Nakama History

Nakama (pronounced naw-KAH-maw) is a
Japanese word meaning:

  1. a group 
  2. circle of friends   
  3. partner   
  4. associate   
  5. Nakama (pl, pn, sur)

The Nakama tradition began in 1989 under the leadership of then Vice President and Director of Student Affairs, Saunie Taylor. Following the extraordinary events of 1987 in which three key university personnel were tragically killed in an aircraft accident, the Division of Student Affairs perceived a need to pull together.

Jack Smith, Director of Student Activities, suggested the Division develop a conference utilizing its own people as resources for sharing ideas and for presenting to each other. Thus, Nakama was conceived and developed by a committee chaired by Jack Smith to embody this concept. Thanks also go to Renee Murray (Warren) for coming up with the Nakama theme and logo.

Nakama invites every member within the Division to reconnect, rejuvenate, and share a common experience. The goals of Nakama are to rekindle the personal and professional spirit of its members, build a sense of community, and offer an opportunity to learn from one another.

Nakama accomplishes its goals by focusing on:

  • the staff member as an individual through personal development and growth
  • the staff member as an employee through job skill development, as well as an exploration of university and division-wide issues in higher education.
  • the staff as a division through interpersonal and interoffice communication