Amy Gutmann is slowly becoming a "world-class rock star."
Since the kickoff of Penn's $3.5 billion capital "Making History" campaign, news of the school's undertaking has appeared in a variety of publications, from The Philadelphia Inquirer to The Times of India.
But beyond giving the University an image boost, communications experts say the campaign, the largest in Penn's history, is likely to do great things for Penn President Gutmann.
Launching a successful campaign "certainly reflects well on the people in leadership positions," said John Moscatelli, the senior vice president of Philadelphia public-relations firm Anne Klein Communications Group. "It shows that person has the leadership to make their visions real."
But good publicity doesn't necessarily mean the money is going to come pouring in more quickly.
"Media coverage does not lead to gifts, not directly," Carol Thomson, president of the West Philadelphia-based PR firm Steege/Thomson Communications said. "People make gifts to a place like Penn because of their relationship to the University, not because of something they read from the newspaper."
In an e-mail, University spokeswoman Lori Doyle added, "Positive media coverage about the campaign itself is helpful but in the long run, positive media coverage about the wonderful things happening at Penn . will have even more of an impact."
At the same time, the publicity from a fundraising campaign "can give people insight and confidence in the future of the organization... [which] helps the school to recruit top students [and] retain top faculty," Moscatelli said. "It keeps the school on the cutting edge."
And general praise is given not only to the school but also to everyone involved.
"A president who can successfully lead a campaign like this is a world-class rock star in terms of academia," Ronald Hanser, president of Hanser & Associates, a public-relations firm based in Des Moines, Iowa, agreed.
"For people who have not been paying close attention to the University, it will turn their heads," he added. "And for people who are already involved, it has the potential for supporting their opinions about the University."
It can show the public that Penn is "a place that is on the move" and committed to its goals, Thomson said.
Steege/Thomson has worked with Penn since June 2006 to prepare for the campaign's public launch, producing the campaign video and brochures for several of the schools' individual fundraising efforts.
"This is definitely a defining moment not only for me, but for everybody involved in this campaign," Gutmann said. "This is really Penn's moment."
A successful PR strategy for the capital campaign can set the tone for Penn's future.
"It shows that the school . has a vision and it shows that other people are buying into the vision or excited about it enough to invest . [and] help make it a reality," Moscatelli said.Comments powered by Disqus
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