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  • Erin Shepler

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  • Erin Shepler

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UC San Diego CASE Awards

Nontradition Breaks Through 2018 CASE Regional Awards

As a top public research university, UC San Diego relies on the good will, active involvement and advocacy of our community, alumni and donors to advance our mission to make the world a better place. To help the campus engage with these stakeholders, the university employs a staff of creative, dedicated professionals in Alumni, Advancement and University Communications and Public Affairs. This team recently won nine awards—including five gold honors—from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII. 

The annual competition recognizes and celebrates outstanding efforts in higher education including advancement services, alumni relations, communications, marketing and fundraising. The CASE District VII awards program received 511 entries from 69 schools across the district, including Arizona, California, Hawaii, Guam, Nevada and Utah. To view the complete list of winners from the CASE District VII 2018 Awards of Excellence, click here.

UC San Diego’s 2018 Awards of Excellence include:

Campaign for UC San Diego

UC San Diego won a number of awards for efforts surrounding the public launch of the campus’s largest comprehensive fundraising campaign, the Campaign for UC San Diego. The campaign was designed to activate UC San Diego’s first-ever university-wide strategic plan and empower faculty, students and campus community to enact and inspire solution-producing collaborations that simply could not exist anywhere else. Each piece was designed around the theme, “Continue the nontradition,” which leveraged the new campus branding and tailored it to support this fundraising effort.

  • Fundraising: Fundraising Campaigns
    Gold Award – The Campaign for UC San Diego
    In March 2017, UC San Diego entered into the public phase of the Campaign, aimed at transforming the university, physically and intellectually. Supported by a cohesive brand and messaging strategy embedded in a suite of tools to support fundraising efforts, the Campaign helped make the 2017 fiscal year UC San Diego’s highest ever fundraising total in a single year.

    UC San Diego CASE Awards
  • Publications: Fundraising Publications: Case Statements/General Cultivation Publications (Print)
    Gold Award – The Campaign for UC San Diego Case Statement
    A “nontraditionally” flexible case statement for the Campaign for UC San Diego was developed to allow fundraisers, engagement officers, and volunteers to target specific donor interests. The case has been used in support of over 2,500 donor and prospect conversations.

  • Special Events: Individual/Single Day Special Events
    Gold Award – The Campaign for UC San Diego Celebration and Regional Campaign Celebrations
    UC San Diego kicked off the public phase of the Campaign with a dynamic multimedia experience showcasing the innovation and experimentation for which our university is known. Hundreds of donors and friends celebrated the campus and its future amid an incredible display of ingenuity, holograms, rock stars and selfie-taking robots. Smaller versions of the initial launch event were taken on the road to share with alumni and friends in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

    UC San Diego CASE Awards
  • Marketing: Branding Programs
    Silver Award – Campaign for UC San Diego Brand: Continue the nontradition
    To ensure the Campaign would make an impact, a sub-brand for the fundraising initiative was developed, drawing from the distinctiveness of the campus brand. The use of design and unexpected language grabs the attention of the audience and features a strong call to action–to help UC San Diego continue dissecting convention and challenging the status quo with funds, resources, time or advocacy so that, together, we can change the world for the better.

  • Digital Communications: Individual Sub-Websites
    Bronze Award – The Campaign for UC San Diego Website
    University teams continued the design and spirit of the branding into a refresh of the Campaign website to create a positive giving experience that represented the UC San Diego mission, the causes it advances and the focused fundraising priorities. The site was also designed to clearly communicate context and value for target donor audiences.


UC San Diego relies on the advocacy and friendship of its more than 185,000 alumni, who champion the spirit of the university out in the world. Charged with finding unique ways to engage and create lasting relationships with this ever-evolving group, the UC San Diego Alumni team developed three award-winning initiatives that showcased their creativity and an immense depth of audience-based knowledge:

  • Alumni Relations: Annual Alumni Programs
    Gold Award – Art + Cocktails
    Designed to fit within the Campaign for UC San Diego theme of “Continue the nontradition,” UC San Diego Alumni created a networking event at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. The event provided a space for alumni to connect, eat, drink and dance among art exhibits and interactive activities. The unique approach and downtown location made the event more attractive to a broader pool of alumni.

    UC San Diego CASE Awards
  • Marketing: Visual Identity Systems
    Gold Award – Health Beat
    In collaboration with several campus partners, UC San Diego Alumni launched Health Beat—a Career Center product, designed to support students as they explore and prepare for a career in the health professions. The goal, to make it simple for the student to navigate their way through the confusing and daunting process with a unique visual identity.

    UC San Diego CASE Awards
  • Magazines: General Interest Magazines (Circulation more than 75,000)
    Bronze – Triton Magazine
    In 2017, Triton pushed the boundaries of storytelling more than ever before and sought innovative and arresting ways to capture the contemporary, dynamic spirit of UC San Diego. The magazine covered topics ranging from experimental science that saved a professor from a superbug, to alumni profiles featuring an astronaut, a 100-year old oceanographer, and a professional poker player at the top of her game.

Advancement Services

Responsible for the management of all accounting and investments of the UC San Diego Foundation, the Advancement Services team provides an array of diverse services to partners in Advancement, UC San Diego campus leaders and faculty while nurturing positive relationships with our alumni, donors and other constituents. The philanthropic investment generated for the campus has the power to make world-changing impact by fueling the innovation and evolution of this great institution.

  • Advancement Services: Best Practices in Advancement Services (Platinum Category)
    Silver Award – STAR: Stewardship, Transparency, Accountability, and Reporting
    The UC San Diego Office of Advancement Services, Donor and Fund Stewardship collaborated with various campus departments to create a single source for Principal Investigators, fund managers, division heads and advancement staff to view a current and historical financial picture of their gift funds. New features, integrated functionality and the ability to generate reports has had a significant impact on departmental efficiencies.

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