When the University of Maryland Alumni Association began working on a donor recognition program for the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center, it contacted APCO's regional DC Office for guidance. As Hugh Newell Jacobsen of Jacobsen Architecture, LLC had already selected the APCO Accord 15
system for all interior signage at the Center, it was the natural choice for the donor solutions as well.
There would be two phases to the program: the Donor Recognition Program and the Lifetime Member Wall.
The Donor Recognition Program
Within the Donor Recognition Program, the naming opportunities were to include not only interior offices, conference rooms and banquet halls but also the exterior benches, trees and flowers within the Dessie M. Moxley Gardens. It was determined that the Accord 15
system with its aluminum construction and updatable panels was the perfect solution.
As with any donor recognition program, the donor level hierarchy was a key design factor from the beginning. Color was chosen as the visible determinant of the giving level and the design incorporated the colors of the Maryland state flag. The modularity of the Accord 15 system allowed for one-time complete installation at all donor sites with blank plaques helping to highlight the remaining naming opportunities still available. Blank plaques could then be easily updated with any new donor information.
The Lifetime Member Wall
The other phase of the project was the Frann G. and Eric S. Francis Lifetime Member Wall, and it presented a unique challenge. With over 4,000 initial donors and central placement right next to the University's Byrd Stadium, developing a good looking solution that was durable, expandable and able to display a very large number of donors was essential. Again, the aluminum Accord 15
system, along with some customization to suit the scope of the project, was the best solution.
Within the donor wall assembly, each donation year is highlighted with individual panels accommodating alphabetized listings of all donors and joint-donors for that particular year. With such a large assembly and having to enable future expansion, engineering and installation of the Accord 15 solution were carefully detailed. Columnar frame sections were fabricated to hold several rows of panels with a drop and lift method of removal to ensure ease of maintenance and to accommodate the 250 or more additional donors each year for many years to come.
Organizing and producing the graphics for such a complex application presented challenges as well. For this, APCO created a custom computer application to process the enormous amount of data compiled by the alumni association, automatically importing it to a printing program to ensure accuracy and streamline manufacturing.
With any donor recognition project, there is a need to create a quality solution with good design in order to appropriately convey appreciation to donors. In this case, the more exciting challenge was customizing a modular product to ensure the solution was also updatable for future growth.