Marquette University receives four CASE Best of District V awards for outstanding editorial, video work

Nov. 17, 2022

Two Conversations with God cover artMILWAUKEE — The Office of University Relations at Marquette University has received four Best of District V awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for two cover articles from recent issues of Marquette Magazine and two video productions.

Steve Filmanowicz, director of editorial projects, wrote and edited “Two Conversations with God,” which appeared in the fall 2020 issue of Marquette Magazine and was awarded in the “COVID-related writing” category. His spring 2021 story, “The Power of Pear,” stood out in the “writing, profiles of 1000-plus words” category.

The videos recognized were “Reflections,” the university’s television commercial, for “video, commercials,” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” the 2020 Christmas video, for “video, holiday and year-end videos.” Each were produced by Lauren Burke, director of video, and awarded Global CASE Circle of Excellence Awards in June.

CASE District V annually recognizes excellence in the Great Lakes District. The Best of CASE V Awards showcase best practices in alumni relations, fundraising, advancement services, special events, and marketing and communication.

“CASE awards are judged by our peers, which makes them a very special recognition of excellent work,” said Tom Pionek, assistant vice president of marketing at Marquette. “Steve and Lauren are true creative leaders in editorial and video storytelling. Our goal is to share the compelling stories and experiences that make Marquette such a special place. These pieces do just that.”

 “Two Conversations with God” tells the story of Marquette Law alumnus Judge Derek Mosley as he faced COVID early in the pandemic. It covers the care he received in an ICU ward from nurse Christin Lissmann and the effect they had on each other. “When a Marquette alumnus taking perhaps his last breaths met a Marquette nurse who knew exactly what kind of care he needed, their prayers showed how much they did to save each other,” reads the intro. “’Two Conversations’ is a story about two Marquette people who start as strangers and come together in the most trying of circumstances,” Filmanowicz said. “The healing goes both ways.”

 “The Power of Pear” is about alumna Jeannie Gaffigan’s high-energy life and creative partnership with husband Jim Gaffigan, and the fruit-shaped brain tumor that brings everything crashing to a halt. “Humor, family and faith are woven seamlessly through Jeannie’s professional and personal lives,” Filmanowicz said. “When her health challenges turn monstrous, these elements eventually help her conquer anger and isolation to emerge with renewed spirit and purpose.”

“The three subjects of these stories — Derek Mosley, Christin Lissmann and Jeannie Gaffigan — are inspiring examples of people living the Marquette mission and being there for others in their own indelible ways,” Filmanowicz added.

“Reflections” is Marquette’s current 60-second commercial. “The idea of personal transformation is what I wanted to convey,” Burke said. “From acceptance to graduation, being a Marquette student is an emotional journey and our goal was to tell that story that in just 60 seconds.”

An annual tradition, Marquette’s 2020 Christmas video was produced during the height of the pandemic—an emotionally and logistically challenging time. “We needed to strike a balance: how do we celebrate the Christmas season while also recognizing what we were all going through together?” Burke said. “I wanted ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth’ to be a comfort, and Ariana's voice coupled with the serenity of the cinematography does just that.”

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is the global association for professionals in advancement—alumni relations, communications, development, marketing, and advancement services—who share the goal of championing education to transform lives and society. District Five, the Great Lakes District, encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and includes 400+ member institutions and more than 2,500 representatives.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or