"In the Beginning"
WASFAA's Birth as An Association
By: Dan Messersmith
First came the proposal, not an original idea, but indeed an idea
for which time had come.
At a meeting of the Committee on Financial Aid, of the Regional Western
Membership of the College Scholarship Service, on March 10, 1966, the
following proposal was made.
"The Committee discussed the proposal for a Western Regional
Assembly of the CSS. A Regional Assembly would parallel the CSS Assembly
with committee members elected by the Assembly rather than appointed
by the Executive Committee of the Western Regional Membership. The
Primary advantage of such an Assembly would be the formation of a professional
association of financial aid officers which might counter-act a proliferation
of financial aid associations."
It would take an additional twenty-one months for this seed of an
idea to germinate, and one can well imagine the cussin' and discussion
that went on during that period as the idea was not without its critics.
On December 18, 1967, a "call-to-arms" was issued by Dr.
Robert L. McCleery, to organize and "exploratory" meeting
to form "some sort of western regional affiliation." "now!" He
and a number of financial aid officers had met in Reno, Nevada on December
15, 1967 and discussed the pros and cons of a professional organization.
Besides the call to organize, they determined that those best suited
to lead this movement were Dr. H. Carroll Parrish, Mrs. Jean Hunt and
Mr. Robert P Huff. (One would be hard pressed to question the wisdom
of that selection, even without the gift of 20-20 hindsight.)
Parrish, Hunt and Huff were quick to respond and although they had
differences of opinions on the organization issue, they put them aside
for the good of the proposal. A fair test of the need for a professional
organization would not be scuttled by any dissent within this committee.
A letter from Bob Huff went out to all the schools on the CSS service
roster and to as many of the non-CSS affiliates that could be identified
on short notice. The letter was an invitation to attend a breakfast
meeting on January 16, 1968 at the Western Assembly of the College
Scholarship Service in Portland, Oregon. The topic of discussion would
be, "whether a organization should be established or whether the
Western Assembly should be reconstructed and converted into such an
That meeting created more questions than answers as is usual for controversial
topics. Most of the questions revolved around the current and future
role of CSS and the Western Assembly.
"What is the broad role of the Western Assembly? Is it merely
a forum as the present bylaws indicate or is it to have a more positive
and influential role in the formulation of CSS policy? Should CSS serve
as a professional financial aid officers' organization, serving the
needs of individual financial aid officers, charging individual membership
and representing the western states in the National Council of Financial
Aid Officers 3/4 or should it remain an educational organization serving
institutions?" (From a letter by William L Baker to H., Carroll
Using these and other provocative questions to guide them, the CSS
Western Assembly's Committee on Nominations, Membership and Bylaws
set forth to consider, review and resolve the situation.
After months of study, the committee made its recommendation to the
Executive Committee of the Western Assembly on September 9, 1968.
It was proposed that: "...a professional association be developed
independently of the Western Assembly, and that (H. Carroll Parrish)
would prepare a proposed set of bylaws for presentation at the annual
meeting in San Francisco in January."
By November, Parrish and William Baker had teamed up and prepared
not only a proposed constitution but also a comprehensive survey form
with which to test the idea. The constitution and survey were mailed
to schools in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. The
response was quick and positive.
A total of 128 responses were received from approximately 250 sent.
Those favoring establishment out polled the opposition 117 to 10
with 1 undecided. The count approving the proposal constitution was
107 to 2 with 19 undecided. Some of the suggestions and modifications
to be ironed out before the January meeting were:
- Concerns over the authority of the Executive Council.
- Concerns of school representation on the Executive Council.
- Exclusion of Secondary School Personnel.
- Use of the term "Officers" instead of "Administrators."
- It was suggested that the Membership be extended to Arizona and
The survey also provided the proposed association with a name, as
the Western Association of Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA) received
87 votes, while the Pacific Coast Association of Student Financial
Aid Administrators (PACASFAA) gathered only 29. Twelve votes remained
On January 13, 1969, between the hours of 5 PM and 6 PM, in Continental
Ballroom #6 of the San Francisco Hilton, WASFAA was created!
The proposed WASFAA Constitution was adopted, the Constitution of
NASFAA was ratified, and officers and delegates to the National Council
of NASFAA were elected. As newly elected WASFAA President, William
L Baker put it:
"The sixth and final link in the chain of regional professional
associations of financial aid administrators was forged." (NASFAA
with regional associations EASFAA, MASFAA, RMASFAA and SASFAA had already
been formed. After WASFAA, SWASFAA would be added later.)
Rounding out the first WASFAA Executive Council were: H. Carroll Parrish,
President Elect; Sumner B. Gambee, Vice President; Jean P. Hunt, Secretary;
Lewis E. Dibble, Treasurer; Chuck Herndon, delegate; William E. Rasmussen,
delegate; and, Richard T. Wootton, delegate.
Dues were set at $10 per individual membership with half of that amount
going to NASFAA to support its programs.
WASFAA had a strong and energetic beginning, one that provided a standard
of excellence that has been evident in its twenty-seven years of growth