Bicentennial Messaging

Talking about the past

Add a name and a face. Who were your founding faculty, and what did they teach? Who are your most famous alumni, and when did they graduate? When we personalize history, we make our stories memorable.

Pay tribute to traditions. The Bicentennial is a great time to talk about traditions: who started them, why they began, and how they’ve evolved.

Give context to time periods. In 1878, when the typewriter was invented. In the 1930s, when jazz was in full swing. Paint a scene by explaining what else was happening concurrently in the nation and world.

Talking about the present

Attribute your success. It didn’t happen overnight. Today’s successes are a result of the people, the thinking, and the discoveries that came before.

Use numbers. Top-ranked programs since when? How many alumni, over how many years? Numbers provide a track record that allows you to tell your story.

Show change. Compare today to 10, 20, or 200 years ago: what’s different?

Talking about the future

Think big. We shape students’ futures, but our students are shaping the futures of entire industries. The future of informatics, computing, and engineering. The future of public health. The future of art and design. The future of medicine.

Make it relevant. How can an IU education change the way people live, think, or interact? How does it add value to the world?

Speak directly. You will make a groundbreaking discovery. We will work together to improve the lives of others. When you speak in first and second person, you include your audience and inspire others to action.

Messaging for specific audiences

Bicentennial messages are relevant for both current and prospective students, at all levels of study, on all campuses.

Current IU students are not only recipients of Bicentennial programming, but collaborators in its development. Many serve as committee members, interns, and volunteers, and they will be invited to participate in Bicentennial courses, lectures, symposia, and other events throughout the 2019–2020 academic year.

You might consider developing special messaging for the Class of 2020, which will graduate during a notable time in IU history, as well as prospective students who have the opportunity to carry on the IU legacy for years to come.

Example messages for students

IU traditions connect you with 200 years of history and 690,000+ alumni.

The Class of 2020 will graduate during an epic year in Indiana University history: as an institution, we are forging into the future right alongside you.

IU faculty are intimately involved with the Bicentennial. They are the primary project committee participants and likely will represent a large portion of attendees at events. They also provide most of the Bicentennial project proposals and course development grant proposals.

Messages to faculty should emphasize the rich academic traditions of IU and the university’s impact on the world.

Example messages for faculty

Your research projects and discoveries are part of a 200-year legacy in the state of Indiana.

Our thirst for changing the world comes from a long history of innovators.

Staff play an important role in the Bicentennial and the success of IU.

Current staff will assist with many events that are held on campus, such as conferences, symposia, and lectures, in addition to serving as team members and collaborators on signature projects and departmental proposals. Internal messages should encourage staff (and former staff) to participate in the Oral History Project and other initiatives during the Bicentennial year.

Overall messages should thank staff for 200 years of ongoing dedicated support, whether or not they participate directly in Bicentennial initiatives.

Example messages for staff

Your hard work has gotten us here, and your hard work will continue to help IU rise to the top for centuries to come.

Help tell the story of Indiana University by participating in the Oral History Project and other projects during the Bicentennial year.

Alumni and donor communications should highlight IU history, traditions, and opportunities to engage during the Bicentennial year.

Encourage alumni from all campuses to engage in activities that will mark the Bicentennial, and to participate as volunteers and committee members where their expertise adds value. This includes alumni from all IU campuses, IU Alumni Association chapters, and the general alumni body.

Recruit donors to assist with specific projects that need funding. This includes donors identified by the Indiana University Foundation and those who are crowd sourced.

Example messages for alumni and donors

Your story is the story of Indiana University, and you share it with hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers who made IU what it is today.

IU has various public audiences, and each will be drawn to different programs and events. Some examples of public audiences are Indiana residents, schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, corporations, campus communities, county fairs and expos, and elected officials.

Be strategic when messaging for public audiences, and be careful not to overwhelm the public with overlapping messages.

Example messages

For two centuries, Indiana University has served Hoosiers across the state.

Did you know? More than 297,000 IU graduates live and work in Indiana.

No old-timey fonts

Although it can be tempting to use fonts that appear old or vintage, there are only three typefaces approved for the IU brand: Benton, Georgia Pro, and Salvo Serif. Never alter typefaces to look old or distressed.

Download IU typefaces