According to our esteemed, recently retired Senior Member*, Harold Rood, The Mountain-Plains Philosophy Conference is perhaps best thought of as an "un-conference." We have no budget, no permanent home, and a sort of loosely assembled crew of volunteers who take on the task of making it all work out every year. Our policies are un-fixed and our agenda is flexible.
Since 1947, the conference has met in a range of locations, most of them in the western and midwestern US. We try, when possible, to alternate between mountain and plains geography; our choice of location, though, mostly depends on which institution is kind enough to host us.
Over the years, we've had the great fortune to have some great papers and a number of notable keynote speakers. We've had conferences organized around a specific theme on occasion, but most of the time the Mountain-Plains experience is about openness -- we typically accept papers from all areas of philosophical concern, and try to put together the richest and most varied program we can.
A typical meeting of the conference takes place from Thursday afternoon/evening through Saturday morning, with papers arranged in single rather than concurrent sessions; one never has to miss a paper! The institutional host is responsible for providing the meeting space, arranging the keynote speaker, and (we hope!) setting up lodging arrangements and any banquet or other entertainment they see fit to offer. All registration fees and banquet fees are set by the host institution and go to cover their costs.
While members of the Executive Committee have all, at one point or another, served as institutional hosts and/or program chairs, we are always happy to take volunteers who are willing to shoulder these tasks. Committee members are typically available to assist with arrangements, programming, advice, and reading/rating submissions.
Dave Beisecker (UNLV) has undertaken to construct a history of the conference. He has obtained a great deal of information from Paul Gery (retired professor and emeritus member of the committee), but we are still missing some of the history. We’d welcome you to look at what we have, and if you can supply what we’re missing, do send him an email! We recently discovered, quite by accident (thanks to Prof. Rood) that the Mountain-Plains Philosophy Conference endorsed the American Association of University Professors' 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure in 1966 (as "the Mountain-Plains Philosophical Conference"). Do you have any other stories to share?
*Senior because he's been doing this by far longer than anyone else!