The University of Melbourne’s Vice-Principal of Advancement Sue Cunningham has been recognised for her career achievements.

Ms Cunningham has been awarded the 2012 CASE Europe Distinguished Service Award.

The award recognises Ms Cunningham’s service to cultural and university advancement, in a career spanning more than 20 years.

Advancement specialists manage the University’s relationship with its alumni and friends and its fundraising and philanthropic activities.

Ms Cunningham joined the University of Melbourne in mid-2011 following her successful direction of the Campaign for the University of Oxford, which raised more than £1.3 billion for the British university.

She believes the University can play a key role in building levels of philanthropic support for the tertiary sector in Australia through its commitment to genuine engagement with, and involvement of, alumni and friends. 

“There is a growing understanding of the need for Australian universities to engage their alumni and supporters,” she said.

“Philanthropic support is vital if the University is to achieve its major research, teaching and scholarship ambitions.”

Ms Cunningham said the University of Melbourne had a proud history of private philanthropy and giving, which has enabled many transformational programs in teaching and research.

“Government support remains essential, but the truly transformational projects comprise a combination of public funding and private giving,” she said. 

CASE is a leading organisation for the advancement of colleges and universities.

Its membership includes more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary schools, and non-profit organisations in 76 countries.