A Brief History
The Southeastern Association of Housing Officers (SEAHO) draws its open membership from the ten southeastern states of the United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia). The purpose of the Association as stated in the Association's Constitution, Article II, is: To provide an opportunity to college and university housing officers for personal and professional growth through attendance at an annual conference and to facilitate an exchange of ideas and dialogue with professional Colleagues.
As a professional association, SEAHO strives to fulfill its purpose through its:
- Members, who give the Association strength and continuity through their unselfish contributions of time and energy;
- Annual conference, which provides for an exchange of ideas and networking opportunities;
- Governing Council, which provides leadership and direction to the Association;
- SEAHO REPORT, a newsletter which provides a forum for communication of ideas and news of interest to members.
SEAHO has served the region's college and university housing profession for over twenty-five years. Through its informal structure, affordable meetings and promotion of professional relationships, the Association has continuously offered opportunities for housing officers to be involved professionally and to grow personally as they serve the living-learning needs of their students.
In 1956, a few years after the inaugural meeting of the Association of College and University Housing Officers (ACUHO), Harold Riker of the University of Florida, Edith McCollum of Florida State University and John Storey of the University of Georgia met informally to discuss issues they faced in directing student housing on their respective campuses. During this meeting, they briefly discussed the need to meet with other housing officials in the southeast to share ideas about their work.
However, it was to be several years before the idea of such a meeting would become a reality.
During the 1964 ACUHO conference at the University of Michigan, several Housing Directors from the southeast including Harold Riker, John Storey, Donald R. Moore of Emory University and Raymond C. King of the University of South Florida discussed the idea of forming a regional association of housing officers from colleges and universities in the southeastern United States. Donald R. Moore, Director of Housing at Emory University, offered to host the first meeting of the proposed organization at Emory in the spring of 1965.
Over 100 housing officers representing 50 colleges and universities attended the First Annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Housing Officers at Emory University. Host Chair Donald R. Moore reported an enthusiastic response to the proposed formation of a regional association to provide an opportunity for college and university housing officers to discuss ideas and mutual concerns. The theme of this inaugural meeting was "Today's Challenges-Tomorrow's Direction". The conference included presentations on several important topics including the results of a survey on housing costs in the Southeast.
Malcom Gray, Director of Housing at Mississippi State University, made a motion at the business meeting to adopt SEAHO as the official name of the new organization. The motion was seconded by John Storey from the University of Georgia and unanimously approved by those in attendance.
Since the day, SEAHO has had a long, productive history. It has taken a separate booklet to document this history, but below are some of the highlights of this organization:
Raymond C. King developed the first SEAHO newsletter in February 1966 as a means of developing interest in the conference. The first institutional displays were in 1967 at the University of Georgia where a room was reserved for participants to share brochures, handbooks, surveys, and other materials used on their respective campus In 1969 the first vendor exhibit program was offered at the Baton Rogue (Host: LSU) conference; 12 vendors participated. With the University of Kentucky as the host in 1970, the format of the conference was expanded to three days. Food service programs were first offered in 1971 at Gainesville (Host: University of Florida). The 1972 conference in Mobile as hosted by the University of South Alabama marked several significant changes for SEAHO: first, the membership voted to adopt an official seal; second, a proposed constitution was offered but was ruled against by members: Third, Jim Grimm introduced the concept of state representatives; and finally, a placement service was offered under the direction of Chuck Lynch of the University of Miami. In 1974, Ken Stoner of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville revitalized the newsletter. In 1974, SEAHO members voted to accept an organizational structure that had been proposed resulting in SEAHO becoming a more formal organization. Bob Steward first mentioned the mythical SEAHO steed, Two-Step, and a tradition was born in 1978 Chuck Hulick began the SEAHO service awards program in 1979. Lin Rose of James Madison University in developed -The first SEAHO brochure 1979. The 1980 conference hosted by Tulane University in New Orleans also gave us many firsts: door prizes were first given away, the concept of SEAHO report state editors was introduced, and the film library program was begun. The Charles Beene Memorial Service Award was created at the 1982 meeting in Biloxi. The constitution was adopted in 1983.
Having begun as an informal meeting of housing officers gathering for one day to share concerns and ideas, SEAHO developed into a vibrant professional association responding to the changing needs of today's housing officer. While informality of organization has been a hallmark of SEAHO's early evolution, a review of the Association's history clearly shows how organizational structure has developed in response to the changing needs of the membership and the complexities of the profession. SEAHO today stands out as one of the most fiscally sound and service oriented regional housing associations in the United States. The continued commitment and voluntary service of its members will set the stage and write the script of the next 25 years. May we look back in the year 2015 with pride and satisfaction.
(Taken from: SEAHO: The First Twenty-Five Years, 1965-1989 written by Dr. Gene Luna, 1989)