In 1973, the year I got my PhD and joined the Linguistics Department at the University of Michigan, we hosted the Linguistic Society of America's Summer Linguistic Institute.
The Institute is sort of a summer camp for linguists, held at a different university every year (nowadays only in odd-numbered years), where courses on very specialized subjects and interesting languages, the newest theories, the hottest papers, and the most famous guest speakers, are all available for those interested, and many are. Every linguist wants to attend at some point; a lot of us make it once, or even more often. (The '73 Institute turned out to be the last Summer Institute at Michigan for 40 years, though UM is hosting the 2013 Institute).
I was on the Institute faculty in 1973, with a long list of famous people -- well, "famous" for a linguist, anyway -- most of whom I met there for the first time; and a long list of other people who weren't all that famous at the time, but got famouser later. There were a lot of parties, and informal gatherings, and those of us faculty who did a lot of this came to call them "committee meetings". So the Comittee is not new to linguistic fun.
In time, it became established wisdom that this was "The Permanent Ad Hoc Committee", a name which we all liked because it has such a "Wait. What?" sense. One of the things (besides party and talk shop) that the Ad Hoc Committee did at the '73 Institute was to organize, sponsor, and distribute the Ad Hoc Packet, a coursepack (as we would call it now, but this was an unknown concept in 1973) of all the most interesting and exciting papers that were circulating as underground samizdaţ. So the Committee is not new to publishing.
In later time, after the Institute had packed its tenses and left, a group of us UM Ling faculty formed the habit of getting together with grad students (and interested undergraduates, of whom there were some around even then) at 4 PM on Friday afternoon at a local watering hole. These, too, were called meetings of The Permanent Ad Hoc Committee. They had a very beneficial effect on departmental morale and productivity. So the Comittee is not new to educational innovation.
This was the UM custom until around the mid-1980s or so. The Permanent Ad Hoc Committee resurged now and then, for a while, and it managed to sponsor a social reception during the 2003 Linguistics Alumni Reunion.
Executive Summary: The Permanent Ad Hoc Committee is an organization which exists, with as much reality as any linguistic theory, at any time and any place where any people are having fun figuring things out about language. Hence this stuff.
-- John Lawler, April Fools' Eve 2012.