About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
April 22, 2008

CASE Names 2008 Distinguished Service Award Winners

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Council for Advancement and Support of Education has named this year's recipients of its prestigious Distinguished Service Awards, which recognize extraordinary service and leadership in advancement and education.

CASE will honor the five individuals during a July 14 luncheon at its Summit for Advancement Leaders conference in New York City.

CASE President John Lippincott says the award winners exemplify the very best in educational advancement, a profession that supports schools, colleges and universities through work in alumni relations, communications, marketing and fundraising.

"The 2008 CASE Distinguished Service Award winners stand as outstanding examples of the many ways individuals and organizations can support education," Lippincott says. "As volunteers, grantors, mentors, consultants and professionals, they commit their time, talent and resources to help educational institutions grow and thrive. We pay tribute to their commitment, passion and vision."

The five 2008 Distinguished Service Award winners are:

  • E. Burr Gibson, executive chair, Marts & Lundy. Gibson is the recipient of the CASE Lifetime Achievement Award. For more than 60 years, Gibson has been a key figure in the advancement profession-starting with his work as a development officer with the March of Dimes in the late 1940s to his current position at Marts & Lundy, a leading consulting firm in philanthropy where he has worked for more than 40 years. During this time, Gibson has successfully guided innumerable capital campaigns, served as mentor to hundreds of young professionals, and encouraged and given direction to seasoned staff and colleagues. Many credit Gibson with shaping advancement into the respected profession it is today. According to nominator Robert Sweeney, senior vice president for development and public affairs at the University of Virginia: "Burr Gibson represents the best of our profession. He understands that education is the link between personal freedom and a lasting democracy and always puts the interest of the institutions he serves before his own."
  • Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Gregorian is the recipient of the James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education. Gregorian began his distinguished career teaching European and Middle Eastern history at San Francisco State College and later at UCLA and the University of Texas. In 1972, he was appointed professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and became founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science two years later. In 1978, Gregorian was named the 23rd provost of the university, a post he held until 1981 when he was appointed president of the New York Public Library, which he was instrumental in revitalizing. Gregorian later served as president of Brown University and is credited with diversifying the university's curriculum and faculty, helping to double the undergraduate scholarship fund, and completing one of the most successful capital campaigns in the university's history. Richard Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and governor of South Carolina, says Gregorian has "devoted his personal and professional life to helping the citizens of the United States and of the world become educated men and women who can then pass on what they have learned and what they have struggled to achieve to future generations."
  • William E. Skelton, 1940 graduate of Virginia Tech. Skelton is the recipient of the Ernest T. Stewart Award for Alumni Volunteer Involvement. This award is the highest honor CASE gives to an alumni volunteer. Skelton has dedicated nearly 70 years to serving Virginia Tech and the surrounding community in various roles, including volunteer fundraiser, reunion organizer, leadership board member and campaign chair. Skelton led the effort to build an alumni conference center at Virginia Tech, serving as chair of a committee that oversaw the planning, design and fundraising for the $45 million center, which included an attached hotel. The complex was named the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference in recognition of his service to the university. According to nominator Elizabeth Flanagan, vice president for development and university relations, at Virginia Tech: "No other person affiliated with the university has touched the lives of more alumni and friends of Virginia Tech than Dr. William E. Skelton. Dr. Skelton personifies the motto of Virginia Tech: ‘Ut Prosim-That I May Serve."
  • April L. Harris, associate vice president for advancement, the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Harris is the recipient of the Frank L. Ashmore Award for Service to CASE and the Advancement Profession, which recognizes exceptional volunteers to CASE and advancement. Harris is a long-time CASE volunteer and prominent authority in special event planning as well as academic protocol and academic ceremonies in higher education. For more than 30 years, she has shared her expertise with advancement professionals in the U.S. and abroad as a speaker at various CASE conferences and through her work as a district board member and author of numerous books. Special Events: Planning for Success, published by CASE in 1988, called attention to this area for the first time and helped spotlight its value in advancement. Libba Andrews, associate director of the Mississippi State University Alumni Association, says, "April is passionate about our profession and is committed to sharing her expertise for the greater good of all of advancement. Her reach and influence are vast."
  • Mary Kay McPhee, volunteer. McPhee is the recipient of the Distinguished Friend of Education Award, which honors individuals whose volunteer service has helped to advance education at a CASE member institution from which the recipient is not a graduate. For nearly 40 years, McPhee has been a strong supporter of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and has served as a volunteer leader on a number of key initiatives that have raised more than $5.6 million in financial assistance to thousands of students. This includes the Herman Johnson African-American Scholarship Fund, which has provided awards to more than 150 students from nine counties, and Crescendo!, an annual gala that supports the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. She has also led major efforts on behalf of women at the university. According to nominators Guy Bailey, UMKC chancellor, and Adele Hall, community volunteer, "Her true gift as a prolific volunteer is her ability to impact the big picture so that it will lead to direct and enriching consequences for the individual."

About CASE

CASE believes in advancing education to transform lives and society. As a global nonprofit membership association of educational institutions, CASE helps develop the communities of professional practice that build institutional resilience and success in challenging times. The communities include staff engaged in alumni relations, fundraising, marketing, student recruitment, stakeholder engagement, crisis communications and government relations. CASE is volunteer-led and uses the intellectual capital of senior practitioners to build capacity and capability across the world.

CASE has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and Mexico City. Member institutions include more than 3,700 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries. CASE serves nearly 88,000 practitioners. For more information about CASE, please visit www.case.org.