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Whitworth University receives top recognition in CASE Circle of Excellence Awards

June 5, 2015
On Tuesday, June 2, Whitworth University received two gold and one bronze award during the Council for Advancement and Support’s Circle of Excellence Awards. The awards acknowledge superior accomplishments in higher-education communications that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and deliver exceptional results. To view a complete list of the awards given and the institutions that received them, click here.

Whitworth received a Gold Award in the Institutional Relations Publications category for its book Torchbearers, a Gold Award in the Stewardship Programs category and a Bronze Award in the Donor Relations category for its annual giving-acknowledgement program.

Torchbearers is a collection of 125 stories about the people, events, places and things that have shaped Whitworth over the past 125 years. The 280-page volume was produced by the Whitworth Office of Institutional Advancement; contributors included a variety of Whitworth community members across campus.

“The process of putting this book together was, in true Whitworth form, a community effort,” Assistant Director of Marketing, Elizabeth Strauch, ’04, says. “We couldn’t have done it without the hours spent in the archives with Janet Hauck and her student archivists, who scanned articles and located artifacts, or without the various departments on campus who provided props for the photo shoots and weighed in on who and what was featured, or without the alumni who responded to our calls on social media for their Whitworth memories. That’s in addition, of course, to the primary team who assembled, organized, edited and designed the contents.”

Whitworth’s impact-reporting and annual-giving acknowledgment program consisted of a series of creative, meaningful communications pieces acknowledging donors and communicating the full impact of their gifts. Kelsey Bumgarner, ’09, assistant director of donor relations at Whitworth, says the pieces were largely based on survey results from donors suggesting changes, improvements and additions to what the university was already doing.

“From there, it was a matter of researching best practices, working with designers and getting input from team members across our department in order to build a program that fits Whitworth’s mission and serves our donors,” Bumgarner says.

CASE is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas. CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Elizabeth Strauch, assistant director of marketing, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4711 or

Kelsey Bumgarner, assistant director of donor relations, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4605 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or