Campus: CSU Fullerton -- December 10, 2001

Cal State Fullerton Director Is First to Receive National Award

Saluted for innovation, a Cal State Fullerton administrator is the charter recipient of a national award presented by a coalition of four higher education associations.

Owen Holmes, the university's director of state and federal relations, has received the 2001 Edwin Crawford Award for Innovation. He was honored Friday in San Diego during the eighth annual State Relations Conference attended by members of the four national organizations: the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), and the American Association of Community Colleges.

The Crawford award was established by these Washington, D.C.-based groups to recognize newcomers to the field who have made an "extraordinary contribution to the advancement, quality and effectiveness of state relations" on behalf of their universities or systems of higher education.

Holmes was chosen from among "many distinguished professionals representing the most respected institutions of higher education in the United States," noted CASE President Vance T. Peterson, who heads the world's largest educational association.

Holmes is credited with launching a series of projects aimed at raising the profile of Cal State Fullerton with elected officials, as well as candidates running for state office. Those efforts included forming a Titan Advocates group of alumni to help educate officials about the accomplishments and priorities of the campus, organizing town halls on topics of interest to the community and their elected officials, and holding educational briefings for candidates for state office.

Beyond Cal State Fullerton, Holmes played a lead role in a collaborative effort with other campuses to stage educational campaigns that helped win passage of two statewide bond measures in support of education.

Holmes "was instrumental in the development and establishment of a formalized governmental relations structure at Cal State Fullerton," noted CSUF President Milton A. Gordon. "His ability to build a strong foundation for the Office of State and Federal Relations has resulted in collaborative efforts with our campus and neighboring cities, community organizations, and other colleges and universities with whom we share similar goals."

State Sen. Dick Ackerman (R-Tustin) supported Holmes' nomination for the award and lauded him for being "an extremely effective advocate for the legislative agenda of CSUF and the CSU system."
The award commemorates nearly 40 years of service by Edwin Crawford to state government relations through his work at various universities, including the University of Virginia and University of California system. Individuals who have served less than five years as a government relations officer for two- or four-year institutions are considered for the annual honor.

In his present post since 1999, Holmes also serves as a member of the city of Placentia's Downtown Revitalization Committee and is a past member of the Fullerton Museum Center Board of Directors.

He holds a master's degree in political science from Cal State Fullerton and a bachelor's degree in history from the University of South Carolina. In 1995, he was an Education Policy Fellow with the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Educational Leadership. He resides in Placentia with his wife, Cynthia Togami.

"Innovation is at the heart of state government relations, as it is only through continual change and adaptation that professionals continue to excel," said NASULGC President C. Peter Magrath. "The Crawford award winner is the epitome of this quality of innovation."

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