What could Monster Fish and development possibly have in common?

You know Monster Fish….right?  It’s Nat Geo WILD’s popular series featuring University of Nevada, Reno’s very own Zeb Hogan!  Zeb has spent the last 20 years researching the world’s largest freshwater fish, and is a biologist in the College of ScienceMonster Fish is also National Geographic’s newest exhibit, showcasing Zeb’s research to find and protect the world’s largest freshwater fish.

The exhibit opened on March 26 and featured a spectacular reception held throughout the Monster Fish exhibit at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC.  The event was also an amazing development opportunity for the College of Science and the university to engage our alumni and donors, as well as establish new relationships with distinguished guests from DC and visitors from all across the nation.  It wasn’t an average event – to say the least!  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase the faculty, research, and educational opportunities that the University of Nevada, Reno has to offer.

From a development standpoint, there are many goals to consider for any event.  Among other things you want to:

  • Engage your alumni, donors, prospects and friends
  • Educate attendees and build awareness
  • Get people involved and excited
  • Create advocates for your organization
  • Cultivate support
  • Attract new donors
  • Create a dynamic experience for all attendees

The Monster Fish exhibit opening fulfilled all these goals…..and beyond!


UNR College of Science Dean Jeff Thompson, Zeb Hogan, and National Geographic President Gary Knell

We engaged our alumni and donors locally as well as the Washington DC area, by sending out and e-mailing a combined invitation from National Geographic and the University of Nevada, Reno, to attend a private reception and lecture by Zeb.  The response was tremendous – with almost 300 people attending!  Including National Geographic president, Gary Knell.

Attendees roamed throughout the exhibit, experienced the life size sculptures of several of the world’s largest freshwater fish, and had fun trying out the many interactive displays.  It was an incredible opportunity to educate and bring awareness to Zeb’s research, while at the same time getting people excited and involved.  They could even try a drink created in honor of the Monster Fish exhibit, called “What lurks below”!  By all accounts, it was definitely a dynamic experience!

Another important development component at the exhibit opening was our university and College of Science information booth.  This opportunity allowed us to inform the public, build advocates and cultivate support.  IMG_0145[1]The booth featured College of Science banners, continuous video showcasing the university, the College of Science magazine and academic programming guide, and even UNR compasses that were a huge hit with kids and adults alike!IMG_0143[1]

And, that’s just the beginning!  Monster Fish is a travelling exhibit.  It will be at the National Geographic Museum until October, and will then travel throughout the nation.  And, the first stop in November will be the Discovery Museum in Reno!!  At every destination the exhibit will be promoting UNR and the College of Science, who are educational partners with National Geographic.

You couldn’t ask for a better development tool than that!


Please take the opportunity to visit some of the links throughout this post and get to know a little more about the University of Nevada, Reno, the College of Science, and MONSTER FISH!




About dknotek2015

I am a Development Director for the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Having worked in the Development and Alumni Relations Department for the past eight years, I have a unique background in development, philanthropy, and relationship building. I am a University of Nevada, Reno alum as well as a current MBA candidate. You could say I am silver and blue through and through! I am passionate about helping others. I understand how important education is to our local community, the nation, and the world. I remember struggling as a student to finish my own education, and how grateful I was when I received support through the generosity of others. As a professional, I excel at securing private donations which support the students, faculty, programs, and research of the College of Science. I am uniquely qualified to bring potential donors together with areas about which they are passionate and feel compelled to support.
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