UMES fundraising receives national accolades

  • Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    CASE sealPRINCESS ANNE - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is among a select group of colleges that has received national recognition for superior improvement in fundraising.

    The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) named UMES a Circle of Excellence Educational Fundraising Award winner for 2012.

    "The Circle of Excellence awards are the Oscars of higher education fundraising," said Gains Hawkins, UMES vice president for institutional advancement. "The award is a tribute to the hard, smart work by the UMES Institutional Advancement staff and the commitment to philanthropy by the campus community."

    Only 65 four-year institutions were honored by the Washington-based organization that bills itself as "the leading resource for … fundraising, marketing and related (educational) activities." Among the universities also receiving CASE awards were Duke, Princeton, Texas and UCLA.

    "I have witnessed a burgeoning of philanthropic activity at UMES during my six years at the University System of Maryland Foundation, due in large part to outstanding and committed leadership and volunteers," said Leonard Raley, president and chief executive office of the USM Foundation.

    UMES received an Overall Improvement Award based on judges' analysis of three years of data the university routinely provides the independent Council for Aid to Education, which conducts an annual survey to gauge "voluntary support of education."

    "Your institution is one of an exceptional group … recognized either for overall performance or overall improvement in fundraising," said Brian Flahaven, CASE's recognition program director.

    UMES completed a seven-year capital campaign a year ago in which it surpassed an announced goal of $14 million by almost $1 million. Much of the money is being used to support and expand scholarships.

    "Gains and his team have built a remarkable record, and this award is a wonderful capstone to Gains' distinguished career. As someone who has judged these national awards for a decade, I can attest to the rigor and high standards applied to this "blind judging" process.  The UMES community should truly be proud of this accomplishment," Raley said. 

    Hawkins is retiring from UMES later this month after nine years of service. He has spent 33 years in Maryland higher education communications and fundraising.

    UMES was the lone historically black institution among colleges and universities recognized by CASE. The Naval Academy was the only other college in Maryland that won a 2012 CASE award.

    "This is an excellent achievement," UMES President Juliette B. Bell said. "Gains and the Institutional Advancement team have demonstrated that hard work pays off.  They have set the bar high for all of us at UMES as we continue our move from excellence to eminence."

    UMES reached its goal in spite of a historic downturn in the nation's economy that occurred midway through the campaign.

    The CASE awards program is data-driven, and slightly more than 1,000 institutions were eligible for recognition. Among the factors judges weigh were patterns of growth in total support over three years, what contributed to the total support and the pattern of donor growth among alumni as well as other donors.

    Institutions are "evaluated within appropriate peer groups," CASE notes.

    UMES won its award in the "Public Comprehensive Institutions" category, which also included such honorees as Appalachian State in North Carolina, Boise State and San Jose State.

    Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2x