January 15, 2013 11:05:59 AM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
"I am in love with the future of this university."
With that one sentence, Mississippi University for Women President Dr. Jim Borsig ushered in a new chapter for the W at Monday's unveiling of the university's new vision.
Over the past several months, MUW has been working with idgroup USA, an advertising/marketing firm based in Pensacola, Fla., in an effort to re-brand itself to attract prospective students.
Borsig, along with MUW faculty and staff, met with members of the community in a series of focus groups in an attempt to understand how people perceive MUW.
Out of those meetings came the university's evolving image. Borsig spoke of tradition married with moving forward to achieve a long wishlist for the school.
Simply referred to as "The W" throughout Monday's presentation, the university's new slogan embodies the tradition and coming change Borsig spoke of.
The slogan "One long blue line" will be featured on all new materials for the school and speaks of the line of past students connecting current and future generations of students.
Mona Amodeo, of idgroup USA, spoke enthusiastically to Monday's audience about the qualities of The W that revealed themselves during the months of work on the project. Amodeo said above all else, the university is tenacious and resilient and has demonstrated those qualities through its ability to weather change while still embracing its traditions.
She said that if The W is to compete successfully with other universities in the area, it has to focus on what distinguishes it from its competitors.
"Before you can talk about building an image, you have to be clear about your identity," she said.
Universities are constantly in competition with each other for resources, programs, faculty and students. Keeping that in mind, she encouraged the university to embrace a new mindset of "We are, they are not." By changing their philosophy and focusing on what The W can offer, Amodeo said the university is one step closer to distinguishing itself in the market place.
She said in the focus groups, the core values of the university were made abundantly clear. Integrity, community, love of learning and leadership were just a few of the words used to describe The W. Combining those with the legacy and tradition of the school, she said The W came off as a uniquely Southern environment that offered a public school education with a private school feel.
Closing her presentation, Amodeo said The W "has a story that is in the process of becoming. The future is yours to create."
While Amodeo did not mention topics such as athletics, the new promotional pamphlet listed restoring sports programs as a goal The W would like to achieve. In addition, the school hopes to grow from its current enrollment of 2,700 students to 6,000.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.