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"Dreams Happen Here" report that won Grand Gold in the CASE Awards President's and Annual Reports section. (Image Credit Hillary Wallace, Creative Director)

This year’s CASE Awards saw 3,200 entries in nearly 100 categories. According to the CASE Awards website, judges awarded 105 Gold awards, but only 13 Grand Gold ones. Weber State University was one of those honored 13, triumphing by staying true to its vision for the “Dreams Happen Here” report, which focused on telling the individual stories of prominent WSU alumni.

The CASE Circle of Excellence program seeks to honor outstanding work in many fields that keep universities, colleges, and independent schools running, including advancement services, alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing. Winning an award from CASE speaks loudly in academic circles.

WSU’s President’s Annual Report for 2016-17 took down a field of 40 other schools in the same category. WSU’s report ultimately won out award over standout challengers Boston University, University of Wisconsin Madison and Georgia Tech, which all won Gold in the category.

Universities’ annual reports are places where a university can show off its distinguished programs, faculty and students, and in WSU’s award-winning report, those students proved to be the key to the Grand Gold award.

The report offers details about the WSU graduates, both from their time spent at WSU and how they’ve taken that time and forged their ways in the world. Each personal story includes the subject’s dream and how he or she has realized that dream.

In President Charles Wight’s preface to the report, he describes three particular alumni: recipient of the Forbes 30 Under 30 award Shonduras, member of the Salt Lake Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalism team Jessica Miller and and soon-to-be graduate program student at Carnegie Mellon Tarl Langham.

The report uses these and other alumni’s stories to show how WSU can lead anywhere and turn into anything a student dreams of.

Those who worked on the report agree that the secret to WSU’s winning strategy was the simple strategy of highlighting alumni, which, by winning the Grand Gold award, seems to be a strategy that was fully realized.

Of course, the report didn’t assemble itself, and Vice President of University Advancement Brad Mortensen commended the talent of the Marketing & Communications team for their work on the publication, specifically Amy Hendricks, publication editor, and Hillary Wallace, creative director. Mortensen also credited the success to ” … the tremendous and powerful stories we have to tell about what’s happening here at Weber State University.”

In the university PR release, Hendricks described how reports discussing the important numbers each year provide useful information, but that “the best stories are always about people.”

She also agreed that the focus on real people lent this publications its success. “This report came together so easily because Weber State University students, faculty, staff and alumni have such incredibly powerful stories to tell. They made this publication award winning,” Hendricks said.

WSU’s report can be accessed here: https://www.weber.edu/annualreport. All of this year’s CASE Award winners and categories can be viewed here, and the President’s and Annual Reports category that WSU won out in can be viewed here.

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