This is my final message as your CSNS president, and I have considered it a high honor to have served for the past two years, including during our 75th Anniversary Convention. I am continually humbled that I followed CSNS' first president, Art Kelley, who held this office 75 years ago. CSNS' Kelley showed an interest in me as a 10-year-old and allowed me to purchase one of my first coins in his coin shop in St. Louis.
Likewise, CSNS' first secretary, Eric Newman, provided fascinating educational programs at monthly meetings of the Missouri Numismatic Society in the mid-to-late 1950s that I attended as a youngster.
As I reflect, the earliest founders of CSNS influenced many throughout the years, including myself. We are all thankful for their efforts, and for those who came before us in the history of CSNS as we celebrate our diamond anniversary.
I am certain most of us have had numismatic mentors and experiences that encouraged us to enter and remain in our hobby fraternity. All of us can build on these early experiences, learn much from them and pass on that knowledge, interest and enthusiasm to the next generation of collectors.
As I think about the past two years, CSNS, in large measure, has moved forward in a positive manner. Our new and expanded convention format has allowed collectors additional hours of bourse and educational time. Our fall board meetings were moved to geographic areas that were simultaneously holding state shows, thereby allowing members in those areas opportunities to interact with their elected board members.
Our educational programs continued on a challenging upward trajectory and allowed members numerous opportunities to enhance numismatic knowledge at little or no cost. For example, our twice-a-year educational seminars are held throughout our 13-state region. These all-day events offer quality presentations by knowledgeable speakers that are unparalleled, and have to be the best bargain in numismatics, with a registration fee to our members of $10.
The authors grant program received increased funding that gave aspiring numismatic authors an opportunity for financial assistance to bring their writings to publication. The first book published under this program was by my fellow Missourian, Harry Waterson, in 2012. Several other authors have since published and more will follow.
Our Centinel, which you are now reading, continued to garner national recognition from the ANA for its presentation and content. Editor Gerry Tebben continues to work diligently to enhance every quarterly issue to the maximum extent possible and to assure the highest quality content.
During the past two years, increased emphasis was placed on board members staffing CSNS club tables in conjunction with many state coin shows and other major shows within our 13-state region. Staffing these tables enabled us to meet our members, and to share the benefits of CSNS membership. The payoff for these efforts is sometimes immediate, and often times points toward long-range benefits.
Our financial reporting continued on a sound path under the leadership of Treasurer and board member Jack Huggins. Treasurer Huggins' financial reports provided solid indicators of the financial health of our organization. Likewise, additional annual financial information is being reported in The Centinel.
Our CSNS website has improved over the past two years and is easily navigated as the "go to" source for current information about our Society. It is also a highly useful tool for important numismatic information and for links to many numismatic organizations.
I also want to note the positive contributions that our CSNS member coin clubs continually make to enhance our organization and our hobby overall. These member clubs, and their membership, are the first line of defense to assuring the viability of our hobby. Without our member clubs, CSNS would not be the effective organization that it is today.
While I have accentuated many positive things that I am proud we have accomplished, I also want to share with you several areas that remain unfinished (my view of these issues) and may merit additional emphasis in future years.
I established a Surveys and Feedback Committee because I believed that we needed to solicit information from our membership on a systematic basis about how CSNS member needs are being met. This effort was only partially successful, in large part because we need to do more work in capturing a much greater number of member email addresses and in developing unbiased questions that will allow our membership to responsively comment on our activities. We did some survey effort of our dealer convention participants, but we need to do more to expand the scope of this effort. We then need to be very transparent with survey results and institutionalize this survey and feedback process into our operations.
I established a Succession Planning Committee because I thought it was important that we have a fair and transparent process to publicize certain vacancies within CSNS when they occur. Since some are paid positions, I believe we owe the members the opportunity to apply for these paid jobs. The process that I envisioned did not get up and running, and it will be up to the members and future CSNS boards to determine if this idea has continued merit.
The Bylaws Committee worked diligently to develop revised bylaws that would clarify language and incorporate ideas that reflect best practices. While not a high profile activity, governing bylaws are paramount to an effectively operating organization. A framework was left in place that can be built upon to finalize a revised, updated set of organizational bylaws.
I think we have made strides in the area of openness and transparency. However, in my view, this area needs to be diligently tracked by the membership to assure that the governing board is meeting their needs.
This past winter has been especially harsh, not only throughout our Central States region but in many other areas of the nation, as well. When you receive this Centinel, a much-anticipated spring should finally be upon us. In late April, our 75th Anniversary Convention in Schaumburg, IL, will be in full swing. Our milestone event, plus local and state shows throughout our 13-state region, should provide us all with much enjoyment and some much needed "warm-weather numismatics."
While at the convention, I urge you to personally thank our four board members who did not seek reelection; Greg Allen, Bill Brandimore, Don Charters and Don Young. They have worked tirelessly for Central States, and their knowledge and camaraderie will be missed. Likewise, if you get the opportunity, please welcome our new board members who will be elected and announced in mid-April and will be at our 75th Anniversary Convention.
Near the end of our 75th Anniversary Convention, I will pass the baton to your newly elected president, Bruce Perdue. In Bruce's tenure on the CSNS Board, he has been involved in key educational, convention and technology initiatives. He is the CSNS Webmaster and has worked diligently to assure a highly effective, up-to-date website.
Lastly, let me say again that I am always aware that it is a privilege and honor to serve our 75-year-old organization. I will do my best to continue to do so in the years ahead.