This July, Marist College hosted the 20th anniversary OACAC conference (short for Overseas Association for College Admission Counseling), which has previously been held at elite universities such as Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Duke. The three-day conference provides an opportunity for high school guidance counselors and college admissions officers from around the world to network, attend educational development workshops, and discuss important issues in relation to the college admissions process. And it’s no small feat to be selected. “It’s almost like an Olympic bidding process,” jokes Sean Kaylor, vice president for enrollment management at Marist. Host institutions must submit a 15-20 page proposal to the association, outlining why it wants to host, the extent to which the college has internationalized its campus, and how its facilities can accommodate guests (80 percent of conference attendees usually stay on-site).
But despite the competition and difficult application process, Marist’s application was accepted — and with 1,050 attendees from over 80 countries, this year’s meeting was the largest in the program’s extensive history. Aside from the many business-related events, Marist hosted a flag ceremony (which included the national flags from all 80-plus countries), an around-the-world festival dinner (catered by the Culinary Institute of America), and visits to Mohonk Mountain House, Vassar College, the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, and other exciting Valley locales. “We thought, what better way to give the attendees an opportunity to get to know the Hudson River Valley than by sending them out into the community,” says Kaylor. The grand finale? Fireworks on the river viewed from the Walkway Over the Hudson, complete with those special national flags to make it feel a bit like home.