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Four top wins for Berkeley communications, fundraising work

By Public Affairs

students in blue and gold lead a cheer in front of a crowd
UC Berkeley students led the crowd in cheers and showed off the Stanford Axe, which is awarded to the winner of the annual Big Game versus Stanford. Berkeley won the axe in 2019 for the first time since 2009. (UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser)
students in blue and gold lead a cheer in front of a crowd

A February 2020 event to launch a $6 billion fundraising campaign was among the efforts recognized with a gold award.  (UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser)

Communications and fundraising teams at UC Berkeley were awarded four gold awards for their work by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), a global nonprofit dedicated to educational advancement.

The 2021 CASE Circle of Excellence Awards recognized three stories by writers in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and the in-person event organized by University Development and Alumni Relations that launched UC Berkeley’s $6 billion fundraising campaign in February 2020.

“These awards are a big deal, and highly valued,” said Chancellor Carol Christ when told of the wins. “They’re yet another sign of the extraordinary work these teams have done in a difficult year.”

The gold awards recognized:

  • From solitary hell to ‘sacred ground,’ Kevin McCarthy defies the odds,” a student profile by Gretchen Kell that tells the story of Kevin McCarthy and his long, dramatic, and ultimately triumphant journey to UC Berkeley. The judges said the piece was “compelling and well-written,” adding that it “expertly moved from present to past to present, weaving in the university’s role in his journey.”
  • The names they gave us cut deep,” a first-person opinion piece by writer Ivan Natividad that reflected on his experiences as a Filipino American man growing up in America after the news that Berkeley had denamed Barrows Hall. The judges called the piece, “powerful and effective. Exceptionally well done.”
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the women who started it,” a podcast by podcast producer Anne Brice that examined a group called the Women’s Political Council. The judges said Brice’s podcast was “NPR quality” and commended its accessibility to those with hearing impairments.
  • The Light the Way: The Campaign for Berkeley launch celebration that invited 350 of Berkeley’s most generous supporters to an evening of food and entertainment and kicked off a historic effort to raise $6 billion by the end of 2023. The judges called the event “exemplary,” adding that, “the team behind this event deserve credit for thinking outside the box, and moving away from standard event formats. We also applaud the engaging involvement of the Nobel Laureates.”

Roqua Montez, executive director for communications and media relations in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, said the record three awards there displayed his team’s “resilience, experience and creativity.”

“I am especially proud to work alongside such a smart team of writers, editors, videographers and podcasters, all of whom are abundantly rich in talent and innovative ideas,” he added.

Colleen Rovetti, executive director for external relations and marketing communications in University Development and Alumni Relations, said she was honored by the award.

“This hugely collaborative labor of love involved the contributions of a crew of creative and talented people, including event producers, writers, videographers, graphic designers, web developers, fundraisers and production managers,” she said. “Working alongside them was the highlight of my career – and incredibly fun.”

Other Berkeley CASE wins this year included a bronze award for a Haas School of Business alumni profile, a silver award for a report by the Othering and Belonging Institute and a bronze award for a fundraising social media campaign.