This June, the Council for Advancement & Support of Education (CASE) announced the winners of its 2012 Circle of Excellence Awards. There were 86 entries from schools, colleges, and universities around the country; 26 of them in the category of “Annual Giving Programs”. St. Mark’s received the CASE Circle of Excellence Gold Award for its VI Form Pledge Project, begun in 2011. St. Mark’s tied with Vassar College in New York.
Throughout the spring, beginning with an ice cream social in the new Lion’s Den, VI Formers were invited to take part in the development process: pledging for the future if they wanted, but above all staying connected as future alumni/ae. There were gifts and prizes, and a trip to a Red Sox game. Funds from a substantial percentage of the senior class were raised toward a Class Gift. In its very first year (2011) the program attained an impressive 60% participation, with 34 5-year pledges.
Annual Fund Director Stephanie Katz had words of praise for those of her Alumni/Development Team who were chiefly responsible for the development and implementation of the VI Form Pledge Project. “Many thanks to Melissa Anderson and Christine Kurtz for their great work,” said Katz at the time of the CASE announcement.
Founded in 1974 as the result of a merger between the American Alumni Council and the American College Public Relations Association, CASE is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas. CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education. St. Mark’s last received a CASE Circle of Excellence Award in 2002.
“This is a terrific example of partnership between talented staff and committed volunteers," says Executive Director of Development Kirk Swenson. "It is wonderful affirmation of our work to be singled-out for recognition by our professional organization. I can’t help but feel a swell of pride at this honor when we consider the many fine schools and programs around the world that were considered.”