclusive, and diverse. NACAC has had its most diverse board in its history, gave every eligible member the right to elect the board, and expanded committee leadership opportunities, to name a few. NACAC also streamlined its mission and vision statements, providing greater clarity on the issues the association advocates for on behalf of members. Research capabilities expanded as well, with grants to NACAC from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and Kresge Foundation.

NACAC also celebrated mission moments, including one from Elevate Equity 2023, an inaugural NACAC-led convening of university presidents, board chairs, faculty, and admission deans to strategize on how to commit to equity in the admission process. Faculty who attended from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) learned at Elevate Equity that calculus – an admission requirement at CalTech – is often a barrier for students from low-income, marginalized communities because many high schools don’t even offer the course. Determined to find another way, these colleagues successfully advocated for change back at their institution, leading CalTech to create an alternate option for students to demonstrate their potential for success.

Looking ahead, NACAC has exciting initiatives in development, including a program called NEXT, which aims to build the leadership capacity of next-generation affiliate leaders with a trajectory for national leadership. In partnership with Northeastern University, NACAC also will have its first global universities fair in November in London.

“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it,’” said Pérez. “It has always resonated with me, and it couldn’t be more relevant today… We will not let challenges prevent us from realizing our vision that the transformative power of postsecondary education must be accessible to all.”

With this conviction, Pérez announced NACAC’s vision for a Center for Reimagining College Access, which will integrate innovative research, practice, and technology to support NACAC members in creating a new landscape of college admission. The center will encompass research and prototyping of new assessment and evaluation initiatives, as well as intentional workforce development and cultivation of the next generation of admission and counseling professionals. Perez recognized Alexander Clark, founder and CEO of Technolutions, for his donation to the center—the largest individual gift in NACAC’s history. Clark’s gift will provide seed funding for the center. Perez also announced a planned collaboration with Slate, a platform created by Clark, to develop a new, democratized approach to connecting students with colleges. In the coming year, NACAC members will have opportunities to give feedback on this project as it is developed.

“Friends, I’m fired up about the future and I hope you are too,” said Pérez. “We can’t do this work alone… When NACAC asks for you to give your time, talent, or treasure, I hope you will stand up and say, “Let’s go!”

Read the full transcript of the State of the Association speech (member login required).