Bird receives GEAC 2020 Educational Fundraising/Development award
South Georgia Technical College Vice President for Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird received the Georgia Educational Advancement Council (GEAC) 2020 Educational Fundraising/Development award during the organization’s Online Virtual Conference recently. The event was scheduled to be held in St. Simons Island, GA, but was converted to a virtual conference due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Bird was one of four individuals recognized for distinguishing themselves in their respective fields at the on-line awards ceremony that honored higher education professionals from public, private, and technical college institutions and universities in Georgia. Individuals must be nominated by their College President or peers, have served at least five years in the education advancement field, demonstrated outstanding performance and commitment to the field of higher education, earned the respect of their colleagues, and made significant and specific contributions that have yielded positive results for their institution and field within their respective category.
Sydney Scott, Public Relations Assistant at Georgia Southwestern State University, received the Newcomer Award; Candy Babcock, Advancement Coordinator at Gordon State College was awarded the Advancement Services Award, Dan Cassavaugh, Director of Digital Communications from Georgia Gwinnett was recognized with the Communications and Marketing Award.
“This is a tremendous honor to be selected for this award,” said Bird. “But this award is not just about me. None of this would have been possible without the support of President Dr. John Watford and the other members of the South Georgia Technical College administration, faculty and staff; our business and industry partners, and the members of our community who are so generous to support our students and the college’s efforts to help our community move forward. I would also like to thank Pat Peacock and Leah Windham Cannady for their efforts in making our department one of the best in the state.”
GEAC President Jennifer Hendrickson, Associate Vice President for Advancement at Georgia Gwinnett College, and GEAC President-Elect Tonya McClure, Assistant Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Central Georgia Technical College, nominated Bird for the award. McClure made the announcement at the Awards Ceremony. “Su Ann Bird is an incredible leader with a magnetic personality who always puts others first. Her vision, leadership and many accomplishments in fundraising and development have positioned her as a leader among her peers in the Technical College System of Georgia and around the state, proving her to be highly deserving on this recognition.”
South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford echoed McClure’s comments. “I have never worked with a more dedicated and talented individual than Su Ann Bird. She has a sixth sense when it comes to dealing with people and her heart is always for the betterment of our students and South Georgia Technical College. You will never see her without that trademark smile and her ability to implement the most appropriate marketing and PR strategies is unsurpassed. Su Ann lives by the standard that fundraising is all about relationships and she works to nurture those relationships, not just with potential donors, but with everyone with which she comes in contact. I am so proud of Su Ann and I feel privileged that she is a part of the senior leadership of South Georgia Tech,” said Dr. Watford.
Bird joined South Georgia Technical College as the Director of Resource Development and as the Executive Director of the South Georgia Technical College Foundation in May 2005. She served in that role until August 2011 when she was named Vice President of Institutional Advancement. She continues in that role today.
During the past 15 years, Bird has helped tripled the Foundation’s assets and has overseen 15 annual giving programs for the Foundation helping raise approximately $15 million for the college and its students. The college foundation has raised local funds to help renovate two existing dormitories and an existing surplus building to become the college’s Energy and Transportation Center. The college foundation has also received gifts of a Lear 24G Jet, a Gulfstream GII Jet, and an Aaron’s Rents Michael Waltrip race car to be used in the college’s aviation maintenance and High Performance Engines/Motorsports Programs.
As executive director of the SGTC Foundation, Bird has helped to facilitate the Foundation’s endowed scholarships from six to 89 with the addition of 83 new endowed scholarships. Last year the foundation provided nearly $1 million in assistance to the college by awarding over 650 individual grants and scholarships to SGTC students and providing the financial assistance needed to allow SGTC to provide the use of textbooks at no cost to all SGTC students. The Foundation also helped purchase state of the art equipment for different program areas. Bird has also written a number of successful federal, state, and local grants for the college valued at over $8 million.
Bird served as a member of the Georgia Educational Advancement Council from 2011 to 2016. She was elected Secretary and Treasurer of the organization which features over 200 professionals from Georgia’s Higher Education institutions. She is married to Mike Bird of Americus and they have two grown children, Kelly and Chris Bird.
GEAC is a statewide organization comprised of public relations, alumni, fundraising, communications, and external affairs leaders from Georgia’s public higher education institutions, the Technical College System of Georgia, and several major private college and universities.