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Tom Brannon

The UAB Advancement team has accomplished great things over the years, including raising more than $1 billion in The Campaign for UAB, a 10-year fundraising effort that wrapped up in 2018.

When UAB Vice President for Advancement Tom Brannan received the William S. Roth Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award for his role in the campaign, he was quick to recognize teamwork that went into making it a success.  

Brannan received the award on National Philanthropy Day, which was hosted virtually on Nov. 13 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Alabama Chapter. "It is humbling, because I know that I couldn't be considered for this award if it weren't for my incredible colleagues in the Advancement office at UAB," says Brannan. "Their desire to be outstanding in everything they do is clearly shown in all that they have accomplished and the overall success of the Advancement office of UAB. It is also because of the faculty and staff at UAB that do incredible life-changing work every day." 

Brannan also expressed gratitude to UAB supporters, who "invest in opportunities to change our world for the better," he says. "I really can't thank them enough for all they do for UAB."  

The Campaign for UAB ended in November 2018—10 years after its silent kick-off and five years after its public launch. More than 103,000 donors and alumni contributed to the campaign, which raised a total of $1,002,957,673. That includes the largest gift the university has received, which Brannan played a key role in securing: a $30 million donation made by O'Neal Industries, Inc., to name the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB.

The William S. Roth Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award is presented by the AFP Alabama Chapter to a fundraising professional who demonstrates commitment to the profession, knowledge of the industry, and leadership capabilities. "My name may be on the award," says Brannan. "But, as with any successful organization, it's not about one person. It's about all the people working together to make a difference." 

Brannan wasn't the only UAB nominee who was recognized. Kate and Claude Nielsen received the United Way of Central Alabama Outstanding Civic Leader Award for the role they've played in engaging the community in philanthropy. The couple created the Nielsen Innovation Lab at the UAB Collat School of Business, which not only serves as an "invaluable tool for our students, but also demonstrated to their fellow philanthropists their belief in our students, our faculty, and the impact a gift to UAB can make," Brannan explains.

In her role as executive director for the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham (CFGB), Kate Nielsen played a large part in supporting cancer research, educational opportunities, and green spaces in the Magic City. "There isn't an aspect of Birmingham life that hasn't been supported in some way by Kate and the CFGB," he says.  

C.T. Fitzpatrick, the founder of Vulcan Value Partners, and his wife Kelley Fitzpatrick received the William M. and Virginia B. Spencer Outstanding Philanthropist award. The Fitzpatricks support many UAB initiatives, but their largest commitment has been to the Department of Ophthalmology through the Callahan Eye Foundation. UAB has one of only two 24-hour eye emergency rooms in the nation, and C.T. Fitzpatrick credits UAB's ER for saving his own vision at an emergency visit. "With the Fitzpatrick family's investment, we are able to better translate knowledge from the lab to the patient bedside," says Christopher A. Girkin, M.D., M.S.P.H., chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at UAB.


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