First Look: ACUI Denver 2024 Preconference Events, Keynote Announced

More than just a meeting of minds, the ACUI Annual Conference offers an opportunity to foster meaningful connections, champion sustainability, and create affirming spaces for all. Early registration is now open for the March 24–28, 2024, event, which will be held in the vibrant city of Denver, elevated by the picturesque backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

This energizing, engaging, and educational event will leave you informed and help inspire better, more connective, and more inclusive campus communities back home.

Preconference Events

Several preconference events will be available to provide additional networking, learning, and engagement opportunities. On Sunday, March 24, 2024, from 9 a.m. until noon, attendees are invited to attend “A Precon for the Ages: Generations of Women in ACUI.” This interactive session will provide insights from a panel of women representing all four generations in the field, from Baby Boomers to Generation Z. Co-facilitators Kaitlyn Howarth, assistant director for University Commons operations at William Paterson University, and Jessi Eaton, manager of student life for Purdue University Global, will lead activities aimed to equip attendees with effective communication strategies for connecting with students and colleagues of all age groups

Another event, “Mental Health First Aid,” will offer a CPR-like approach to assisting individuals faced with a mental health or substance abuse-related crisis. Attendees will attend a self-paced module before the conference that takes approximately two hours to complete before participating in the instructor-led portion of the course in Denver. Those who complete the program will earn a renewable three-year certification as a “Mental Health First Aider.”

Keynote Speaker

Temple Grandin, a renowned professor of animal science at Colorado State University known for her autism rights advocacy and animal welfare work, will set the tone for the event as keynote speaker. Grandin will share how diverse cognitive styles offer valuable contributions in terms of team dynamics and problem-solving. In addition to appearances on popular TV programs such as 20/20, Primetime, and Larry King Live, Grandin is an accomplished author known for the New York Times bestsellers “Animals in Translation” and “Visual Thinking.” Notably, Grandin received the honor of being inducted into the 2017 National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

“Honoring Dr. Temple Grandin in this esteemed group of women not only speaks to the power of her research and advocacy but also her impact as a role model for young women everywhere,” said Colorado State University President Tony Frank on February 10, 2017. “Early in her career, her determination helped her break into what was a largely male-dominated animal production industry, and she continues to serve as an advocate for women in the sciences, for young people with autism, and for anyone unwilling to let artificial boundaries stand in the way of their personal and professional success.”

More recently, in 2023, Grandin was inducted into The Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame, joining past inductees such as former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, horror novelist Stephen King, and science fiction writer Kevin J. Anderson.

Landscapes, Recreation, and Cultural Attractions

ACUI 2024 attendees will also have ample opportunity to explore the Centennial State with several scheduled excursions.

On Sunday, March 24, 2024, from 8 a.m. to noon, conference attendees can choose to tour Colorado State University and its Lory Student Center featuring newly remodeled spaces and initiatives, or visit the campus of the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and its University center, which offers event space, multicultural services, the campus newspaper, and more. As a third option, attendees may choose to visit the History Colorado Center from 10 a.m. until noon to explore more than 15 exhibits telling the story of Colorado and the Wild West.

Later, on Sunday afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m., attendees will have the opportunity to walk a quarter-mile from the hotel to visit the Brown Palace. The architectural gem, built in 1892, is known for hosting President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Beatles, John Wayne, and Katherine Hepburn, among other famous figures.

Whether through shared identity, local economic impact, or intergenerational bonds, there’s no denying the power of sports teams in building community. On Tuesday, March 26, ACUI 2024 attendees will get a rare view of the inner workings of Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, home of the Denver Broncos. Located 5,280 feet above sea level, the sports venue presents players with unique challenges of thin, high-altitude air. On Wednesday, March 27, from 3 to 5 p.m., baseball fans will delight in touring Coors Field, the ballpark of the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team, known for its distinctive characteristics and scenic views.

ACUI is also gauging interest in a post-conference skiing and riding trip at Copper Mountain, an affordable and relatively uncrowded destination known for its hospitality, international training and competitions, and a variety of terrain spanning four peaks. If you’re interested in a trip to Copper Mountain, please take some time to fill out an interest form to help the Association finalize pricing information and trip details.


  • Christine Preusler

    Christine Preusler, Managing Editor at The Wyman Company in Gainesville, Florida, writes The Lead for ACUI's biweekly newsletter, The Bulletin. Christine uses more than 15 years of experience in publication management and a master’s in mass communications from the University of Florida to highlight the latest industry news and create thought-provoking content. Contact her via email ( with story ideas and announcements you'd like to see in the newsletter.

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