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Standing Out From the Crowd

By Edward Alton Parrish

Whether you live in Worcester or Wichita, you've no doubt come to realize that WPI is not exactly a household name beyond Central New England. While our faculty, staff, students and alumni have carried our name to the far corners of the globe, and while we've become widely known in some circles (fire protection engineering, for example), our reputation quickly wanes as one moves farther and farther from our own backyard.

How can it be, you may wonder, that an institution that was 30 years ahead of its time in developing the best approach to preparing students for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow's technological world has been so little recognized for its efforts? We've come to realize that excellence in academics and research doesn't translate automati-cally into reputation and prestige. Those qualities are largely a function of who knows you, what they know, and how they see you in comparison to other institutions.

WPI has set out to do something about this challenge--to make a name for the university that will be known and appreciated. We've spent the past year and a half conducting an image assessment that has told us a great deal about how we are perceived in the market-place and what we need to do to become more visible and to be better known for our quality and excellence.

In the months ahead, we will be launching a multifaceted marketing and communications program aimed at putting that vision into action (this newly redesigned magazine is just one element). This is a serious effort, unlike anything the university has ever undertaken. It will involve every segment of the WPI family, including our alumni body.

The stakes are high, but the rewards could be higher still. I look forward to telling you more about this critical effort as it moves from the drawing board and into the public eye in the near future.

-- Parrish is president of WPI.
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Last modified: Sep 02, 2004, 16:09 EDT
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