Honora Shaughnessy—Senior Executive Director of Alumni Relations
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Pam Russell
director of communications
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For Immediate Release
Nov. 15, 2011

Higher Ed State Government Leaders from University System of Georgia, University at Buffalo Named Recipients of 2011 Service Awards in State Government Relations

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Two higher education state government relations professionals who increased funding and grew public support for their institutions through innovative advocacy efforts are the recipients of the 2011 Service Awards in State Government Relations.

Thomas E. Daniel, senior vice chancellor for external affairs for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, is the recipient of the Marvin D. "Swede' Johnson Achievement Award. Ryan McPherson, chief sustainability officer and former associate vice president of government and community relations at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, is the recipient of the Edwin Crawford Award for Innovation.

The two awards are given annually for leadership in state relations and institutional advocacy. They are the only national awards in higher education state relations, a field that encompasses advocacy and outreach efforts on behalf of colleges and universities to governors, state legislators and other key policymakers.

The awards are administered by the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

The winners will be honored Thursday, Dec. 1, during a luncheon at the Higher Education Government Relations Conference in San Diego, Calif.

Tom Daniel has led the University System of Georgia's advocacy efforts with the Georgia General Assembly and other key government agencies for nearly 30 years. During this time, he has successfully developed state legislative strategies that have garnered support for the 35-member institutions that make up the University System of Georgia. These include:

  • Coordinated an effort among four research universities, private sector representatives, the state's general assembly and other groups to establish and fund the Eminent Scholars Endowment Trust Fund, which matches state funds with private funds to create an earmarked endowment for professors and researchers
  • Worked with leaders in the governor's office and the general assembly to create and pass legislation that enabled the university system to issue revenue bonds for capital outlay projects
  • Secured millions in state funds for university facility projects and helped reshape the HOPE scholarship program

Ryan McPherson joined the University at Buffalo in 2002 as assistant vice president for government affairs and advanced through various positions before assuming his current position. One of his key accomplishments has been to build a strong and diverse coalition of businesses, unions, and faith-based and civic institutions in western New York. Other accomplishments:

  • Implemented an integrated advocacy model for UB that built consensus on campus and in the community, moved the institution to communicate more proactively with state government and ultimately resulted in securing the passage of the most comprehensive higher education legislation in a generation in New York state
  • Exemplified the role that the public research university plays in creating economic growth that was then incorporated into the governor's priorities and led to numerous initiatives, including the passage of NYSUNY 2020
  • Played a key leadership role in establishing the university's external affairs division, which resulted in new community partnerships, a broad grassroots strategy to exert political influence on elected officials, more integrated ties to UB's communication's efforts and a more efficient organizational structure

The Marvin D. "Swede" Johnson Award, named for the former director of state government relations at the universities of Arizona and New Mexico, comes with a crystal award. The Edwin Crawford Award, named to honor the 40 years of state government relations work by Edwin Crawford, a former director of public affairs and state relations at CASE, Auburn University, the University of Virginia, Ohio State University, and the University of California System, also comes with a crystal award.

About CASE

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education 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 was founded in 1974 and maintains headquarters in Washington, D.C., with offices in London (CASE Europe, 1994), Singapore (CASE Asia-Pacific, 2007) and Mexico City (CASE América Latina, 2011).

Today, CASE’s membership includes more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in nearly 80 countries around the globe. This makes CASE one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations in terms of institutional membership. CASE serves nearly 78,000 advancement professionals on the staffs of its member institutions and has more than 16,000 professional members on its roster.

To fulfill their missions and to meet both individual and societal needs, colleges, universities and independent schools rely on—and therefore must foster—the good will, active involvement, informed advocacy and enduring support of alumni, donors, prospective students, parents, government officials, community leaders, corporate executives, foundation officers and other external constituencies.

CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with all of these constituencies by providing relevant research, supporting growth in the profession and fostering support of education. CASE also offers a variety of advancement products and services, provides standards and an ethical framework for the profession and works with other organizations to respond to public issues of concern while promoting the importance of education worldwide.

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