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How does a dynamic young university talk about itself? It gets ‘Real’

How does a dynamic young university talk about itself? It gets ‘Real’

After a decade of proving itself “Worlds Ahead,” FIU unveils a new branding campaign to call out the successes of its students, faculty and alumni

October 14, 2020 at 10:15am

On the heels of an incredible 10 years that saw the university reach once-unimaginable heights, FIU is embracing new language to tell its story.

Recently named one of the Top 100 public universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report, FIU continues a steady ascent on the national stage even as it fills a critical role within South Florida.

FIU has been widely recognized in recent years as its graduates make names for themselves in a variety of fields and the university earns distinctions often reserved for much older institutions. The latter include classification as a top-tier research university and designation as a top innovation university (15th in the nation) for its high patent production.

Recognizing its position as a rising institution that has already achieved many measures of greatness, FIU has taken stock of how best to communicate its accomplishments and values.

“Our unstoppable drive speaks volumes about who we are,” says Sandra Gonzalez-Levy, senior vice president for the Division of External Relations, Strategic Communications and Marketing. “As Miami’s public research university and one with a decidedly upward trajectory, we have a lot to share with the world.”

‘Real’ recognizes our unrelenting progress. It captures the energy and momentum that together uplift a community, improve lives and prepare tomorrow’s leaders.

At the behest of President Mark B. Rosenberg and the Board of Trustees, Gonzalez-Levy invited evaluation of the university’s reputation by a leading marketing firm that surveyed both insiders and outsiders. The picture that came into focus: dynamic, enterprising, driven, proud and welcoming.

“All of these words together point to an institution grounded in reality even as it soars,” Gonzalez-Levy says. “They describe a university where young people thrive under the encouragement of mentors, where professors meet challenges in the classroom and in the laboratory, where addressing community needs goes without saying, and where life-long learners come to retool. 

“So this is where we landed: FIU is ‘real.’”

The “Real” campaign showcases students who work and go to school while dreaming up new businesses and finding ways to help others through tough times. It highlights researchers working to solve the world’s most-pressing problems. It emphasizes a commitment to championing the most important social causes of our time. And it celebrates those who make a difference every day.

“In short,” Gonzalez-Levy says, “‘Real’ recognizes our unrelenting progress. It captures the energy and momentum that together uplift a community, improve lives and prepare tomorrow’s leaders. Our 330,000-plus alumni are living proof.”

Building on success

Two years shy of the 50th anniversary of opening its doors, the young university has much to shout about. In September, it rose on the U.S. News & World Report college rankings to No. 95 among all public universities and registered as No. 13 and No. 32, respectively, for improving the social mobility of its graduates and providing value to it students. And its international business program has for the second consecutive year ranked No. 2 in the nation.

‘Real’ accentuates our inherent strengths and authenticity.

The U.S. News placements followed closely on FIU’s ranking as the No. 18 national public university and No. 3 “Bang for the Buck” public university in the Southeast by Washington Monthly Magazine. FIU also ranks No. 58 among U.S. public universities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. 

FIU defined itself for 10 years through the successful, even beloved, “World’s Ahead” campaign. The phrase continues to resonate with an extended university community that identifies as both homegrown and international, locally raised and globally connected. As a Carnegie Research I university (which designates highest research activity) and a majority-minority institution that celebrates its multiculturalism, FIU is now ready to establish itself as a university for the here and now.

“‘Real’ accentuates our inherent strengths,” Gonzalez-Levy says. “Our authenticity has propelled us this far, and we have every intention of reaching the very top.”