Gayle Dean
Gayle Dean (Courtesy of San Juan College Foundation)

FARMINGTON — A state chapter of fundraising professionals will honor the executive director of the San Juan College Foundation for her efforts and dedication in filling the needs of the college.

The New Mexico chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals will be honoring Gayle Dean along with nine others across the state as a part of National Philanthropy Day.

Dean will be honored as Outstanding Fundraising Professional for her work at the foundation raising millions of dollars for capital projects and her dedication to the community, said Stephanie Miller, chairwoman of the nomination committee for New Mexico Association of Fundraising Professionals.

"The goal of the awards is to really highlight people who are engaged in the community with philanthropy," Miller said. "Gayle is representative of someone who made a commitment to this line of work."

The award for Outstanding Fundraising Professional is for paid professionals as opposed to volunteers.

Dean said she was shocked when she learned of the nomination.

"It's just such a nice honor and such a privilege to be honored by your peer group," Dean said. "A lot of credit for it goes to San Juan College. Working for an institution that is so beloved by the community, they make my job pretty easy."

The person who nominated Dean was Julie Cook, Director of Development for Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque, who she met at last year's National Philanthropy Day event when T. Greg and Susan Merrion of Merrion Oil and Gas were honored as Outstanding Family in Philanthropy.

Cook wrote in her nomination letter for Dean that "For more than 25 years (10 years as a paid professional), Gayle has been improving the lives of individuals by connecting donors with community needs in San Juan County. Her commitment to our profession has been proven over considerable time through her service and continuing education in the field."

Miller said the selection committee cited her accomplishments in successful capital campaigns that raised $17 million for projects like the new School of Energy building on the main campus and growing the endowment for the foundation by 35 percent.

Dean's work with other organizations including serving as a United Way of San Juan County board member also were cited as examples of why she was selected.

"That grows the work force needs in the area and leaves an on-going impact in the area. It's very impressive," Miller said.

Dean will be honored at a Nov. 12 luncheon at the Embassy Suites hotel in Albuquerque.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.