UCSF Wins Two International CASE Awards, Including Organization’s Highest Honor

Pablo Valenzuela, postdoc alumnus, goes up to receive the 2013 Graduate Division Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. UCSF's Alumni Relations Program received CASE's “Grand Gold,” the organization’s highest honor.

UC San Francisco won two international awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), including a “Grand Gold,” the organization’s highest honor. UCSF’s University Development and Alumni Relations team won the “Overall Grand Gold” in the Alumni Relations Program category for the group’s ability to actively engage graduate and postdoc alumni.

Judges were impressed that “UCSF was able to so thoughtfully engage a constituency typically out of reach for many shops.” Despite the fact UCSF is in a fairly unique position of being a graduate level institution focused on the health sciences, its ability to successfully engage its targeted audiences and bring them together in a meaningful way made UCSF’s Alumni Relations program stand out, according to the judges.

Grand Gold awards are reserved for entries that are clearly preeminent and/or “game changing” among gold-level winners in each category. To ensure that winners represent exceptional work, CASE does not require judges to award winners in every level for every category. Out of more than 3,200 submissions, they awarded only 17 Grand Golds.

“We were gobsmacked – and delighted – when we found out we won the Grand Gold,” said Andrew Kaufteil, JD, executive director of Alumni Relations. “It is a great privilege to work with UCSF’s 60,000+ world-class alumni, including our beloved PhD and postdoc alums, who are advancing discoveries to treat critically ill patients and educating the next generation of scientists and health care leaders.

The UCSF Alumni Relations team includes, from left, Rachel Katsuura, Director of Alumni Relations; Susan Norris, Alumni Relations Analyst; Andrew Kaufteil, Executive Director of Alumni Relations; Rosie Simenova; Michael Eccles, Director of Alumni Relations; Stephanie Handler, Alumni Relations Assistant; Mario Peraza, Senior Director of Alumni Relations; Ashley Goliti; Louis Gutierrez, Alumni Relations Manager; and Elise Carlaccini.

“Rachel Katsuura, director of Alumni Relations, and the Graduate Division Alumni Association should be extremely proud that we’ve established a new, groundbreaking award-winning alumni program for engaging a constituency so important to UCSF. We appreciate the support of Dr. Elizabeth Watkins, who has been a huge champion for Graduate Division alumni engagement, as well as the support of Chancellor Sam Hawgood, Deans and Vice Chancellors.”

Judges were impressed with the sense of purpose behind this program and its alignment with advancement goals, particularly in the areas of development and annual giving. The metrics backed up the intent of the program, with excellent uptake and engagement rates.

UCSF’s Alumni Relations team was acknowledged for pioneering a new, best-practices approach to engaging its community of PhD, master's and postdoc alumni as donors and volunteers. Judges said UCSF has successfully garnered support across campus and traction among alumni over the last four years. Engagement strategies have included special events (including transformative reunion activities), growth of an effective volunteer alumni board, tailored communications, and a landmark campaign for graduate education-level partnership with campus leadership and faculty.

UCSF also won a Bronze Medal for its “Unfolded Protein Response” video, which was produced by University Relation’s digital and news teams. UCSF tied with Harvard University in winning the Bronze Medal.

Judges commended UCSF for creating a video that “provides a simple explanation for a complex biological process. The unfolded protein response is the basis for a broad range of disease research, including diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, typically not an easily understandable concept for the general public. This video targeted a 12th-grade comprehension level to make this concept accessible to a wider science audience."

The international awards acknowledge superior accomplishments that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and deliver exceptional results. Winning programs epitomize the profession's best practices, raise standards and contribute to a growing body of knowledge about advancement.

The CASE website includes a full list of its international winners by category.

For more internal-facing stories from the UCSF community, please visit Pulse of UCSF.