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Associate Vice President for Government and Community Relations Wins National Award

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Update: Today (Dec. 2), on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce ’77 (B.A. business administration-accounting) delivered a tribute to fellow alum Owen Holmes, who retires this month from CSUF after more than three decades of service. Watch the video.

Owen Holmes, associate vice president for government relations, can add another award to his growing list: The CASE Marvin D. “Swede” Johnson Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement, quality and effectiveness of state relations on behalf of a higher education institution or state system.

Holmes was presented with the award today (Dec. 10) at the 2015 Higher Education Government Relations Conference in Austin, Texas.

The award is named in honor of the late Marvin D. “Swede” Johnson, a longtime director of state government relations at the universities of Arizona and New Mexico. CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.

Holmes, with more than 20 years of government relations experience, has been responsible for directing the University’s relationship with all levels of government including community, state and federal relations, as well as grassroots advocacy. Through the Congressional Appropriations process and his ability to cultivate and maintain relationships, he raised nearly $9 million in federal funding for campus research initiatives and projects.

Holmes led the creation of a series of quarterly legislative staff roundtables that allowed the campus an opportunity to highlight academic programs and centers and serve as a reminder of the value of the institution in the community.

“For the past 16 years, I have served as a member of the California State Assembly, the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and most recently, in the California State Senate,” said Lou Correa, California state senator (retired). “In each position, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Owen on matters related to higher education, the budget, economic development and pathways to higher education. As a community leader, I have been impressed by Owen’s ability to showcase not only the value of the California State University system but also the impact that Cal State Fullerton has on the state and nation.”

“I am proud of my role in building and formalizing a government relations and advocacy structure at Cal State Fullerton,” said Holmes.

“I have had the good fortune to work with a team of talented and dedicated individuals, and together we have continued the critical journey of relationship-building and advocacy.”