I am not a marketing person. In fact, like most academics, I feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of “branding” education as if it were just a product. I grew up believing that the quality of one’s intellectual achievement emerges without need of a catchy phrase or a shiny presentation.

But as I spend more time in the community, I realize that while everyone seems to think that Chapman is a wonderful place – and definitely a place that is on an upward trajectory – it is harder for my interlocutors to say why they think so. This indicates that we have not told the story of what makes Chapman special in clear, compelling and consistent ways.

I believe what sets us apart is our ability to do more than develop and impart knowledge. Rather, we offer our students a life-changing experience that prepares them to be the thinkers, the leaders, the entrepreneurs that our society needs.

As a student-centered institution, we offer a promise: to be at our students’ side on a journey that culminates in them taking the stage. Whether the stage is their first meeting with a new employer, a first sales pitch or a presentation of a new idea to their lab director, we want our graduates to feel that they are not alone.

Our graduates will enter a workplace that is constantly changing, and that will present significant challenges. They will pitch their ideas for a new television series or a marketing campaign; they will meet with a banker to solicit the loan that will launch their dream company. And at that moment, we want them to know that they carry with them all the lessons learned in their years at Chapman, all the insight they derived from their conversations with faculty and peers, all the knowledge that they gained in the classroom and beyond. They will understand that the time they dedicated to the development of big ideas is still driving them forward.

We know our graduates will show the world they can do anything imaginable, and that is the story we must tell.

Display image at top/President Daniele Struppa poses with former Vice President of Human Resources Becky Campos, left, and biology student Katelyn Dykhuis ’19 after his State of the University Address, during which he unveiled a new brand campaign for Chapman.

This story appeared in the spring 2018 issue of Chapman Magazine.