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Monday, 22 May, 2017

University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Wins 2017 AAVMC Communications Excellence Award


Washington, D.C., May 22, 2017 – The communications program at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, led by Public Relations Director Sarah Carey, APR, has been recognized with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ (AAVMC) 2017 Communications Excellence Award.

Florida’s communication program was reviewed and enhanced as part of a major institutional strategic planning program completed in 2014. The revamped program was tethered to the college’s 40th anniversary celebration and configured to support a major new college branding campaign themed “Challenge Accepted.”

“Communications excellence and institutional advancement go hand in hand,” said AAVMC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “We congratulate our colleagues at the University of Florida for earning this honor, and appreciate the role their work is playing in advancing the interests of all of us in academic veterinary medicine.”

Carey, who co-chaired the college’s 40th Anniversary Committee, worked closely with colleagues at University of Florida Health (FH), the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF IFAS) and consultants on the new program development. Goals included building their national reputation by promoting the profession of veterinary medicine as well as their signature programs, empowering internal stakeholders as institutional ambassadors, and increasing alumni engagement.

“Coordination and integration of 2016’s multiple initiatives – all of which further strategic college and communications goals – could not have taken place without Sarah’s leadership and focus,” wrote University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Dr. James W. Lloyd. “By bridging UF IFAS and UF Health communications expertise and working through our strategic communications plan, we have mustered needed resources while leveraging existing ones.”

The 40th anniversary program included almost 20 special events, designed to inform and remind internal and external stakeholders about the way the college and its alumni serve the profession and the world. “Florida Veterinarian,” the college’s flagship communication product was redesigned and a portfolio of anniversary themed communication products were produced to help illuminate the anniversary celebration. In addition to special events, anniversary, promotional and informational messages were broadly transmitted through traditional and social channels.

A compelling two-minute video introduced at the December 2016 40th Anniversary Gala has been widely lauded and viewed almost 6,000 times on YouTube. Wrote one alumna to Dean Lloyd after deciding to join the “Deans Circle of Excellence” after viewing it: “The tears falling down my face are making it difficult to type, let alone put my words together clearly. Yet I want to tell you that this video and the emotions it evokes hit the target perfectly on how I’ve always felt about the amazing education and experience I received at UFCVM.”

The upgraded communication program and branding campaign were introduced in advance of a major university fund-raising campaign expected to launch in October 2017. But the college is already reaping benefits that could be connected to the upgraded communications program. Fund-raising rose 20% over FY2015 totals and clinical service revenues from the veterinary teaching hospital rose 9.9% during the same period.

The seven-member team of judges included communication professionals representing member organizations of the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP) in Washington, D.C., Judges scored nominations from four competing schools using an empirical process that assessed criteria such as quality and scope of the program, leadership and innovation in program development, strategic orientation and other factors.

The award includes a $1,000 honorarium, a commemorative and public recognition. It will be formally presented during the annual meeting of the Association of Veterinary Advancement Professionals (AVAP) on Thursday, July 20 at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Center Hotel in Indianapolis.

The AAVMC Board of Directors established the Communications Excellence Award in 2013 to recognize the important role of communications in advancing academic veterinary medicine and the profession, inspire higher level of performance and foster collaboration among member institutions.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment around the world by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Members include 49 accredited veterinary medical colleges in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.


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Jeff Douglas or Jeanne Johnson
AAVMC Communications
Phone:  202/371-9195, x144


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