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The Branding of American Colleges

After reading an article called “College Branding” on the Neuromarketing Blog, I did some digging and came across a website that serves as a database for U.S. college and university taglines. It’s addictive but take a look.

There are apparently over 3,500 taglines on I’ve checked out a few and jotted down the more intriguing ones, from a branding standpoint. PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Central Connecticut State: Start with a Dream. Finish with a Future.

As you might imagine, many of these schools focus on themes of future achievement and post-graduate success. Central Connecticut ties together pre-college aspiration with post-college achievement pretty succinctly. The tagline also suggests that the school turns less tangible dreams into practical futures.

Miami University, Oxford, OH: For Love and Honor

Sounds like a rallying cry from Braveheart but definitely purposeful.

Bowling Green State, OH: Changing the world by degrees

A few schools use puns involving “degree” and the less heavy-handed ones seem to work better. South Georgia College, for example, uses A Degree of Difference. These two taglines, particularly Bowling Green’s, say something meaningful independent of the play on words.

University of Alaska, Fairbanks: Latitude with Attitude

This slogan would be great for a tourist destination in Fairbanks or for Fairbanks itself. Not sure how well it does for a university. The school also uses the slogan America’s Arctic University and A 360+ Million-Acre Classroom. They’re really running with this tourist angle. An effort for out-of-state applicants?

University of Vermont: The Greatness within Our Grasp

This is a good tagline but would be much better as Greatness within Your Grasp. They’re probably aiming for a sense of community and inclusiveness by using “Our,” but the tagline could suggest that the greatness of the university itself is not yet attained but within reach.

University of California, Berkeley: Let there be light

An excellent motto for a school, especially a progressive one like Berkeley. It seems not only to be welcoming the light of progress but affirming and celebrating it as well.

Southern Oregon University: Regionally responsive, Nationally recognized, and Internationally engaged

I like how seamlessly this slogan builds Southern Oregon from a regionally to an internationally involved school.


Notre Dame: Nowhere but Notre Dame

This tagline works insofar as it suggests Notre Dame is like no place else on earth. To students who are apprehensive about attending a school in a rural setting (i.e. in the middle of nowhere) this slogan might be less helpful.

Emory University, Atlanta, GA: The Prudent Heart will Possess Knowledge.

Here we have the ring of a Japanese haiku or Confucian motto. It’s also somewhat intriguing to consider a heart, rather than a mind, possessing knowledge.

Montreat College: Christ-Centered Student-Focused Service-Driven

Succinct and strong.

Princeton University: Princeton in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations

From what I can tell, this is one of the few non-religious schools that emphasize “service” in its tagline, just as Harvard is one of the few secular schools that emphasizes “truth” through its motto of, well, Truth (Veritas, actually). By mentioning service to all nations, Princeton also reminds us of its global stature.

Central Christian College of Kansas: Where Christ is Central.

Had a good laugh with this one so I thought I’d share.

St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD and Santa Fe, NM: The following teachers will return to St. John’s next year: Homer, Euclid, Beethoven, Plato, Newton, Tocqueville…

With any other school, this tagline would be a little too clever, but with St. John’s it might work since it teaches “great books of the Western tradition” curriculum.

Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH: Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.

Wow.  Antioch, which, according to its website, appears to be temporarily closed, uses this quote from its first president, Horace Mann. A bit severe of a choice, especially considering Mann’s many other sayings, but definitely memorable.

NewSchool of Architecture and Design, San Diego: Imagine America

Visionary meets built environment. Seems perfect for an architecture school. While exploring more patriotic school taglines, I also came across Woodbury University, Burbank, CA: Achieving the American Dream.

Arkansas Baptist College: It’s a GOoD Thing!

Thanks, Martha!

So tell me your favorite tagline, and if you check out the database, fill me in on any others worth seeing.

1 comment to The Branding of American Colleges

  • College Branding: Taglines…

    One of the great things about social media is that a conversation can be extended quickly between sites and even continents. Such was my experience with my College Branding post. The first extension of the conversation was by Lou Caravella of Vital …