The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Burning the Mortgage and Celebrating CUPA-HR!

Did you see the recent article in the CUPA-HR eNews regarding the March board meeting and mortgage burning celebration? In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday that I was the chair of the board—a volunteer leader from the University of Georgia. But alas, that was 2000-01 and the association was struggling to make ends meet while paying an extraordinary monthly lease payment in DC. The association was also struggling to attract and retain exceptional national office staff in an area. A bold move by a bold group of volunteer leaders forever changed the course of our association in 2003. Following lengthy discussion and debate, the board decided to move the association’s national office from DC to Knoxville, TN.

In 2005, I decided to trade my volunteer role for a full-time role as President and CEO of CUPA-HR. Even then, I never imagined the success and the impact that CUPA-HR would have on higher ed by 2011. I never imagined that I would get to oversee the construction of a new 12,000 sq ft permanent home for the national office staff. I also never (in my wildest dreams) imagined that we would be able to pay off the $2.3 million mortgage in less than 3 years and still have enough reserves to adequately protect the association should the unthinkable happen (and let’s hope the unthinkable NEVER happens).

This financial stability is also coupled with an incredible offering of programs and services to help higher ed leaders manage the challenges associated with management of the higher ed workforce. These programs and services are possible due the financial stability that we now enjoy, but they are primarily available due to the great work and dedication of an awesome national office staff and a great group of volunteer leaders on our national board, our 4 regional boards and our 41 chapter boards…awesome people doing awesome things for higher ed HR professionals and others with responsibility for managing the higher ed workforce.

Yes, we burned the mortgage on March 18. More importantly, we had the opportunity to celebrate how far our association has come during the last decade. I am so honored that I got to share that day with the national office staff, the national board and every chair of the board since the 2000-01 fiscal year. The day reminded me that CUPA-HR is not a building or a website or a conference or the latest alert regarding a change to Federal labor law. CUPA-HR is the people who dedicate their careers to providing resources and support to those who are preparing students for lives of leadership and service.

Andy Brantley