2021 Joint Conference with WACRAO

November 1-5, 2021

Conference Fee: Free

Location: Virtual (Zoom)

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View the Full Program or Schedule at a glance

Keynote Speaker

Nicole Phillips

Nicole Phillips Headshot

Nicole Phillips has been favored by Oprah AND won a car on The Price is Right! But her favorite joy comes from spreading the message of the transformative power of kindness. She hosts NPR’s The Kindness Podcast, has written 4 books and wrote The Forum’s Kindness is Contagious column for 10 years. Nicole shares her perspective on resilience when she speaks about being the flower girl in her mom’s prison chapel wedding and when being diagnosed with breast cancer on her 40th birthday. She enjoys speaking at conferences, events, and hosting professional development workshops all over the country. 

Nicole has her Broadcast Journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin and has worked as a television anchor and reporter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin and Fargo, North Dakota. As Miss Wisconsin 1997, she spent the year touring the state talking to kids and adults about overcoming crisis. Nicole lives in Aberdeen, South Dakota, has three children and is married to her childhood crush, Saul Phillips. Go Badgers!

 Closing Keynote Speaker

Prakash Mathew

Prakash Mathew served as the Vice President for Student Affairs at North Dakota State University (NDSU) from 2006-2014. He retired after 38 years of service in student affairs of which 34 of those years was at NDSU and 4 years at Mankato State University. Mathew held positions including Hall Director, Director of Residence Life, Associate Dean and Dean of Student Life and Vice President of Student Affairs. He currently serves as Vice President Emeritus for Student Affairs. As the Vice President, he oversaw 23 departments and programs, over 370 staff and 850 graduate and undergraduate student employees and advocated on behalf of over 14,500 students.  Prakash played a key role in bringing student issues and concerns to the forefront. Throughout his career and even into retirement students remain the central focus of his work. Upon his retirement in July of 2014, he served as the Interim Director of Athletics at NDSU.

He provided leadership in the Student Affairs profession at the state, regional, and national levels. He served NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) and the student affairs profession as a member of the NASPA Foundation, the National Board of Directors, and a regional Vice President. He also served on the Executive Committee for the Council of Student Affairs for APLU (Association of Public and Land-grant Universities).

Mathew has received numerous awards from national, regional, and local organizations. These awards include NDSU Athletics Bison Impact Award in 2015, NASPA Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a Dean in 2015, NASPA James J. Rhatigan Outstanding Dean Award in 2014, the NASPA “Pillar of the Profession” in 2009, the NASPA Region IV West Distinguished Service Award in 2009, the Bill Sweet Distinguished Service Award in 2000 and the NDSU Blue Key Doctor of Service Award in 1996. Mathew played an active role in Bison athletics by serving as the Chair of the NCAA transition to Division-1 Athletics certification process in 2006. Mathew has made numerous presentations in the areas of leadership, servant leadership, organizational change, and planning processes.

Mathew earned a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Rural Sociology from Allahabad Agricultural Institute in India and his Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance from NDSU in 1976. 

Prakash continues to be active in many organizations and activities in the state and the region. In the Fargo-Moorhead community, Prakash is actively involved with his church and supports many philanthropic causes.  He is currently serving on the Thrivent Northland Region Board of Directors and the Renaissance Zone Authority for the city of Fargo. He has provided leadership in many organizations including serving as past president of the Fargo Public Library.

Prakash has written a book titled “We Are Called…To Do The Right Thing” which was published in March 2021. The book is filled with personal accounts and stories from his childhood experiences, incredible values and principles taught by his parents, as well as his own insights and lessons he learned during his career. Most recently, Prakash was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from North Dakota State University.

Prakash is married to his wife, Jane, and is the proud parent of two sons, Trevor and daughter in-law Emily, and Christopher and stepfather to Natalie and her husband Andy, and Evan and his partner, Cassie. He is the extremely proud grandpa (Appa) to Isabelle and Zara.               


NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness


Web Platform: Zoom

We will host sessions using Zoom for our virtual conference. An account is needed to join the meetings. If you do not have a Zoom account you may create one for free. Meeting links will be sent to members leading up to the conference.
Contact admin@umacrao.org with questions and feedback.


2020 Annual Conference