Nora McLaughlin

Registrar, Reed College

My AACRAO experience overlaps neatly with my higher education career. After graduating from Johnston College, a non-traditional liberal arts program at the University of Redlands, I became registrar there, following in the footsteps of the first of many mentors. A few years later, I was appointed University Registrar at the University of Redlands. Although I wasn’t sure if this would be my life work, I found higher education to be compelling, challenging, and rewarding. I served as University Registrar at California State Long Beach for over five years, then accepted the position of registrar at Reed College. One of the benefits of working in higher education is the expectation that we are always learning – how better to model that for our students than to embody that learning in how we serve the missions of our institutions? 

Throughout my career, my colleagues across the state, region, nation, and internationally have informed, inspired, and guided me through changes in technology, academic culture, and higher education legislation. Serving on local arrangements committees at the state, regional, and national level helped me engage in association work, as did serving on professional activities committees and making presentations. Serving on the boards of PACRAO and AACRAO demanded more strategic thinking and developing different skill sets. My work on AACRAO’s Governance Task Force was some of the most demanding and inspired work I have seen colleagues undertake so collaboratively. Visiting many of the state and regional associations during my tenure on the AACRAO board was a privilege and provided a perspective on how our shared goals and purpose were more evident than our differences. From bowling competitions, river cruises, to costume parties, AACRAO’ans share not only their knowledge but recognize that social connection enhances professional connection and support. 

It has been delightful to share my professional world with members of my family, who have attended annual and other meetings over the years. I remember my mother regaling my colleagues with stories in the lounge at a PACRAO conference (what stories did she tell?) and I wondered if there was room at the table for me. Of course there was. And I am gratified that AACRAO, PACRAO, OrACRAO, and many state and regional associations have made significant inroads in their efforts to ensure that for our students and our campus communities, there is room at the table for everyone. It is our responsibility and privilege to make access to higher education a priority. We see the importance of welcoming and connecting with one another, and that spirit informs our work with our campus communities. Onward, AACRAO!