A winning combination

York University recently entered three innovative concepts in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District II 2004 Accolades Competition. The results spotlighted York’s excellence in a region boasting some of North America’s top universities: York took home a gold and two bronze medals for submissions involving its student alumni program, fundraising efforts and “Tennis Eyes” TV commercial.



Above: York University delegates to the CASE District II conference, left to right (sitting): Pamela Shanks, Richard Fisher and Jeremy Greenberg, (standing) Naguib Gouda and Chris Luckhardt

CASE is a professional association that spans North America and represents university advancement professionals – individuals who ply their skills in areas such as student recruitment, alumni relations, fundraising, government relations, public and media relations and publications. In addition to York University, there are 660 institutions and 4,800 individual members in the District II region which encompasses eastern and central Canadian and American universities and colleges. Princeton, Georgetown, Penn State and Johns Hopkins are just some of the giant American universities that are members of District II in competition for the awards.

CASE awarded a gold medal to York is U, York’s student alumni program, in the alumni relations category. The York University Foundation received a bronze medal in the educational fundraising category. York’s “Tennis Eyes” promotional spot, produced by the Communications Division in conjunction with the doug agency, received a bronze in the commercial spots category. The awards were presented during the CASE District II Conference in Philadelphia in February.

A Gold Accolade to York is U

The student alumni program York is U was given outstanding recognition by CASE with a gold medal in the category of Alumni Relations Programming. Over the past two years, York University students have been having a lot of fun while building York’s spirit and pride through the York is U campaign. The purpose of the program is to cultivate in students a lifelong connection with York. Campus-wide events such as the York U Blue Jays Game, Homecoming, Multicultural Week and York’s Birthday are organized by a spirited team of volunteers.

Judges awarding the gold medal cited York is U as a strong newcomer in this category and highlighted the organization’s student outreach techniques. Geared to engaging students before they graduate from York, the York is U program exceeded the CASE category’s goals and objectives.

“York is U not only ensures that our students have an outstanding university experience while at York, it builds a strong base that allows us to continue the relationship with them once they have graduated and become alumni,” said Naguib Gouda, executive director of alumni & advancement services. “York is U has become one of the pillars of building a strong foundation for our alumni program.”

Chris Luckhardt, the executive director of York is U, and Jeremy Greenberg, coordinator of student alumni programs, were on hand to accept the award. “We accept this award on behalf of our family, the students of York University. We want to thank all York is U partners, supporters, and most of all our incredible volunteers, without whom, this award could never have been possible. We love you all,” said Greenberg, who is also a York is U advisor.

This award marks the second time this year York is U has been honoured by CASE. York is U’s Multicultural Week received the silver medal in the Student Involvement Programs category at the National CASE Conference this past summer. (See the August 20, 2003 issue of YFile.) 

York Foundation Accolade Award

The CASE judges recognized the York University Foundation with a bronze medal for the success it has experienced during its first year as a separate fundraising entity to York University. The concept of a separate fundraising entity is an approach that is unusual for Canadian universities, although it is used in other sectors in Canada and in the university sector in the United States.

“This award from CASE is further external affirmation that York is succeeding with its fundraising approach,” said Paul Marcus, president and CEO of the York University Foundation. “To receive this award at such an early stage is reinforcing. We are fortunate to have an outstanding board of directors and foundation team.”

In their comments, judges recognized the York University Foundation because it produced tremendous success for York and it demonstrated a creative use of development initiatives to increase funding. Comments also spoke to the foundation’s use of successful fundraising strategies and its comprehensive approach to fundraising.

A panel of 10 CASE judges said they were impressed with the speed at which the York University Foundation was able to mobilize itself, build a staff, and increase funds to the University in its first year of existence.

“We were all really amazed at the dollars the foundation was able to raise in such a short amount of time,” said Carol MacCulloch, competition judge and director of the Wilkes Fund and major gifts officer at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. “Canada is pretty new to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, yet the York University Foundation has already become a peer institution and one that educational fundraising organizations from around the world can look to for information.”

Tennis Eyes Accolade Award

In the category for commercial announcements and spots, York was also a bronze medal winner. The entries were judged for the look, sound and creative feeling of the spots and the stated goals of the entries. York entered its funny and effective Tennis Eyes commercial. Entries that received the Accolades were described by judges as “engaging, catchy and had strong messages.”

“York University’s Tennis Eyes was contemporary and showed a great use of graphics and sound,” said the panel of judges. The spot was developed as an amusing theme to highlight York’s involvement in the 2003 Rogers AT&T Cup Women’s Tennis Championship that took place last August at the National Tennis Centre, located at the Keele campus. (See the August 11, 2003, issue of YFile for more information on Tennis Eyes.) The Communications Division worked with the Toronto-based doug agency to create the commercial spot which ran on TSN and other channels during the tennis championship.

“The award is a testament to the power of simplicity. Particularly with broadcast media, it is important to inform and entertain at the same time. Consumers don’t watch television with a notepad ready to take down multiple messages – less is more with the television medium,” said Richard Fisher, York’s chief communications officer.