Corporate relations leader steps down June 30 with praise for campus culture and ‘incredible people’
After more than a quarter century working at Case Western Reserve, Anne Borchert will close her career at the university June 30.
But with family ties to the institution dating back to the 1940s—and two children pursuing bachelor’s degrees today—her connection to the campus appears certain to persist.
Borchert’s grandfather, Thomas Keith Glennan, served as the Case Institute of Technology’s president for nearly two decades, and her father, Frank Roy Borchert Jr., was a longtime vice president at Case Western Reserve. Meanwhile her mother, Catherine “Kitty” Borchert, became a double alumna, receiving her second degree at age 72.
“I like to say I’m the third generation in the family business,” said Borchert, currently the university’s leader for corporate relations and strategic projects. “I fell in love with CWRU early on and could see why my dad and grandfather considered it this amazing little jewel.”
After serving as executive director of alumni and development at the University of Chicago’s International House, Borchert was hired for her first position at CWRU. But instead of returning to her native Cleveland for the job she headed to Yokohama, Japan.
After her husband, Jeffrey Isaacs, had been offered a teaching position in the city, Borchert successfully pitched the idea of establishing an international office that would engage Case Western Reserve alumni and corporate partners in Asia.
Five years later, Borchert and her family moved to Cleveland and she began working in development at CWRU’s Case School of Engineering. In 2007 she made the shift to corporate relations.
“At that point, there was no front door for our industry partners to access the university,” said Borchert. “We determined where we had the most alumni and which companies were already engaged, hired a team, made assignments, and we were off to the races.”
Collaborations with organizations such as KeyBank and Underwriters Laboratories have been vital to developing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, Borchert said. Research competitions, internships and scholarships provide underrepresented populations equitable access to experiential learning opportunities while strengthening the talent pipeline from Case Western Reserve into local industry.
“Anne and the corporate relations team have been invaluable partners in helping us grow our relationships with corporations on behalf of students,” said Drew Poppleton, CWRU’s director of post-graduate planning and experiential education. “I’ve worked with Anne for more than a decade now, and I can’t think of anyone who has been a bigger champion for the university with outside entities.”
Borchert also worked to connect CWRU professors with companies that could benefit from faculty research. One initiative that advanced industry and academic collaboration was the Innovation Prize Fund, which she cites among her proudest accomplishments.
The program structure offers companies an inside look at the groundbreaking research taking place on campus while igniting creativity among faculty by inviting proposals for seed funding. The program started with Sherwin Williams in 2013 and laid a foundation for lasting partnerships with companies including Lubrizol, Johnson & Johnson and Nottingham Spirk.
“I have always loved Case Western Reserve’s culture of intrapreneurship,” she reflected. “I’ve been able to experiment and test out new ideas. It has been really exciting, and it’s part of what has kept me here for 25 years. But more than anything, I’ll miss the incredible people.”