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High Notes in Nashville

April 2015

By Khesia Taylor

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Hit the right note at the NACUBO 2015 Annual Meeting, July 18–21. With its burgeoning cultural scene, from culinary arts to entrepreneurial ventures, Nashville is the perfect location for dynamic professional development.

Edited by Khesia Taylor

About midway across Tennessee, the city of Nashville is often associated with eclectic music, live bands, and the Country Music Association awards. While it’s often referred to as Music City, Nashville is undergoing a number of changes that are revitalizing the city. It’s a charming location full of Southern hospitality, and it’s quickly becoming known for more than just music, due to a vibrant art, culture, and food scene. 

If asked to name which U.S. city has the best culinary offerings, it’s likely you’ll name big cities on the East or West Coast; however, more and more self-proclaimed “foodies” are heading to Nashville for robust and diverse choices. The city even has its own two-day food and wine festival that features top chefs, winemakers, and, of course, music.  

In this burgeoning cultural atmosphere, an increasing number of recent college graduates are opting for Nashville as the place to begin their careers. The city launched WorkIT Nashville in 2013—a campaign to recruit technology workers to the area. Moreover, in the same year, Google announced Nashville as one its partners in the Tech Hub Network—a space for talented entrepreneurs to develop innovative startups. With all that is changing, it should come as no surprise that Nashville was named one of the fastest growing cities of 2015 by Forbes magazine.

Even though Nashville is becoming increasingly popular and moving to a different beat, you can still find iconic music staples. On Music Row you will find various recording studios and RCA’s Studio B where Elvis Presley recorded more than 200 songs. At the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum—venue for NACUBO’s annual meeting opening event—you’ll take a journey through the history of country music.

Nashville’s changing atmosphere made it the perfect location to host NACUBO’s annual meeting themed “The Tempo of Change.” Through general and concurrent sessions, attendees will learn about key issues affecting the business office, how to effectively implement solutions to maximize results, and engage in spirited discussions on reinvigorating campus operations. 

Acquire New Knowledge

Check the annual meeting website at to see a list of options for targeted learning opportunities in small group meetings. 

Tune Into Learning Sessions 

Once again this year, the guidance of NACUBO’s four constituent councils resulted in a collection of concurrent sessions designed to provide insight into focused topics and ideas within the framework of the comprehensive annual meeting program. You can customize your learning experiences by selecting from a rich menu of presentations that target the needs of NACUBO’s primary member segments: community colleges, small institutions, research universities, and comprehensive and doctoral institutions. Here is a brief sampling of the programs:

Scholarship and Service

Roll up your sleeves on Saturday morning, July 18, for the 8th annual NACUBO “Serving the Community” project. This event has become a welcomed opportunity for attendees and guests to work together and “give back” to the annual meeting host city. 

Participation in this activity is a great way to make new friends, while helping some of our most challenged educational colleagues. In 2014, approximately 100 business officers and friends revitalized an elementary school in one of the neediest neighborhoods in Seattle. This year we will be hosting a similar project at a middle school in Nashville. There is no charge to participate; spouses, and children 18 years and older, can also participate. Plan to arrive in Nashville by Friday evening, because transportation departs from the Opryland Hotel early Saturday morning. For more information, contact or visit NACUBO’s community service page at 

Sights, Sounds, and Leisure 

NACUBO offers different ways for you to kick off your 2015 annual meeting experience. Whether you want to spend your day on the green with spectacular views or get fit with NACUBO, there is something for everyone. Here’s a look at what you can expect in Nashville. 

Personal Enrichment Sessions and Tours

To enhance your NACUBO annual meeting experience, we encourage you to “take off” on Monday afternoon. You’ll have the option of participating in alternative programming sessions, campus tours, or one of a selection of special “Discover Nashville” tours. 

The 75-minute sessions and forums offered on Monday afternoon will provide attendees with in-depth, interactive learning opportunities on a variety of topics such as leadership, succession planning, and career development. These sessions, unlike the tours, will be eligible for CPE credit. 

A complete schedule and estimated CPEs will be available on the annual meeting website at

The mission of the arts group is to offer ongoing visual arts experiences for locals as well as visitors, through a variety of exhibitions that change every month, along with special programs and events. The 5th Avenue corridor features more than 15 art venues including the Arts Company, the Rymer Gallery, and Tinney  Contemporary, as well as the eclectic Art at the Arcade, featuring Twist Gallery and Coop Gallery.

Corporate Showcases Enhance the Overall Program

Five corporate showcases offer new solutions to a variety of issues. Focused on a number of topics, these sessions will be integrated with the rest of the conference so that attendees can catch several throughout the annual meeting. Advance sign-up is not necessary. 

A schedule of the following showcases will be included in the on-site program. Here are brief descriptions:

The Tempo of Change

For more information and to register for the NACUBO 2015 Annual Meeting, visit

Khesia Taylor, is associate editor, Business Officer.

Member Perspective: Best of Nashville

When you’re visiting a city for the first time, or with limited time to spare, it’s often hard to pick the activities, entertainment, or restaurants you absolutely must visit while in town. To ensure you make the most of your time, we’ve asked NACUBO members, who live in the area, to provide their “best of Nashville” choices for annual meeting visitors looking for fun or historical outings. 

Here’s a roundup of what NACUBO members had to say: 

Beth Cooksey, vice president, business and finance, at Volunteer State Community College. “If you have only three hours of free time in Nashville, the absolute must-do activity is Lower Broadway (1) to tour the honkytonks. It just doesn’t get any more Nashville than Lower Broad. I love that Nashville has truly evolved rapidly over the last 10 years. Pro football, pro hockey, live entertainment, and a walkable downtown all contribute to an electric vibe. My favorite venues for local bands are Rippy’s, Robert’s, and of course Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.” 

Kathy E. Hargis, director, Office of Risk Management, at Lipscomb University (relocated to the area 30 years ago for a job opportunity after college). “There are many great restaurants in Nashville, but if I had to pick just one I’d recommend Pancake Pantry (2). It is a popular place for the locals as well as those visiting our fair city. But, after living here for 30 years, I can say that the best thing about Nashville is the people. It still has a Southern charm to it with lots of big city things to do. It is just the right mix. My must-see recommendations include: Lower Broadway and Second Avenue for the great music and Nashville scene; Ryman Auditorium (3)—the mother church of country music; the Parthenon at Centennial Park (4); the Hermitage Hotel (5); Union Station (6); and Bluebird Cafe (7).”

David Caldwell, executive vice president, finance and administration, at Trevecca Nazarene University (came to Nashville when his parents moved the family to the city to teach at the university level; he’s lived in the area for 40 years). “What I like best about Nashville is the diversity of music and the many food opportunities. Most importantly, it’s not the small town it once was, but it’s still filled with a lot of good people. In addition, my favorite restaurants are Etch (8)—I insist that you order the cauliflower—and Arnold’s Meat&3 (9). If you want to hear live music I recommend the Schermerhorn (10) —the best venue in town to hear music of any kind.” 

Claire Stinson, vice president, planning and finance, at Tennessee Technological University (lives 75 miles east of Nashville, in Cookeville, Tenn). “What I like best about Nashville is that it has a small town feel with big city entertainment. Large amounts of green space include the Greenways Park (11), Centennial (12), and Bicentennial parks (13), which provide activities for everyone, from the really active to people who just want to chill and listen to great music or attend a great sporting event. Although there are many great music venues in Nashville, my favorite is Bluebird Cafe. If you go, reservations are a must. If you’re looking for good food, try Pancake Pantry—although, I will warn you there’s always a line. Fido (14), The Mad Platter (15), and Valentino’s Ristorante (16) are also good. If you’re short on time absolute “must do” activities are the Parthenon, Country Music Hall of Fame, and Ryman Auditorium.” 

Brett Sweet, vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer, at Vanderbilt University. Even though I’ve lived in the area for only six years, I like the entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude that pervades the city. My favorite restaurants are Bolton’s (17) for lunch and Miel (18) for dinner. The latter is “off the beaten path,” but well worth it. My favorite museum is Cheekwood (19), and Station Inn (20) is my first pick for live music.”

Horace Chase, vice president, finance and administrative affairs, Jackson State Community College. “I love everything about Nashville, including its growth, diversity of people and cultures, history, and live music. A popular dish in Nashville is ‘hot chicken’; I recommend visiting Prince’s Hot Chicken (21)—featured on the Food Network—if you enjoy spicy foods. If you’re not into spicy, try Virago (22). My favorite museum is the Tennessee State Museum (23), located in downtown Nashville.”