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Scenes from a shoot: Lauren Beaumont '03 was chosen to deliver the opening and closing lines in WPI's new television commercial. In the first photo, she watches director Michael Grasso line up the opening shot in front of Boynton Hall. In the next two, Kristin Wobbe, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, keeps a wary eye out as a camera dolly is wheeled through her laboratory. Finally, Beaumont waits patiently as the film crew prepares to capture her reading of the final line near the end of a long day of shooting.

The sun was sinking in the March sky as the film crew began setting up in Reunion Plaza. A small army of technicians and production assistants quickly assembled a track for the camera to glide along, set up lights and microphones, ran cables, and swept melting snow from the brick walkway.

While the director lined up the shot through his view- finder, a growing crowd of students, faculty and staff gathered to watch. Finally, there was a call for quiet. The camera and tape recorder were set in motion, the clapper was clapped, and the assistant director called, "Action!"

As several student "extras" ambled across the plaza, Lauren Beaumont '03 addressed the camera. "When tomorrow's innovations are made," she said, "I'll be there." She turned to walk into the distance, but quickly bumped shoulders with another student. "Cut!" cried the director. "Let's try it again."

Several takes later, the final scene for WPI's first television commercial was in the can. The 30-second spot, known as "WPI Was There," paints a portrait of a university with a heritage of innovation that takes a different approach to technological education. It is the most widely visible element in WPI's new marketing program, a multifaceted initiative aimed at making more people aware of this institution and the remarkable education it offers.

The brochure bound into this issue of Transformations tells the story of the planning behind this new endeavor, outlines its various elements, and explains its goals. One of the most important of those goals is helping every member of the WPI family understand that they have a role to play in enhancing the university's reputation, and much to gain as more people come to appreciate the qualities that make WPI distinctive.

As you'll see in the message from WPI Alumni Association president Dusty Klauber '67 on Page 30, the association has made supporting the university's new marketing program one of its two priorities for the upcoming year. As Klauber put it in his message to alumni at Reunion, "Given the urgency we have placed on the need to become recognized as the leader in undergraduate technological education, we must find a way to leverage the power of our 26,000 alumni. We must engage them in our marketing effort and create an army of WPI missionaries determined to make WPI a household name."

Armies live or die on good intelligence. Through Transformations, we will continue to do our best to keep you informed about what's new and exciting here on the home front. But that's just a start. I encourage you to do some reconnaissance of your own. Wade into the sea of information available on the WPI Web site, The new home page and News pages are good starting points. Get back to campus, if you can, to see what a remarkable place your alma mater is today.

And once you have all that good information, don't keep it to yourself. Share it with friends, colleagues, young people. Marketers know that there's no communication vehicle quite so effective as word of mouth. Your 26,000 voices, all telling our story, can do much to advance the mission of WPI--as much, perhaps, as the best television commercial.

Michael W. Dorsey

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Last modified: Sep 02, 2004, 13:45 EDT
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