AU’s Portner installed as president of National Association of College Auxiliary Services

ASHLAND, Ohio – Matthew Portner, the executive director of auxiliary services at Ashland University, has been inaugurated as president of the Board of Directors of the National Association of College Auxiliary Services, the organization announced this week.

Portner, a 30-year employee of Ashland, heads a number of the University’s non-academic segments, including student dining, the campus store, catering and conference services and housing options for short-term and long-term stays. He directs all aspects of those service departments and is responsible for a $12 million budget and more than 300 employees.

Portner began his career at Ashland as a graduate assistant, coordinating the recycling program while earning a master’s degree in education. From emptying the bins to educating staff and students as the environmental specialist, he quickly worked his way up the ladder through business services. He was the assistant bookstore manager, then served as the director of the campus store for four years and in January 2003, was promoted to director of auxiliary services, a role he held for 16 years until another promotion into his current position.

In addition, Portner has served as an adjunct professor during his tenure at Ashland, teaching business and education classes in grant writing, hospitality management and social responsibility and business ethics, among others.

Portner has been an active member of NACAS since becoming Ashland’s director of auxiliary services. He has taken advantage of countless opportunities through the organization, including volunteering on many committees and boards, eventually being nominated for the NACAS Board of Directors president’s track.

“My varied roles in auxiliary services have enabled me to pull a great deal of value from NACAS membership,” stated Portner. “Especially during the past two years, my connections to folks in other institutions through NACAS have proven invaluable.”

For 2022, Portner is looking forward to helping CEO Matt Marcial define the direction of NACAS, and make sure that the organization has the tools to be successful.

“This year presents exciting possibilities for members of NACAS,” said Portner. “I look forward to integrating in-person events back into our schedules and seeing my colleagues face to face safely. NACAS is a support structure for every member institution and continuing to share ideas and strategy with colleagues is a top priority as we emerge from the pandemic.”

NACAS, founded in 1969, is the largest auxiliary and ancillary services support organization serving higher education. A professional trade association, it supports the non-academic side of higher education responsible for generating business through a diverse array of services that students need and value.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.