About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
Dec. 7, 2010

Higher Education State Government Relations Leaders Honored

Innovative Contributions Lead to Increased State Funding, Alumni Support

AUSTIN, Texas-A "model for civil advocacy" and an innovator who is "sparking a renaissance of governmental advocacy and engagement" are the 2010 recipients of the Marvin D. "Swede" Johnson Achievement Award and the Edwin Crawford Award for Innovation, respectively.

Richard Hudson and Erin CowserRichard Hudson, vice chancellor for government and community relations at the University of Arkansas, is the recipient of the Marvin D. "Swede" Johnson award, and Erin Cowser, executive director of public and governmental affairs at Southeastern Louisiana University, is the recipient of the Edwin Crawford award.

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 Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The Johnson Award is sponsored by Capitol Impact, and the Crawford Award is sponsored by the League of California Community Colleges.

The winners received their awards Dec. 2 during the 2010 Higher Education Government Relations Conference sponsored by the four associations at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas.

Richard Hudson has been in government relations for 30 years. During this time, he has initiated numerous programs and services that have benefited higher education in Arkansas, including the University of Arkansas Legislative Advocacy Network featuring more than 500 alumni. He also established a consortium of government relations professionals in the Southeastern Conference that has enhanced the effectiveness of all SEC members.

Yet Hudson says his role in specific projects "plays second fiddle to the more general role I've taken on-connecting legislators with resources and expertise, supporting them in their service to Arkansas and showcasing the U of A as a valuable asset to our state."

Erin Cowser has been with Southeastern Louisiana University since 2007. During this time, she has been a "dynamic leader and tenacious advocate," according to nominator Kathy Pittman, who says Cowser's initiative, leadership and vision have "energized alumni and supporters alike."

Cowser says she enjoys reinventing the format of tried-and-true legislative events. Key projects under her leadership are Southern Nights, an event with legislators that has evolved from a social affair to one-on-one advocacy about specific legislation and policies, and the Hammond Chamber Hobnob, a luncheon that provides a platform for the business community and other constituents to tell legislators about their priorities. As a supplement to face-to-face meetings, Cowser launched the ROAR (Reach Out - Advocate - Rally) Network, which provides online information about Southeastern's government affairs efforts.

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 cash prize and 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 cash prize and a crystal award.

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.

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