Monthly Archives: February 2009

Ditching debauchery for do-gooding

Spring break certainly has gotten a bad rap over the years, but this year, as they’ve done for the past 20 years, hundreds of Vanderbilt students will be heading to towns and parks across North and South America to take part in service projects. Four Vanderbilt students came up with the idea of spending spring break doing service and traveling in 1987. Two of those four went on to found Break Away in 1991, a national non-profit that today acts as an umbrella organization for Alternative Spring Break programs at over 100 universities across the country. Vanderbilt sites this year range from San Juan, Texas, to Jacksonville, Fla., to Xela, Guatemala. To read about all of the sites and learn more about this life-changing program, visit


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Commodore Carnival Queen

Vanderbilt junior Amelie Munro Brown has been selected as the 2009 Mardi Gras Queen of Carnival, WGNO (ABC), WDSU (NBC), WVUE (FOX), and WNOL (WB), New Orleans, have reported. Brown was interviewed for the WGNO and WNOL reports. Congratulations, Amelie!

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VU cleans up at CASE

Guest post from Philip Tucker, Vanderbilt Development and Alumni Relations Communications, from the CASE III conference in Atlanta Feb. 10. Congratulations, everyone!

It was a fantastic night of recognition for Vanderbilt’s communications teams at the CASE Region III Conference Awards Banquet in Atlanta tonight! All together, Vanderbilt took home 16 awards, including four awards recognizing the very best in their respective categories. I’m pleased to share with you these great results.

CASE presents three levels of awards: the Grand Award (the top honor; only one is awarded in each category); the Award of Excellence (up to four awarded in each category); and the Special Merit Award (up to five awarded in each category). Dozens of colleges and universities across Region III competed in 48 categories for these prizes. The prizes awarded to Vanderbilt are below, with the department that created each winning entry.

Vanderbilt came away with four Grand Awards:

1) Vanderbilt Magazine/DAR Communications & VU Creative Services (Alumni Magazines II category)
2) Arts and Science Magazine/DAR Communications & VU Creative Services (Magazine Publishing Improvement category)
3) .Commodore E-News/DAR Communications (Electronic Newsletters and Tabloids category)
4) “We Are All Connected,” annual report of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital/Med Center News & Public Affairs (Annual Reports I category)

Awards of Excellence:

1) “Stolen” photograph by John Russell for Vanderbilt Magazine/DAR Communications & VU Creative Services (Photography category)
2) Vanderbilt News Service/VU News & Public Affairs (Internal Communications Programs category)
3) Vanderbilt View/VU News & Public Affairs (Internal Tabloids and Newsletters category)
4) Vanderbilt Medicine/Med Center News & Public Affairs (Alumni Magazines I category)
5) Momentum/Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center/Med Center Communications (Other Magazines category)
6) “That’s Vanderbilt”/VU News Service (Radio Programs and Announcements category)

Special Merit Awards:

1) Vanderbilt Business Magazine/DAR Communications & VU Creative Services (Alumni Magazines I category)
2) The Peabody Reflector Magazine/DAR Communications & VU Creative Services (Alumni Magazines I category)
3) “First Impressions” photo essay for Vanderbilt Magazine article about The Commons/DAR Communications & VU Creative Services (Photo Essay and Series category)
4) Vanderbilt Magazine Online/DAR Communications (Overall Web Site Design and Implementation category)
5) Arts and Science Magazine Online/DAR Communications (World Wide Web Home Page Design and Implementation category)
6) Momentum/Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center/Med Center Communications (Design for Print category)

I was so very pleased to represent Vanderbilt at the awards presentation tonight, and I could not have been prouder of the tremendous work these recognitions represent for us all. Our communications staffs university-wide are among the best in the nation, and I offer my congratulations to each of you who works so hard to support the mission of this great university.

Phillip B. Tucker
Development and Alumni Relations Communications

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So what’s really happening with Vanderbilt’s endowment?

News released today from the university indicates the university’s endowment declined 16.5 percent during these dreary past six months. As of Dec. 31, 2008, the Vanderbilt endowment stood at $2.9 billion, down from $3.5 billion on June 30, 2008.

Normally, quite bad news. Given the current climate however, these numbers show the university is holding its own and in fact is “poised very well to navigate this environment,” according to Matthew Wright, vice chancellor for investments. Wright attributed the endowment’s performance to a shift in investment strategy beginning in August 2008 when the university began converting significant stock market assets to cash and liquid securities.

Overall, universities have seen a 22.9 percent drop over the same time period, according to a survey on endowment performance conducted by National Association of College and University Business Officers. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index dropped about 30 percent from July 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2008.

Get the full story on VUCast.

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