Homage to CASE

Posted on Oct 27, 2016 in Blog, Musings

In 2010 I was honored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education with the Frank L. Ashmore Award for outstanding service to CASE and the advancement profession. I was nominated by my alma mater Sarah Lawrence College, and I am still amazed you can win an award for signing up to help out.

Sarah Lawrence—now that’s an iconic institution worth volunteering for. I arrived there, and my life changed forever. Our campus teemed with fabulously interesting, adventurous students and big ideas. Where else could you engage in a ten-person seminar or individual tutorial with the likes of Joseph Campbell or E.L. Doctorow and then walk downtown to fulfill your phys ed requirement by picketing the A&P?

Each one of you has your own Sarah Lawrence. We are inspired by our alma maters and the schools that employ us, and CASE provides the forum for teaching and learning best practices in the service of education. CASE has professionalized the field of advancement over the four decades since I first became involved, when black dial telephones or handwritten notes were the preferred modes of communication, and our databases were color-coded 3 x 5 cards.

Advancement has become much more sophisticated, and thank goodness for that because what each one of us does is more relevant and indispensable than ever to the future of education. We are privileged to work in an industry whose culture by its very nature is filled with generosity and good will. Individually and collectively, we have benefited from the energy and insights of a network of thousands of CASE members and the ever-expanding reservoir of knowledge that CASE makes available to us.

Thank you, CASE, for introducing me to so many admired colleagues and cherished friends. You taught me long ago that volunteering opens doors and sparks ideas. You taught me that we can effect change by sharing what we have learned. What we do on behalf of education is important. It is worth remembering the heart of our work—our children need us and the world needs our children.

Photo: Carol Cheney’s CASE crystal apple teaching award