18:31 PM

Lorna Somers recognized for extraordinary contributions to educational advancement

Mohawk College Foundation Executive Director honoured with 2023 Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education Outstanding Achievement award


Lorna Somers, Executive Director of the Mohawk College Foundation, was honoured today with the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education.

This prestigious award recognizes Lorna’s 35-year commitment to post-secondary education and her tireless promotion of principled development practices in Canada and around the world. During her career so far, including 34 years with McMaster University, Lorna has, with a handful of academic colleagues, secured more than $500 million in gifts for students, teaching, and research initiatives. In addition, she has mentored and presented to institutional leaders, faculty, students and advancement staff on six continents and more than 65 campuses from Beirut to Lagos, Singapore to Sydney.

“This distinction is well-deserved. Lorna’s international reputation as an educator and leader in philanthropy is well known,” said Ron J. McKerlie, President of the Mohawk College Foundation. “She has helped to provide lasting benefits for a generation of learners and researchers, and she has had a formative influence on thousands of professional fundraisers. We are grateful to have Lorna leading the Mohawk College Foundation team as she turns her esteemed talents to the support of our college and the students we serve.”

In support of Lorna’s nomination, Andrea Morris Associate Vice-President & Chief Development Officer at University of Calgary, and the 2022 recipient of CCAE Outstanding Achievement Award, wrote: “What makes Lorna’s achievements unique in Canada is her ‘bespoke’ approach to major gift fundraising, her commitment to long-term service to her community, and her generosity in sharing her knowledge with professionals who are new to our field. With 35+ years in the profession, having taught educational advancement in dozens of countries around the world, and with relationships and a reputation that have stood the test of time, Lorna Somers is the most deserving recipient of this award.”

During her career to date, Lorna has assisted with some of the largest gifts in the country directed to Canadian post-secondary institutions. She co-authored Planned Giving for Canadians with Dr. Frank Minton, now in its sixth edition and considered required reading for everyone in planned giving and development. She has been honoured by the global Council for Advancement & Support of Education (CASE) with the John Lippincott Award (2016), the Frank Ashmore Award (2011) and the CASE Crystal Apple for excellence in teaching and training. The Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) honoured Lorna with the Friend of CAGP national award (1997) and the CAGP Lorna Somers Legacy Award is named in her honour.

 “To be honoured for doing work I love, at a college and a university I care deeply about, is really the icing on the cake of a long and extremely gratifying career. More importantly, it provides a chance to say thank you to so many wonderful supporters and colleagues who made, and continue to make, success possible,” said Lorna in response to the news of her most recent recognition.

Lorna joined Mohawk College Foundation in 2022 and has made an immediate impact for the benefit of students in need. The college community congratulates Lorna on this prestigious award.

The CCAE Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the field of educational advancement over a number of years. The Council specifies that “the recipient is recognized both for exemplifying the highest ideals of the advancement profession and for dedicated mentoring of others in the field.

Please view the CCAE Announcement: Distinguished Service Awards