Carnegie Mellon University Campaign

Project: Campaign Case Statement

Partner: Rick Landesberg, Landesberg Design

Many schools and universities search in vain for what makes them different from other institutions. More often than not it isn’t one thing but a collection of attributes in combination. Behind this special combination is an attitude – an institutional point of view. Stellar campaign communications capture the combination and the attitude. 

In working with Carnegie Mellon on communication strategy for its $1 Billion capital campaign, Andrea Jarrell identified six truths that drove the University’s campaign story, each of which could be supported with compelling proof:

  • Carnegie Mellon is a league-of-its-own dynamic maverick rising farther, faster, than any other university.
  • Alumni are part of this dynamo in a big way – the University’s success has been built in part on their smarts and creativity.
  • Carnegie Mellon chooses not to study everything. Where it does focus, it excels. The University fearlessly reinvents its centers of excellence, moving to new fields to pursue the next big strategic bet and to lead.
  • One of the main ingredients of Carnegie Mellon’s “special sauce” – as the provost called it – is that it works the way the world works. Rather than disciplinary silos, Carnegie Mellon’s specialty is multidisciplinary solution invention. Everywhere you look on campus, multitalented dream teams are making life better for all of us.
  • The hitch: these amazing teams are at risk due to lack of resources. The work these individuals are doing cannot continue if they move to another university because no other institution works the way the world works like Carnegie Mellon.
  • The magic of Carnegie Mellon is its people (faculty, students, alumni), especially when they work together.

These truths were refined into a campaign message toolkit that celebrated Carnegie Mellon’s unique formula for success and Carnegie Mellon’s attitude about its achievements became its campaign rallying cry: “We stand today among an elite group of top-tier universities that shape the world through education, research and outreach, yet we don’t operate like other universities, and we don’t plan to start anytime soon. . . . A philanthropy that prizes guts, audacity and hard work – this is the legacy we ask you to be part of.”