FIWho? FIU defines itself

The Worlds Ahead message will be woven into FIU’s communication from here forward.

Nearly 700 faculty and staff members packed the Graham Center ballrooms March 2 curious to hear what FIU’s new branding campaign was all about. Those who’d been here for years seemed sure they’d be underwhelmed.

Then President Rosenberg asked the audience, “How many of you have heard FIWho?” Almost everyone raised their hands.

“Don’t you think FIU is way too big and far too good for that question?” he added. The audience cheered and yelled “Yes.”

“The Worlds Ahead campaign is how we are going to tell the FIU story,” he said.

For the first time in its history, FIU is launching a branding campaign called “Worlds Ahead.” It is an affirmation of where the university is today and an aspiration for the future. Worlds Ahead is built on six attributes that define FIU: entrepreneurial, international/global, accessible, community focused, vibrant and ideally located.

To develop the brand, FIU’s Division of External Relations worked with Stamats, one of the country’s top education marketing firms. They surveyed more than 3,500 prospective students, current students, parents, alumni, supporters, donors, faculty/staff, administrators and community leaders; held focus groups; and conducted in-depth interviews. What they found underscored the importance of a branding campaign. There is a disconnect between FIU’s academic excellence and its academic reputation. People are unaware of just how good FIU is.

“The Worlds Ahead campaign will change that,” said Rosenberg. “Worlds Ahead asks you for some FIU swagger. Wear your blue and gold and tell people what we’re all about.”

As part of the campaign’s launch, guest speakers Troy Elder, associate clinical professor from the College of Law; Bianny Fernandez, a senior advisor in FIU’s Academic Advising Center; and Derek Capo, an alumnus from the College of Business Administration that started his own business in China shared how they are Worlds Ahead.

The live Skype chat between President Rosenberg and Capo in Beijing was a hit with the packed house and an online audience, which crashed FIU’s homepage momentarily because of the large demand.

Today’s event was just the beginning. The Worlds Ahead message will be woven into FIU’s communication from here forward. This spring the university will unveil a new Web site that affirms FIU as a vibrant, innovative and creative community of students and scholars.

You can also share your Worlds Ahead story or the story of someone you know by visiting In the coming weeks you’ll also be able to read the stories of other members of the FIU family.

Here is some of the feedback received after the launch:

“It’s important to begin to build organization pride! FIU swagger!”

“We can’t be ‘Worlds Ahead’ educators with TAs and adjuncts teaching most of our classes. We need more regular faculty in the classroom.”

“Awesome! What a wonderful way to celebrate our accomplishments, build pride in our institution and enhance affinity as a proud Panther.”

“I was inspired by the message and individuals and want to encourage us to move forward. I also think it’s important that this message be brought to our South Florida community, the United States and the world.”

“I applaud FIU because we definitely needed this change in vision and identity… I too am tired of hearing FIWho! I love the commercial. Go Panthers!”

“Worlds Ahead! What a wonderful goal for FIU! I say ‘goal’ because we are not fully there yet…. We need motivating leaders in all areas of FIU in order to achieve full Worlds Ahead potential!”

“I think the Worlds Ahead concept is a great one. As an alumna myself, I see the value in it but see the challenge of having it translate to our current and future student body. I think the key to this is reinforcing it at new student orientation.”

“This was a very polished program. But more than that, it was inspiring. We need to have pride in what we’ve accomplished at FIU, and this was a great step in that direction. The stories really are impressive. I hope we don’t stop with this. We really need to push out this message! It’s about time!”

“FIU needs to be ‘Worlds Ahead’ for their internal customers as well; currently, they are more behind as far as support for infrastructure.”

“This presentation motivates our employees to know a little more about who we are… I think this campaign will be a success. Thank you.”

“Rebuild the Web site. It sucks!”

“I like it. Makes us seem progressive, innovative and forward thinking; makes us seem supportive of entrepreneurial ideas and expansion. Love the beat of the video…Hot!”

“Thank you for inviting the entire staff, faculty and general FIU community to such an important presentation. The Worlds Ahead initiative is one that has always, at least for me, been synonymous with FIU. Now we just need to promote it as a community, at every level.”

“I agree on the numbers displayed on how we are perceived. I am a booster club parent for Coral Reef High School, and I clearly see where we need to do more to create a greater influence in the high schools. High school graduates are preferring UF, UM, FSU, UCF, USF more than us. It is mainly because of the perception of school administrators and counselors who influence these kids. We need to change that! And I am committed to doing that!”

“The presentation led by Dr. Rosenberg was terrific and very effective in explaining the concept of Worlds Ahead.”