2006-11-16 | U ignites public interest and builds support

Originally published by The University Register: Campus newspaper of the University of Minnesota, Morris

Thursday, November 16, 2006 - Volume 19, Issue 10

daniel j moore

Photo Editor

For anyone who has ever wondered ‘What is my dog thinking?’ or ‘Where will the penguins go when the icebergs melt?’ the University of Minnesota probably has an answer for you. The University has been conducting world-class research for generations in order to answer those kinds of head-scratching questions.

In a new effort to ‘brand’ the University, its teaching, research, and outreach mission, and the amazing contributions of University researchers to the state, officials have launched a comprehensive and innovative marketing campaign, “Driven to DiscoverSM”.

In order to reach the U’s ambitious goal of becoming one of the top three public research universities in the world within ten years, support of the University community, alumni, and all Minnesotans is needed. Research indicates that Minnesotans understand the educational mission of the U, but don’t have a clear idea of the contributions of research activities of talented professors, staff, and students.

“We are all born with a passion to search, with a fundamental need to discover. At the University of Minnesota, this curiosity is part of our collective DNA. We provide a thriving community for those with an overwhelming drive to teach and to learn, to research and to serve. We also celebrate those whose searches have led to discoveries that have changed the world. At the U of M, we continually inspire the next great generation of innovators and empower each other during our search for knowledge. We are Driven to Discover.” This theme will appear throughout the campaign, as well as in speeches by President Bruininks and publications used by the Twin Cities campus.

The television, radio, and print ads inspire imagination, but also offer an academic perspective on some of life’s greatest questions, like ‘What do women really want?’ You might think that question was already answered by Mel Gibson, but Driven to Discover found a psychology professor to answer with a little more credibility. It can also be fun to think about questions like, ‘Is Goldy really a gopher?’

The ads look like a search engine just as Minneapolis’s Olson Agency developed the ad campaign that sometimes makes you wait for the search to take place, then you get the U’s best answer.

UMM Professor Joel Eisinger has supplied the answer to ‘Do the arts reflect society or vice versa?’ though the Morris campus has not yet shown signs of subscribing to the marketing efforts of the University.

But until they do, submit your single greatest question at umn.edu.

Here are the results for your search at umn.edu: Actually, Goldy started life as a ground squirrel. Turns out the artist first commissioned to draw him in 1940 didn’t know his burrowing rodents. He drew what he often saw scampering around Minnesota - a 13-striped ground squirrel. Gophers don’t have stripes at all.