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Reporter's Notebook: Highlights from the 2007 OAH Convention: Day 3

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Day 3: Saturday, March 31, 2007

Today was Presidents Day at the OAH. Early in the day the nominating committee announced at the Business Meeting that the next president-elect would be Elaine Tyler May, who teaches history at the University of Minnesota. (Presumably, it's just a coincidence that she happened to be selected the year the convention is meeting in her state.) In the afternoon Richard White, the current president, delivered his much anticipated presidential address and then handed over the gavel to a tiara-adorned Nell Irvin Painter (more on this in a moment). In the evening 7 former presidents of the OAH appeared on a panel commemorating the 100th anniversary of the organization. (Professor May may have wondered what she's gotten herself into. A major theme of the former presidents' talks was how difficult the job sometimes is.)

Just how difficult was made evident at the OAH Business Meeting. Treasurer Robert Cherny reported that it now appears the OAH will not after all end the current fiscal year with a surplus of $149,000, as expected. At best the organization will break even. And the OAH will still owe Indiana University $179,000, which will have to be paid back from the group's endowment fund. OAH members knew moving the 2005 convention from San Francisco to San Jose as a result of the hotel labor dispute would be costly. Now they know how costly.

To cover the shortfall the OAH is raising dues. Members in the highest income group ($100,000 and over) will see their dues go from $130 to $190. Those earning between $80,000 and $99,999 will see theirs go from $130 to $150.

Dues for the group earning between $50,000 to $59,999 will go from $95 to $105.
Dues for the group earning between $60,000 to $69,999 will go from $105 to $115.
Dues for the group earning between $70,000 to $79,999 will go from $115 to $130.

Those earning under $50,000 will see no increase at all.

Not many people showed up at the Business Meeting.
Just 17 people in all.
Counting the OAH photographer.