Volume 77 | Issue 5
September 2009

Keynotes announced for the 2010 annual conference

As ACUI prepares to “Explore the Core” at the 2010 annual conference in New York City, it is building a hefty educational program based on the core competencies. For the first time in many years, the conference also will feature four keynote speakers. All will complement the educational sessions, extended learning and networking opportunities, as well as experiential programs within the city. Biographical information about the speakers follows.


Dan Heath

As the opening keynote speaker, Dan Heath, coauthor of “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die,” will not only be discussing his upcoming book “Switch,” but also every person in attendance will be receiving a free copy of it.

During his address, Heath will focus on marketing, discussing how to “make ideas stick,” a subject on which he has consulted companies such as Microsoft, Nestle, Macy’s, and the American Heart Association.

Currently, Heath is a columnist for Fast Company magazine, and recently served as a consultant to the policy programs at the Aspen Institute. Prior to this, he conducted research for Harvard Business School and worked for the executive education division of Duke University, where he designed and taught training programs for Fortune 500 executives.

Additionally, in 1997, Heath cofounded and served as editor in chief of the start-up publishing company Thinkwell, which created an innovative line of textbooks. Heath received an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a bachelor’s in the Plan II Honors Program at University of Texas–Austin.


John Roberts

John Roberts, anchor of CNN’s “American Morning,” will speak about higher education in the context of all Americans. With more than 15 years of reporting experience, Roberts is in tune with the ever-changing economy and the constant battle to offer the most up-to-date information.

Roberts has served as a White House correspondent, chief medical correspondent, and anchor on both morning and evening news programs. Through the years, Roberts has interviewed many influential leaders, such as former U.S. presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton as well as former Vice President Al Gore and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Roberts’ work has been recognized with three national Emmy Awards, and he has reported on a broad range of pressing stories developing in Washington, D.C., as well as international assignments. Events that Roberts has covered include the Atlanta Olympic bombing, Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew, U.S. intervention in Haiti, war in Iraq, U.S. elections, and much more.

Marsha Herman-Betzen

With a combination of multimedia and humor, ACUI Executive Director Marsha Herman-Betzen will speak on the state of the profession, college unions, and student activities, touching on all of ACUI’s core competencies. She will present a historical journey of the profession, explain how the field has evolved over time, and share what can be learned by examining our roots. Herman-Betzen also plans to discuss internal and external factors that directly affect the profession.
Herman-Betzen has worked in the ACUI Central Office for 25 years, serving as coordinator of educational programs and services and associate executive director before being named executive director in August 1994. She began her career in the college union field at the Oklahoma State University Student Union as manager of conferences and scheduling.
Herman-Betzen has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with an emphasis on speech education and sociology from the University of New Mexico and a master’s degree in interpersonal communication from the University of Michigan; she also completed more than 60 hours of coursework at the State University of New York–Buffalo in organizational communication.
During her tenure as one of ACUI’s most traveled executive directors, Herman-Betzen has logged more than 900,000 air miles, presenting numerous educational sessions, workshops, and keynotes for campus, state, national, and international organizations. Additionally, Herman-Betzen represented ACUI at the President’s Summit on America’s Promise, the White House Conference on Hate Crimes, and has served on a Department of Education Office of Civil Rights task force to identify best practices in diversity education within higher education.

Omar Wasow

In a multimedia presentation that will captivate the audience, Omar Wasow will introduce a fresh perspective on technology. Wasow constantly works to demystify technology issues and provide an accessible window into the geek world he loves. During his keynote, Wasow will try to open this window for all in attendance.
Described by The New York Times as “Silicon Alley’s Philosopher Prince,” Wasow’s work as the executive director of and as NBC’s Internet analyst has earned him a reputation as a leading commentator on the challenges and opportunities of new media and the new economy.
Wasow is currently a Ph.D. candidate in African American studies and government at Harvard University. He is also cofounder of, a leading website for African Americans, reaching more than 3 million people a month. Wasow does regular television and radio segments on NBC, CNN, and “The Tavis Smiley Show” and tutors Oprah Winfrey during a segment on her show called “Oprah Goes Online.”
Wasow’s ongoing success in the technology world has earned him the title of one of the “50 Most Influential People to Watch in Cyberspace” by Newsweek; “Sexiest Internet Executive” by People magazine; and one of the “21 Top Speakers for the 21st Century” by Successful Meetings Magazine.
His other accomplishments include: being named a Rockefeller Foundation’s Next Generation Leadership Program fellow; opening a K–8 charter school in his hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y.; receiving a Graduate Research Fellowship at the National Science Institute; and receiving  the Henry Crown Fellowship from the Aspen Institute.