A Message of Gratitude
In the midst of the anxiety and confusion triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, hope and heroes abound.
- The teachers who have scrambled to adapt to entirely new methods to keep learning alive and their students engaged.
- The students who have gamely transitioned to new instructional models.
- The researchers who tirelessly pursue clinical treatments for those with COVID-19 and vaccines for the virus itself.
- The physicians, nurses, therapists, EMTs, and other health care professionals who risk their own health daily to tend to the stricken.
- The first responders who continue to put themselves on the front lines of the pandemic.
- The ministers, rabbis, imams, priests, nuns, and other faith leaders who encourage and consul us in our fear and grief.
- The countless supermarket staff, delivery drivers, and mail carriers who help keep our pantries stocked and bookshelves full.
- The IT professionals who maintain the complex and incredibly necessary digital infrastructure on which we depend.
- The friends and neighbors who wisely shelter in place, observe all necessary social distancing requirements, and reach out to us keep our spirits high.
- The government officials who rely on scientists and public health experts to craft their policies.
- And, for those of us in the advancement professions, the alumni and donors who have rallied to the cause of the institutions they love—offering encouragement, support, and funding in these uncertain times.
I am confident that there are many more individuals and professions that have stepped up to the challenges we face today. But I wanted to acknowledge a few for whom I am incredibly grateful as we continue to advance education to transform lives and society—even in the midst of a global pandemic.
Sometimes we must just take a step back and remember to be grateful. Thank you all for your good work and courage—even if sometimes that courage is quiet and as simple as patiently abiding, doing the day’s work and continuing to move forward.
I continue to be deeply grateful for the dedication and support of CASE staff and our membership worldwide. Thank you for your messages and your engagement and please do continue to reach out to let us know what you most need from CASE right now. I also encourage you to take a moment to visit case.org and discover our array of online offerings at case.org/onlineeducation designed for you.
In anticipation of a better day, that will come, and wishing you safe and well.
In this together,
President and CEO
Council for Advancement and Support of Education
About the author(s)
Sue Cunningham is president and CEO of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), which supports more than 3,600 schools, colleges, and universities worldwide in developing their alumni relations, communications, fundraising, and marketing operations in order to advance their institutions. As CASE president and CEO, she provides strategic and operational leadership for one of the largest associations of education-related institutions in the world with members in more than 80 countries. She became president of CASE in March 2015.
Cunningham engaged CASE and thousands of its volunteers in a comprehensive strategic planning process resulting in Reimagining CASE: 2017 - 2021, an ambitious and comprehensive framework for serving CASE’s members and championing education worldwide. This volunteer and member engagement extends into a comprehensive effort to refine CASE’s governance structure to more effectively support CASE’s global reach and service to members.
Under her leadership, CASE acquired the Voluntary Support of Education survey and created AMAtlas. CASE has reinvigorated its global advocacy agenda and is engaged in reviews of the curriculum across all advancement disciplines and an update of CASE’s management and reporting standards and guidelines, which operate as the industry-leading set of standards. She is most proud of CASE’s efforts to diversify the advancement professions and CASE’s commitment to talent management, within the organization and across CASE’s membership.
Cunningham serves on the steering committee of the Washington Higher Education Secretariat, is a member of the Council of Higher Education Management Associations, and the International Women’s Forum, and serves on the fundraising committee for the Aurora Foundation.
Prior to CASE, she served as vice principal for advancement at the University of Melbourne and as the director of development for the University of Oxford. She served as director of development at Christ Church, Oxford, and as director of external relations at St. Andrews University.
She is an honorary fellow of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a recipient of the CASE Europe Distinguished Service Award, and a CASE Crystal Apple Award recipient. She holds a master’s degree from Oxford University and a bachelor’s degree in performing arts from Middlesex University.