Emory Report
September 13, 2004
Volume 57, Number 04


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September 13, 2004
IA changes name to DUR

by Katherine Baust

In a change approved last month by the President’s Cabinet, the Office of Development and University Relations (DUR) is the new name for the Institutional Advancement (IA) division. The name change, effective immediately, was announced to the DUR staff on Aug. 25.

“The term ‘Institutional Advancement’ is just not well understood outside the University; it is vague at best and meaningless at worst,” said Johnnie Ray, senior vice president for DUR, who initiated the name change. “Every time I used the term outside Emory, people who weren’t directly involved with the organization had to ask what it meant. Development and University Relations is much more descriptive of what we actually do.

“Further, it is a new day at Emory with new leadership,” Ray continued. “A name change symbolically reflects an exciting new time when we need to be more direct and operate with greater strategic intent.”

Ray initiated the name change by asking the division’s staff how they felt about the idea. Ray received more than 100 responses, and even though some wanted to keep the word “advancement” somewhere in the name, virtually everyone who responded wanted change, he said. He then solicited ideas for a new name and received about 70 suggestions.

Some of the suggestions were Development and External Relations; Office of Philanthropy; Office of External Affairs; Marketing and Communications, Development and Public Relations; Development, Alumni Relations and Public Affairs; Mission Marketing; and Constituent and Asset Management. The runner-up to DUR was Development and External Relations.

In the end, DUR “was the most direct, most descriptive, and most straightforward interpretation of what we are,” Ray said. “If the public doesn’t understand what it means, then [the office] can’t, by definition, represent us accurately,” he said.

President Jim Wagner and his cabinet signed off on the name change and to issued a renewed charge to the renamed division.

“In this exciting period as Emory University begins to reach toward the realization of its full potential, our Office of Development and University Relations similarly must move beyond current and best practices to set new standards for performance in the areas of development, alumni relations, public relations and integrated marketing communications,” read Wagner’s charge. “In a manner almost unique among all of the components of a complex research university, [DUR] has the freedom to adopt a mindset akin to a for-profit venture, and indeed it must do so.”

DUR comprises fundraisers and communicators that are associated with the Association of Emory Alumni, Academic Development, Principal Gifts, DUR Operations, Marketing and Marketing Communications, Media Relations, Communications and Public Affairs, and Health Sciences Communications.