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ASACC was formed by delegates from nine colleges from three states (Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota) who met in December, 1984, in Milwaukee, WI. From the meeting emerged the consensus that both student leaders and their community college would benefit from a network of campus governments whose purpose was to help students enhance leadership skills and address issues of student need.
The association was originally incorporated as the American Student Association of Junior, Technical and Community Colleges. It remained headquartered at Milwaukee Area Technical College until the early 1990s when Butch Keelin (then immediate past- president) was hired as the first ASACC Executive Director, and the name was shortened to the American Student Association of Community Colleges. Its second office was then opened in the Washington, D.C. area to help build the annual Washington Conference, and strengthen dialogue with other higher education associations. Frank Mensel became ASACC’s Washington consultant/liaison in 1993 upon his retirement as chief lobbyist of both the American Association of Community Colleges and the Association of Community College Trustees. Before leaving AACC and ACCT, Frank had served informally as public policy advisor from the association’s inception, and he continues formally in that role.
In 1996, Rob Sewell became ASACC’s second executive director, based in Annandale, VA. ASACC was reincorporated in Utah in 1997, and won approval in 1998 by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization (making any contributions that ASACC may receive tax exempt for the donor). In 1998, Phil Clegg became ASACC’s third and current executive director based at Utah Valley University in Orem, UT.
In the beginning bylaws and policy for ASACC were formulated by the Board of Directors, composed entirely of students from member colleges scattered among various regions. The Board drew informal guidance regularly from several volunteer advisors. New Board members were recruited each year at the National Advocacy Conference in Washington, to serve in the ensuing year. When the Association was reincorporated in Utah, the incorporators became by law the Board of Trustees, with responsibility for corporate accountability and fiscal policy. Student officers and the Board of Directors continue to work closely with the Executive Director in guiding the activities of ASACC. Harmony between the two Boards has become a closely guarded tradition.
During the past decade ASACC and its leadership have reached these milestones:
• Formation of the ASACC Institute for Advisor Advancement and Certification, popularly known as the Advisors Network, currently presided over by Catherine Lechmaier of Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee WI.
• The passage of several key pieces of legislation including Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Service Code which provides full deductibility for employers to pay for college relating expenses for employees. Other legislation supported by ASACC included the Direct Student Loan Program, SAFRA, and increases in Pell grants for the neediest students.
• Affiliation with the American Association of Community Colleges as an Affiliate Council.
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