UR&D’s Lawver Named Campus’ Employee Of The MonthPublished: February 15, 2012
Brian Lawver, CSULB’s director of Advancement Services, was recently named by his co-workers in University Relations and Development as employee of the month.
Lawver, an Irvine resident who joined CSULB in 1989, was honored to be recognized in a special ceremony that saw Friendship Walk renamed for the month as Brian Lawver Lane. “My feelings are a little mixed because there are so many other deserving people in this division,” he said. “These are talented, hard-working people who are equally deserving of this recognition. All our success has been a team effort and this recognition really affects a whole group of people.”
CSULB President F. King Alexander praised Lawver for his career-long commitment to the university. “Brian is conscientious, competent and always professional,” he said. “You can always count on him to provide the best possible service. Brian is a great colleague and exemplifies the very best of the division and campus. He always provides direction and support that enables his team to achieve great results.”
Lawver’s responsibilities include the leadership of Advancement Services as they provide support for alumni relations, fundraising and prospect research. “We also handle prospect management, gift processing and the database itself. We try to provide all the services needed by advancement,” he said.
Lawver balances a combination of people skills and technical expertise to do his job. “There are the technical aspects of data base management as well as the reporting and management of data that are key parts of this position,” he explained. “But while there is a strong technical aspect, there is also a requirement for people skills, too.”
Directing the Advancement Services team means being ready for anything. “Our biggest challenge here is the wide variety of challenges we face,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen even as far ahead as the next phone call. I don’t know if I’ll wind up dealing with technology or a program gone wrong. The constant variety of challenges we face here is the most challenging part of this job but it also keeps things exciting.”
This is Lawver’s 23rd year on campus. “I still have the same feeling about this university that I did when I first arrived here in 1989,” he recalled. “I was amazed to come to work at a vibrant, beautiful campus like this on a daily basis. In these tough economic times, it is easy to take that for granted. I am lucky enough to work with great people and in a division with great leadership. Coming to CSULB every day for 23 years is something I try never to take for granted.”
Lawver remembers the day he first saw a small ad in the Orange County Register about an opening at CSULB. “I still have that clipping,” he said. “Thank God I bought the paper that day. I didn’t know much about CSULB, even its size. But the longer I work here, the more I appreciate the physical beauty of this campus. I realize our university has an urban setting but it is so well cared for that the setting doesn’t seem to matter. There is a special energy here all the time and those who don’t have the opportunity to work here never get to experience that.”
One of Lawver’s professional trademarks is a positive mental attitude that has survived seeing a trailer office burn to the ground plus the occasional earthquake. “My attitude is that things could always be worse,” he laughed. “It may sound corny, but my wife and family are what matter to me. If I have a positive approach to my job, it is because I get to come to work here.” Lawver met his wife, Laurie, at CSULB and together they raise their daughter, Megan, 13, and their son, Sean, 12. Lawver received his bachelor of science degree in math from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 1985 before moving to California in 1988.
One of the biggest pleasures of his job is the quality of Lawver’s staff. “I’m especially pleased to be working with our current Advancement Services team,” he said. “I feel very fortunate to work with such staffers as Julie Wilson. I’ve been glad to have her on our team for 13 years. I don’t know what I would do without even one of our current staff. Students also make a huge contribution to this division from technical support to entering data. Our success is a result of our efforts as a group.”
Lawver feels his biggest contribution to the university has been his ability to develop the Advancement Services team into a proactive force on campus. “This is a team that provides whatever is necessary to support this division and its ability to grow. It has become the team that everyone relies on and that pleases me,” he said. His next goal is to move the campus from the Advance Windows system to the new Advance Web system. “I didn’t start out with a career in higher-education advancement in mind,” he explained. “But I think anyone starting out who has the opportunity to work in a university setting should seize that opportunity. Most of us don’t get the chance to experience campus life beyond our years at university. We’ve got a nice thing going here.”
Lawver received several gifts along with his recognition including a CSULB sweatshirt, a complimentary entrée at Legends Restaurant and Sports Bar, two tickets to the Queen Mary, a $5 gift card to In-N-Out and a coupon for one free Whopper from Burger King.