Of the 127 entries judged in this year's CASE Alumni Relations Programs category, Witt Nation stood out in the minds of those reviewing it, making the program only one of three to receive Gold Medals.
"We are thrilled to be recognized for our campus-wide effort to engage and connect with our alumni around the country," said Linda Beals, Wittenberg director of alumni relations. "This award is not about alumni relations, but about Wittenberg, and the powerful difference the institution makes in the lives of its students and alumni."
From July 11-Aug. 2, 2008, three recent Wittenberg graduates traveled from New York City and Boston to Dallas, Phoenix, San Diego and major cities in between to bring Wittenberg to its alumni, who number 27,000 strong. The full-time 2008 Witt Nation traveling team of Ashley Petersen, assistant director of alumni relations, Brian DeSantis, former assistant director of The Wittenberg Fund, and Ross Ballinger, new media assistant for interactive communication, all 2007 graduates, quickly became household names as fellow alumni awaited their arrival in a unique shrink-wrapped Wittenberg van.
In addition to social networking opportunities with alumni at every stop, the road crew participated in numerous service projects with Habitat for Humanity and Lutheran Social Services while on tour. They also videotaped more than 150 interviews with alumni and blogged daily so that everyone in the Wittenberg family could participate either in person or online as the trip progressed thanks to a dynamic, interactive Web site created specifically for the trek.
"Wittenberg alumni exhibited genuine kindness, generosity and compassion that through this trip has reinforced what we all know: Wittenberg is a special place where special people go on to do fabulous and marvelous things with their lives and have a true passion for their alma mater," Beals said. "The trip was an awesome adventure for all involved."
The latest recognition by CASE comes on the heels of more than 50 inquiries by other colleges and universities interested in coordinating their own unique road adventures, as well as two conference presentations by the Witt Nation team. Additionally, the unique road trip was the top front-page story in The Chronicle of Higher Education last summer, the No. 1 resource for news and careers in academia with a total readership of 350,000 and more than 1 million unique visitors to its Web site each month.
Beals and the Witt Nation team are currently finalizing travel plans for the 2009 tour, which kicks off in July. To learn more about Wittenberg's award-winning alumni relations program, visit the Witt Nation Web site at for all the details.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
Top Photo By: Robert Gantt
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