Just over 2,000 members of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) gathered in a ballroom at the Orlando World Center Marriott in late January to hear Gladys Knight deliver an inspiring keynote address (in words and song) to open MPI's 1998 Professional Education Congress. And thanks to an opening night reception sponsored by Walt Disney World--complete with big-screen televisions--no one missed the Super Bowl, either, played on the same day the conference opened.

News from MPI: * MPI recently chartered the Aloha Chapter, its 59th, encompassing the entire state of Hawaii. Delia Chang, CMP, president of ProMeet in Honolulu was elected its first president.

* Michigan State University (MSU) has become MPI's academic partner for the Certification in Meeting Management (CMM) program. The curriculum will be developed by MSU faculty along with MPI staff and volunteers. A five-day residential program will be offered at the Kellogg School on MSU's East Lansing campus. Candidates who pass a subsequent test will achieve certification. The first course, to be held in September, will cost $995, plus $250 to take the test.

* The partnership between MPI and the Disney Institute is being extended to the chapters. Anna Lee Chabot, CMP, president of MPI, and head, meetings and assemblies section, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, in Ottawa, announced that The Disney Keys to Meetings Success, an exclusive, three-hour seminar led by Disney Institute facilitators, will be making its way to MPI chapters following its introduction to MPI chapter education chairs in May.

* Bring the kids along and retain your peace of mind at MPI's World Education Congress in San Diego in July. For the first time, MPI is offering childcare, to be provided by the nationally recognized organization KiddieCorp., whose client list includes the American Society of Association Executives and the American Academy of Pediatrics.