President's Corner

March 2024

I hope that everyone enjoyed a safe and smooth return home from the annual meeting in Atlanta.  It was, as always, a great time to catch up with old friends, get acquainted with new colleagues around the region, and plan projects for the upcoming year.  Assuming the responsibilities of president this year, I was more acutely aware than ever of the hard work that goes into this meeting by the SAEA officers and board.  While everyone on the board plays a vital role in the success of this meeting, I will exercise the prerogative of this newsletter column to single out a couple of individuals.  Mallory Vestal completed her rotation on the board with this meeting, and on the occasion of her release from these duties, it is appropriate to recognize her extraordinary work as a director over these past three years.  As noted at the business meeting, Mallory will be sticking around to help out with SAEA secretary duties.  Speaking of secretary, Nathan Smith has quietly and faithfully served in this important – and largely thankless – role for quite some time.  His contribution to the annual meeting and to the general success of the organization should not go unremarked.  And speaking of unremarkable, Jeff Jordan has been and remains an SAEA stalwart.  I always hate to use the word irreplaceable, because we all have to be replaced at some point, but Jeff is about as close to irreplaceable as you can get. 

A final, special thanks is in order to Marco Palma and Rodney Holcomb.  If you noticed that I wasn’t around on Tuesday, it was because I was under the weather with what I think was a touch of food poisoning.  While I was in my hotel room throwing up everything I had eaten in the past month, Rodney and Marco – whom I had texted at about 5:00 am – were covering my responsibilities and regularly checking in to see if I was all right.  In fact, I got quite a few emails and texts over the next couple of days from many of you, making sure I was all right.  For the record, I’m fine; I even lost a few pounds, so it was all to the good.  At any rate, one could not ask for better colleagues and friends than those to be found in SAEA.  This year gave me a good reminder of that. 

Before closing the books completely on Atlanta, I would like to share a few stats about the meeting.  Registered attendees totaled 475, a record attendance.  We had 114 undergraduate students from 19 institutions attend the meeting and participate in Quiz Bowl.  The student component of the SAEA meeting – both undergraduate and graduate – is a distinctive feature of our organization and one that I think we should be very proud of.  The student-oriented aspects of our meeting – quiz bowl for undergraduates and various competitions for graduate students – take an extraordinary amount of work to manage.  I won’t try to recognize everyone who contributed to these efforts because there are so many, but a sincere “thank you” to everyone who made this meeting a special event for our student participants.

Looking ahead, I am anticipating a great year for SAEA.  We have an outstanding board of directors, and we will have an outstanding slate of candidates for open positions.  Our journal continues to grow in stature within the disciplinary literature, and our editorial team is doing a great job of keeping that growth on track.  While memories of Atlanta are still fresh, we will begin preparations for next year’s meeting in Irving, Texas very soon.  In short order, I will begin reaching out to recruit committee members to support our meeting preparation and planning.  If you think you might be interested in pitching in, feel free to take the initiative to reach out to me.  If you think you aren’t interested, I hope you’ll still be willing to take my call and let me try to change your mind.  This is a great organization, and serving in it is a great way to build professional connections. 

Looking forward to seeing you again in Texas next year.

Best Regards,

John Anderson

SAEA President

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