To support a broad array of innovative initiatives, the university launched a bold new Inquiry and Impact fundraising campaign. With a goal of $4.5 billion, this is the most ambitious campaign in UChicago’s storied history.
The university turned to Freeman to create an event that would build momentum for the campaign. However, the university has usually shunned the spotlight, instead preferring to let its achievements speak for themselves. This event was an opportunity to transform the way the university engages with the public. Accordingly, the event needed to be an authentic UChicago experience.
A multi-faceted approach
We worked hand-in-hand with key internal university teams to create an experience that genuinely reflected the university’s inimitable style.
Rather than focus on past achievements, we wanted to celebrate the outstanding work UChicago researchers, professors, and students are accomplishing around the world today. The event started with an interactive exhibit in a main university hall, where display pods highlighted current breakthrough research. Hands-on demonstrations and live Skype sessions with university researchers in Paris, Shanghai, Kabul, and more were designed to bring the world to the university and the university out to the world.
Next, the audience moved into the theater for a touching presentation that blended personal stories from students and faculty with short addresses from the chairman and the president.
The final component was a sit-down dinner in the central campus courtyard.
Architectural lighting on the trees completely recreated this familiar space, while a 3-D multimedia video projected on the tent ceiling shined a spotlight on the university’s grand heritage and ongoing tremendous impact, providing an emotional close to an impressive evening.
Thanks to our collaborative partnership with UChicago internal teams, the tone, messaging, and execution of the event were spot on. The campaign is breaking records, and the university plans to take this event to locations around the world, allowing it to strengthen connections with alumni and friends wherever they may be.