Kent State’s Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement Wins 19 Marketing and Communications Awards

Division earns two awards in international CASE competition

With more than 268,000 living alumni and about 35,000 talented students, the potential to tell notable stories and create impactful communications materials for Kent State University seems nearly limitless. However, in the third year of a pandemic, with marked inflation, market volatility and social unrest, it has become more challenging than ever to gain the attention of alumni and donors. Still, Kent State’s Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement moved forward with the launch of the university’s most ambitious fundraising campaign, called Forever Brighter, last October, creating communications and fundraising materials that share the remarkable impact of alumni engagement and donor philanthropy on the university. In doing so, the division has earned 19 marketing and communications awards from multiple local, national and international competitions. 

It has received awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the American Advertising Federation’s ADDY Awards, AVA Digital Awards and the Telly Awards. 

CASE Awards (2)
Kent State’s Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement has received two international CASE Awards, which are presented to advancement professionals whose creative, resourceful and innovative work illustrates “how advancement empowers teaching and learning, ignites institutional progress and helps communities thrive.” The university’s honors include one Grand Gold Award, the highest level of recognition in the program, and one Silver Award. 

In 2022, CASE received more than 4,500 entries from 636 institutions in nearly 30 countries. Of those, volunteer judges selected 626 exemplary entries for bronze, silver, gold or Grand Gold recognition. The Grand Gold Award is rare; only one is awarded per category. 

“Our donors are the greatest champions of our mission at Kent State: to ensure student success through philanthropic support of scholarships and university initiatives that transform lives through the power of discovery, learning and creative expression,” said Valoree Vargo, Kent State’s vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement and CEO of the Kent State University Foundation. “These materials were made to illustrate the transformative power of philanthropy. We are incredibly proud of the caliber of this work and honored to have it recognized at an international level. We’re even prouder that we can support our students through the generosity of our donors.” 

The Grand Gold winner was “Class of 1980 Impact Report – Kaufmania Goes to Europe Scholarship,” developed for the 15th anniversary of the fund’s creation. The report captures the scholarship’s quirky origin, imagery from education-abroad experiences, global education highlights and impactful messages from past and current students. The silver winner was the “Wallace J. Hagedorn Trust Impact Report.” Both awards were included in the Fundraising Annual Reports and Fund Reports category, and these publications were created as custom reports for donors to two of the university’s endowment funds.

“This was a really creative and touching report that could make someone who has zero affiliation with Kent State feel connected and spur interest in supporting the institutional mission,” the CASE judges said about the Grand Gold winner. “The stories capture attention and demonstrate the impact that gifts have made possible. Content is tastefully designed and has a wonderful energy that gives a sense of wonder and satisfaction. There is a terrific use of self-portraits, photos and comments.”

Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals: AVA Awards (8)
AVA Digital Awards is an international competition that recognizes excellence by creative professionals responsible for the planning, concept, direction, design and production of digital communication. Work ranges from digital campaigns to audio and video production to website development to social media engagement to mobile marketing.

Platinum Awards:
Forever Brighter Anthem Video
Ensuring Access Video
Forever Brighter Website
Gold Awards:
Forever Brighter Video Series
Faces of Kent State – Max Hoover Video
Honorable Mentions:
Prioritizing Student Success Video
Fostering Completion Video
A Perfect Pair: Kent State and Brewnuts Video

ADDY – American Advertising Awards Akron (4)
Conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation, the American Advertising Awards is a highly respected event that rewards and recognizes the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising.

Gold Award: 
Forever Brighter Video Animations Art Direction

Silver Awards: 
Forever Brighter Kit
Forever Brighter Anthem Video
Forever Brighter Animations, Special Effects or Motion Graphics

TELLY Awards (5)
The Telly Awards annually showcase the best work created within television and across video, for all screens. Receiving more than 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents, Telly Award winners represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world. The Telly Awards recognize work that has been created on the behalf of a client, for a specific brand and/or company or self-directed as a creative endeavor.

Silver Telly Awards:
Forever Brighter Anthem Video 
Ensuring Access Video
Bronze Telly Awards:
Faces of Kent State: Max Hoover
Fostering Completion Video 
Prioritizing Student Success Video 

“While earning this many awards for the materials we worked so hard to create – especially when many were developed when we were fully remote during the pandemic – is an extremely humbling and rewarding experience for our team, the real award for us is knowing we are creating materials that break through the clutter to capture the attention of our audiences,” said Leigh Greenfelder, associate vice president for communications and outreach at Kent State. “The stories we tell about the significant and life-changing impact our alumni and donors can make for our students, their families and their communities are remarkable, and it’s our honor to share those stories.”

To learn more about the university’s Forever Brighter campaign, visit

About Kent State University
Kent State University is the highest-ranked public university in northern Ohio on the Top Public Schools and Best National Universities lists by U.S. News & World Report. Kent State also holds the esteemed distinction of being one of only five institutions in Ohio to be recognized as an elite research university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. With eight campuses spanning Northeast Ohio, a College of Podiatric Medicine, a Twinsburg Academic Center and academic sites in major world cities, such as New York City, Geneva and Florence, Kent State is one of Ohio’s leading public universities and a major educational, economic and cultural resource far beyond the Northeast Ohio region it has served since 1910. Kent State is a national leader in award-winning student support services to graduate students. The student body comprises about 35,000 students, including 1,370 international students from nearly 100 countries, and the worldwide alumni family exceeds 268,000. The addition of new learning environments from the sciences to the arts and the development of exciting new academic programs characterize Kent State’s focus on transformational educational experiences. 
For more information about Kent State, visit

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Media Contact:
Leigh Greenfelder,, 330-672-7108

POSTED: Wednesday, July 27, 2022 03:31 PM
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 21, 2024 07:20 PM
Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement