Conferences & Training
Faculty - Summer Institute in Alumni Relations

Institute Chair

J Thomas Forbes

J T. Forbes
CEO, Alumni Association
Indiana University

J T. Forbes is the chief executive officer of the Indiana University Alumni Association. He also serves as president of the Council of Alumni Association Executives Board of Directors, and past chairperson of the Big Ten Alumni Chief Executive Officers.

An experienced higher education leader, Forbes served in communications, marketing, public affairs and government relations roles at IU and Michigan State University and provided consulting on these issues for other major public research and land grant colleges. Outside of higher education, he served as the first director of state government relations for Cummins, Inc., the principal private sector staff leader for the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum, the first policy analyst for the Indiana Senate, and as a founding member of the Indiana Commission on Community Service.

As a student, he was president of the student body on Indiana University's Bloomington campus, founded the All University Student Assembly and later served as a trustee of Indiana University and a founding member of the Philanthropic Studies Society on Indiana University's Indianapolis campus.


Brandon Buzbee

Brandon Buzbee
Associate Vice Chancellor of Global Networks
University of Denver

Brandon Buzbee joined the University of Denver as University Advancement's associate vice chancellor for global networks in November 2015 . In this role at DU, he is responsible for setting the vision for, and overseeing the execution of, leadership and annual giving, industry engagement, career and professional development services and university-wide alumni engagement.

Prior to his role at the University of Denver, Buzbee served as the executive director of industry engagement and regional advancement at the University of California, San Diego. During his tenure, he forged a new paradigm for the alumni association to shift its focus away from soliciting memberships toward cultivating sustained philanthropic relationships. He also led new and innovative initiatives in alumni outreach, student philanthropy, career services and prospect pipeline development. Nationally, he has been recognized for his contributions to the field of alumni relations and career services. He has served as faculty at national conferences and he has presented many times on emerging trends in both the alumni relations and career services.

In 2015, Buzbee was recognized by CASE District VII as a Rising Star in University Advancement and by the Council of Alumni Association Executives as the Robert G. Forman Fellow. The prestigious fellowship is awarded to encourage the advancement of high potential, senior professionals into chief alumni relations positions. His fellowship generated an in-depth research paper on emerging models alumni relations offices are using to better serve the career and professional needs of their alumni. He is regularly invited as a speaker at colleges and universities, and has authored of a chapter in a CASE publication that speaks to best practices in involving students in the work of advancement.

Jennifer Cunningham

Jennifer Cunningham
Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations
Lehigh University

Jennifer Cunningham provides strategy and direction for the ways in which Lehigh engages with its 80,000 alumni around the globe. She came to Lehigh in early 2016.

Prior to that she was at Cornell University for nine years, most recently as the senior director of metrics and marketing, where she analyzed engagement data and coached staff on using it to make smarter business decisions. Before her career in alumni relations, Cunningham ran a copywriting and resume writing business and worked at several advertising agencies as an account supervisor. She also held many volunteer leadership positions for her alma mater, Cornell, and in her communities since she graduated in the early 1990s.

Lisa English

Lisa English
Director, Alumni Relations, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Rutgers University Alumni Association

Lisa English has been an alumni engagement professional for 18 years at the Rutgers University Alumni Association (RUAA) as part of the Rutgers University Foundation. As the inaugural director of alumni relations for the advancement team of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, she is responsible for engagement of alumni from the eight schools of New Jersey's academic health center, and also sits on the senior staff team for the RUAA.

She is currently a member of the CASE II board and its Strategic Planning Committee. CAAE (Council for Alumni Association Executives) named English as the Robert G. Forman fellow for 2016-17 and she presented at the CAAE Winter Institute on Integrated Advancement Teams. She also presented on related topics this spring at CASE II in Baltimore, and at NASPA in San Antonio. She is an adjunct instructor in the Leadership Minor for Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

For the RUAA, English is the staff partner for the newly formed Committee on Inclusion and Diversity and is Safe Zone certified as an LGBTQ ally. In 2016 she and her colleagues earned an honorable mention from CASE District II for a collaborative advancement program. Prior to January of 2016, she serves as the director at RU-Newark, as the interim director at RU-Camden and as the acting executive director for the RUAA.

English earned her doctorate from Rutgers Graduate School of Education in 2016; her research was focused on social justice practices of higher education administrators. She earned her master's degree in education Rutgers GSE, and her bachelor's degree in hospitality and business administration from the University of New Hampshire. Her CMP (certified meeting professional) was earned in 1996 as a convention planning consultant, and she holds a certificate in business essentials (Mini-MBA) from the Center for Management Development at Rutgers.

Cindy Fredrick

Cindy Fredrick
Associate Vice President, Engagement and Annual Giving
University of Virginia

Cindy Fredrick is the associate vice president for engagement and annual giving at the University of Virginia. She joined the office of engagement as one of the founding staff members in 2006; following a 14-year career as executive director for U.Va.’s student volunteer center.

In her current role, Fredrick supervised the transformation of U.Va.’s engagement efforts—which resulted in a nearly 500 percent increase in activities during a five year period—and currently produces more than 1,400 events each year. A significant aspect of this revitalization was the full integration of parents into traditional alumni engagement efforts through clubs, travel and lifetime learning programs.

Prior to her 20 year career at the University of Virginia, Fredrick served as the associate director for the Virginia state coalition of sexual assault crisis centers; managing director for an equity touring children’s theatre; and director of social services, admissions and recreational activities for long-term care facilities.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Luther College and a master’s degree in educational administration from California State University in Sacramento.

Kerry Gotham

Kerry Gotham
Director of Alumni Engagement
The College at Brockport

Kerry Gotham has 18 years of experience in higher education and advancement, currently serving as director of alumni engagement and executive director of the Brockport Alumni Association at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. Previously, he served as the director of alumni relations at Nazareth College. Gotham has presented at multiple CASE and SUNYCUAD conferences, the Northeast Annual Giving Conference and the CASE Summit. He has been recognized as a CASE District II Faculty Star and a Grand Gold winner in the CASE Circle of Excellence awards. Serving in many volunteer capacities for CASE, he is also a member of the CASE District II Board, where he serves as co-chair of the District II Awards Program. Having co-chaired the SUNYCUAD Educational Conference in 2015, he is currently vice president and president-elect of the SUNYCUAD Board of Directors.

Gotham received his master's degree in higher education administration from Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree in biology from Nazareth College.

Howard W. Heevner

Howard W. Heevner
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Constituent Engagement
University of California, Santa Cruz

Howard Heevner has been the assistant vice chancellor of university relations at UC Santa Cruz since 2011. In his current role he oversees annual giving, alumni engagement, special events, and advancement services. With nearly 20 years of higher education fundraising experience, he has held a number of roles.

Prior to coming to UC Santa Cruz, Heevner was the director of annual giving at Penn State University, the director of annual and special giving at DePaul University and the associate director of annual giving at University of Michigan. He began his career in development at the University of Iowa.

Heevner earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and his master's degree in higher education administration from Penn State.

Amy Layman

Amy Layman
Assistant Vice President Alumni Engagement & Annual Giving
Franklin & Marshall College

Amy Layman is assistant vice president, alumni engagement & annual giving at Franklin & Marshall College. Prior to that Amy was at Villanova University for 11 years, most recently as executive director, Alumni Relations and launched her advancement career at Gettysburg College.

Her career in higher education includes concentration areas of women's leadership, program management, volunteer engagement, strategic planning, staff development, fundraising, communications and marketing, and technology.

Layman received her bachelor's degree from Gettysburg College and her master's degree in public administration from Villanova University. She recently served on the CASE Commission on Alumni Relations and volunteers in various capacities for Gettysburg, Villanova and her children's schools.

Karen White

Karen White
Executive Director for Alumni Relations
George Washington University

Karen White has spent more than 20 years in higher education advancement. She is the executive director for alumni relations at the George Washington University. In this role she provides strategy and direction for the university's Colonials Weekend program and alumni affinity engagement programs. She is responsible for the overall volunteer management of GW's Alumni Association and the Mount Vernon National Advisory Council. 

Prior to joining GW, she served as assistant to the president at Miami University where she directed all university ceremonies and events hosted by the President's Office. She has worked regionally and nationally to advance the alumni relations profession, serving in a variety of volunteer roles for CASE. She served as a faculty member for CASE's Institute for Senior Alumni Relations Professionals, Newcomers in Alumni Relations workshop, and Summer Institute in Alumni Relations. She recently finished her term as a CASE Commissioner on Alumni Relations. 

White holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a master's degree in college student personnel from Miami University. A CASE member for more than 20 years, she is a current member of the CASE Commission on Alumni Relations and is a contributing writer to the book From Donor to Philanthropist: The Value of Donor Education In Creating Confident, Joyful Givers.

Guest Speaker

Steven Hall

Steve Hall
Vice President for Alumni Relations
Boston University

A 33-year advancement professional, Steve Hall is vice president for alumni relations at Boston University, overseeing alumni relations, annual giving, development and alumni communications, and stewardship and donor relations. Previously, he served as CEO of the University of Houston Alumni Association and as vice president for major gifts at the Washington State University Foundation, where he oversaw college and school development staff.

A recipient of the CASE Crystal Apple Award, Hall is a frequent CASE presenter and contributor to publications. He twice chaired the Senior Institute in Alumni Relations and served as vice chair of the Commission on Alumni Relations and on the Commission on Philanthropy. In 2007-2008 he served as president of the Council of Alumni Association Executives and has served on the CASE District I and District IV Boards.

crystal appleCASE Crystal Apple award winner for excellence in teaching.