About CASE

Pam Russell
Senior Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
May 16, 2017

CASE Names 2017 Distinguished Service Award Winners

WASHINGTON, DC — The Council for Advancement and Support of Education has announced the 2017 recipients of its Distinguished Service Awards. The awards honor individuals and organizations for extraordinary service in education and the field of educational advancement, which includes alumni relations, fundraising, communications and marketing.

CASE will recognize seven recipients at a luncheon on Monday, July 17, 2017, in conjunction with the CASE Summit for Leaders in Advancement in San Francisco.

The 2017 CASE Distinguished Service Award winners are:

  • Jerry Davis, recipient of the E. Burr Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award. With 40 years of service, Davis is one of the longest-serving college presidents in the United States. He served as president of Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky from 1977 to 1988 and is now president of College of the Ozarks in Missouri. Throughout his career as an institutional leader, Davis has had a significant impact on the field of advancement, especially in fundraising. Under his leadership, Alice Lloyd raised almost $18 million, built 15 buildings and realized a capital asset growth of 253 percent-from $4.7 million to $16.8 million. And during his nearly 30 years at the College of the Ozarks, he has transformed the college into a debt-free institution with a $500 million endowment. In 2009, he established the College of the Ozarks' Patriotic Education Travel Program, which has so far paired 324 students with 154 war veterans for trips to battlefields around the world where the veterans once fought. The college funds these trips, and no cost is passed to the students or veterans. He is widely respected for being a visionary who also cares about the details. The E. Burr Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award is supported by a generous contribution from the consulting firm Marts & Lundy.
  • T. Denny Sanford, recipient of the James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education. Sanford is chair and CEO of United National Corp., and owner and founder of First Premier Bank. During the past two decades, Sanford has given more than $1 billion to charitable causes. His support of various education initiatives have impacted hundreds of thousands of lives, particularly in his native South Dakota, where he has gifted millions of dollars to the state's public institutions. This includes a $70 million gift in 2006 to help turn South Dakota's Homestake Mine into a deep underground lab. The Sanford Underground Research Facility allows students from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Black Hills State University and the University of South Dakota to gain a hands-on research experience.
  • Ellen Sullivan, recipient of the John Lippincott Award for Global Advancement and Support of Education. Sullivan most recently served as executive director of international advancement at Boston College, and has been appointed director of international advancement at Phillips Academy as of June 1. She has worked in university advancement for almost 20 years and has been an active member of CASE since 1998. Throughout her career, Sullivan has shared her fundraising expertise by volunteering as a faculty member at conferences across six continents and serving as a trustee on the CASE board, chair and vice chair of its international committee and co-chair of the CASE International Advancement conference for three years . She has also played a key role in elevating the advancement profession's profile in Latin America; most notably, she secured funding to help underwrite early operations in the region. In addition, Sullivan was a primary catalyst in maintaining and advancing CASE's engagement efforts in Africa.
  • Thomas C. Tillar, recipient of the Frank L. Ashmore Award for Service to CASE and the Advancement Profession. Tillar is special assistant to the dean at the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, his alma mater. He began his career in 1971 at Virginia Tech, advancing to the position of vice president of alumni relations in 1995. During his 40-year career in alumni relations, Tillar instituted groundbreaking organizational changes, including integrating the alumni association into central administration, transitioning the annual fund into a centralized university development, opening a satellite office in Washington, D.C., and shifting alumni chapters from a dues-based system. Throughout this time, he was active in advancing the alumni relations profession at institutions and serving as a mentor, role model and member of the CASE Commission on Alumni Relations.
  • Lawrence Bonchek, M.D., recipient of the Distinguished Friend of Education Award. A cardiothoracic surgeon for more than 50 years, Boncheck invented two commercially marketed surgical medical devices. His dedication to Pennsylvania's Franklin & Marshall College began in 1987. Since then, he has been an active volunteer and philanthropic leader of the institution. Bonchek served as a trustee of the board, and later, as board chair from 2010 to 2016. In 2003, he was inducted into the Founders Society for a $1 million gift, and his support has contributed to scholarships, academic buildings and institutes. In addition, Bonchek helped develop a residential life program and an institutional talent strategy for student recruitment that has resulted in both robust admission growth and a significantly stronger academic profile of the college.
  • John and Mary Lou Barter, recipients of the Ernest T. Stewart Award for Alumni Volunteer Involvement. John and Mary Lou Barter have served Alabama's Spring Hill College as trustees, administrators, and the College's most significant living donors. Together, they boast a combined 28 years of service as members of the Spring Hill College Board of Trustees. Mr. Barter, former president of AlliedSignal Automotive, served as chair of the board from 1998 to 2002, and Mrs. Barter co-chaired several subcommittees and presidential search committees during her tenure. Throughout the institution's most economically challenging years, the couple guided the College to financial stability by dedicating 19 months to hiring a new president, reforming the College's budget, instilling best practices, and eliminating $27 million in debt through a critical strategic initiative. The Barters dedicated these 19 months of time, talent, and treasure entirely pro bono, including their weekly commutes to and from their home in Charleston, SC.

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.