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Billboard ad for University of Illinois System
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April 6, 2018

U of I System launches 'Altogether Extraordinary' marketing campaign
Effort aims to highlight statewide impact and collective value

URBANA, Ill. – The University of Illinois System is launching an unprecedented statewide marketing campaign to increase public awareness and support of the three-university system’s far-reaching impact and collective value.

The multimedia marketing initiative is themed “Altogether Extraordinary” and showcases the U of I System’s state, national and global impact through the combined contributions of its universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

Together, the three universities and regional campuses have a statewide footprint and comprise Illinois’ largest educator, with a record 83,000 students enrolled last fall and more than 22,000 U of I degrees awarded annually. They pump nearly $14 billion each year into the state’s economy, and the system’s nearly $1 billion in competitively awarded research funding fosters discovery that drives innovation and job creation. The three universities’ more than 720,000 global alumni include over 375,000 in Illinois.

A recent public opinion survey showed that only about half of Illinois residents believed that the U of I System contributes significantly to the state’s economy. And while 75 percent of respondents had moderate to extremely favorable thoughts about the U of I, most were not able to identify all three of the system’s main university locations, nor the regional campuses in Rockford, Peoria and the Quad Cities.

“Combining the individual and distinctive strengths of our three best-in-class universities makes the U of I System a key engine of progress for our state,” said U of I President Tim Killeen. “We produce the highly skilled talent and breakthrough innovation that is critical to drive growth in a 21st century, knowledge-based economy – all at a massive scale.”

Killeen said the initiative is intended to build understanding and awareness of the state’s flagship public university system among the general public, public policy makers, corporate and philanthropic stakeholders, opinion leaders, students, alumni, donors and other advocates.

The marketing initiative is a key component of the major philanthropic fundraising campaigns launched in October by each of the system’s universities. Together, they make up the U of I System’s largest-ever capital campaign, aspiring to raise $3.1 billion over five years to support students, faculty, academic programs, research and facilities.

“Donors want to know their gifts are making a difference and are contributing to building and sustaining excellence,” said Jim Moore, president and CEO of the University of Illinois Foundation. “Broadcasting who we are, what we do and why we are extraordinary is vital to our efforts.”

The new U of I System advertising will run for three months, through the last quarter of fiscal 2018. It includes spots on Illinois National Public Radio affiliates, social media engagement, high-traffic roadside billboards across the state and digital advertising. It is underwritten by $350,000 in private funding through the U of I Foundation. Planning is underway for a second round of marketing in fiscal 2019, which begins July 1, 2018.

“I hope this is the start of a public awareness campaign that will continue for years to come,” said Killeen. “It is crucial to keep the U of I System and our universities top of mind, and build the support that will drive our continued success.”

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The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, and the largest educational institution in the state with more than 83,000 students, nearly 25,000 faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 22,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.