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Robert Blakely, development director for the UAB School of Engineering, was recently awarded the Dr. Kenneth E. Burke Award for Outstanding Achievement in Advancement.

blakely2020In presenting the award, UAB Assistant Vice President for Advancement David Allen praised Blakely’s work ethic, citing his eagerness to build alumni connections and his generous collaborations with coworkers as two factors that led to Blakely receiving the award, “In addition to his impressive fundraising accomplishments, Robert has embodied the culture of collaboration and growth that we are working hard to create in Advancement,” Allen said. “He is the true definition of a team player and natural collaborator.”

Blakely came to UAB in 2017 after more than a decade of working in advancement at other institutions, including Birmingham-Southern College, Samford University and Tuskegee University. Since joining the School of Engineering, he has increased contributions for endowed scholarships and other major gifts, while strengthening ties to the school’s widespread alumni network.

While those efforts have certainly resonated within the School of Engineering, Blakely’s contributions to the university’s advancement mission have been significant. In her letter nominating Blakely, Kerry Chesnutt, UAB’s director of Regional Advancement, writes, “Robert has proven to be incredibly generous with his time and knowledge, which includes many years of both sales and fundraising experience. His positive attitude and tenacity are both contagious. This makes him a great asset to our department and has earned him the respect of his colleagues within our department and beyond.”

Part of that collaboration has included mentoring young development officers and collaborating with regional teams and other UAB units to pursue high-priority projects. Within the School of Engineering, he has worked closely with faculty and staff to identify prospects from various alumni and business communities.

“The Kenneth Burke Award bestowed on Robert by his peers in Advancement is in recognition of the outstanding work that he has performed for the School of Engineering over the past three years,” said School of Engineering Interim Dean Timothy M. Wick, Ph.D. “He has embraced the mission of the school and has a clear passion for improving opportunities for our students through scholarships and increased funding for our academic and research programs.

“On behalf of the School of Engineering, I’d like to congratulate him on this well-deserved award.”