9 Jun 2011

All posts from 9 Jun 2011


Making The Change: Graduation and Awards to Savage, Starbucks

Today was a joyous day. We graduated our largest cohort of MCDM’ers at a beautiful open-air ceremony. Here’s what I told all those who attended:

“To give you a sense of the strong personalities that populate our Master of Communication in Digital Media, one of our graduating students updated (Brook Ellingwood) his Facebook status with this today.

Today, after years of struggle and hard work, I will at last achieve my lifelong dream: To wear clothes based on what priests wore in the 12th century.

Our students appreciate and respect the institution that is granting them this well-earned accreditation today.  But we also recognize the seismic changes that are occurring across every institution as technology continues to disrupt business models.

Including the time-tested business model of the university.  Maybe that’s why I’m wearing a suit instead!

The MCDM is a rigorous master’s degree for accomplished communication professionals who want to navigate this disruption and seek out the opportunities that are emerging every day.  The graduating students who will walk across this stage represent the very best of their fields and have exerted true blood, sweat and tears to earn this degree.

During their time in the program, they’ve produced social media strategies for non-profits like the United Way, video campaigns for the Pacific Science Center, strategic communication plans for startups.  They’ve pushed themselves intellectually to understand where communication is going with regards to mobile platforms, gaming and in emerging markets.  They are leaders in every sense of the word, and we applaud them wholeheartedly for their achievement today.   Especially during this tumultuous time.

Indeed, just today, we announced that we will recognize two Puget Sound-based initiatives of national impact that embody our philosophy of disrupting traditional communication models with innovative digital solutions.  One is Starbucks, for its innovative new Digital Network, which is in essence a media outlet available to everyone who frequents their stores across the United States.  The other is Dan Savage and Terry Miller for their groundbreaking “It Gets Better” Campaign on YouTube, as a beacon of hope to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teenagers.

We’re granting each of these initiatives the Anthony Giffard “Make The Change” award.   And that’s exactly what our graduates have done by achieving this degree, and what they will do as they engage the world with their talent and vision.  They will all, “Make The Change.”

Join me now as we recognize the largest graduating cohort in the history of the MCDM.  My colleague Anita Verna Crofts will read the names.  Scott Macklin will capture the digital media.”

Tomorrow, at our Screen Summit event,  we’ll be honoring Dan Savage and Terry Miller for their “It Gets Better” campaign to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender teens (connecting to two of our Four Peaks of “Community” and “Story”). See our Flip The Media post with Savage last year.

And after hosting Adam Brotman in our Strategic Research class last fall, we recognized the “game-changing” nature of his Starbucks Digital Network (representing our Peaks of “Innovation,” “Entrepreneurship”).

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Making The Change: Graduation and Awards to Savage, Starbucks