Award-winning program


ICAA 2022 Program of Excellence Award

Claire Clay accepted the ICAA Program of Excellence Award from Kyle Vaughn, Summer Conference co-chair. This award recognizes innovative programs which "enhance the work of advancement."

The Bluffton University President’s Ambassadors Program has been recognized with a 2022 Independent College Advancement Associates (ICAA) Program of Excellence Award. 

Robin Bowlus, vice president of enrollment management and advancement, and Claire Clay, director of public relations and enrollment operations, attended the conference in Cleveland this summer where the award was presented. Clay leads the President’s Ambassadors program which is currently comprised of 28 Bluffton sophomores, juniors and seniors who represent a variety of majors and campus involvement.

The ICAA Program of Excellence Award recognizes successful programs that “enhance the work of advancement and/or the university as a whole…The goal for this award is to celebrate people or teams that have developed innovative programs, tools and systems and additionally, to help recognize best practices in the field of advancement.”

“The President’s Ambassadors are excellent representatives of Bluffton University and its campus community,” said Clay. “These students are gaining real, hands-on experience through the program and consistently meet the high standards of excellence expected. I am proud to work with and develop each of them into the next generation of leaders.”

At the ICAA conference, Bowlus and Clay also co-presented a session called “Advancement, Enrollment and Athletics: Enriching Storytelling Through Divisional Integration.”

The President’s Ambassador Program is an extension of the university marketing office and ambassadors assist in recruiting prospective students, welcome and greet guests to campus, and engage with alumni and donors. 

Participating students receive extensive training in networking, professional development, etiquette, conversational skills and interviewing. They also are partnered with a faculty/staff mentor and connect with President Jane Wood on a regular basis. 

Recruitment for new President’s Ambassadors takes place every January. To qualify for an interview, applicants must have successfully completed one year at Bluffton University and earned a minimum 3.0 GPA with no disciplinary action taken. Student must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours and commit to being a President’s Ambassador for one year.