The north wall of Gregory Arena in Merner Field House also serves as a poster gallery. On display are 27 “i/we-posters.” What is an “i-poster?” Three years ago, the admission office, working with the marketing firm BD&E, developed the slogan “where you are central” to capture the unique character of a North Central College education. The i-posters tell stories of North Central students and faculty members who personify this theme.
To date, more than 200 have been produced. Some are turned into postcards and sent to prospective students. A few “custom” posters have been created for distinguished alumni and other honorees. The “where you are central” campaign has received national recognition from admissions marketers. But perhaps its most singular honor came when the campus humor magazine The Kindling produced a book of parodies (e.g., “We streak” featuring the men’s cross country team).
To me, the real significance of these posters is the stories they tell. Much of higher education these days is wholesale. North Central is retail — one student at a time, one teacher at a time. To understand us, you need to understand those stories. Listening to the new Athletic Hall of Fame members in January talk about their North Central years (“I would never have made it through without Dean Giere.”), I was reminded that it was always thus.
At our trustee retreat in February, stories from the i-posters were used to initiate a discussion of the stories we can’t tell today — or can’t tell as often as we would like — but want to be able to tell in 2011, when the College celebrates its 150th anniversary.
When we articulate goals for our sesquicentennial like being “the best school of our kind in the nation,” it is easy to translate “the best” into a new Fine Arts Center, a new science building, a tripling of the endowment, and so on. But it’s really all about lives transformed, about the stories we can tell now and the stories we hope to tell in the future … about what happens to students when they come to a place where their learning — their growth — is central to everything we do. I greatly look forward to the stories to come.
Harold R. Wilde
We’re asking North Central alumni and friends to share the College’s stories with potential students — your own children, grandchildren, relatives and neighbors. Please visit our Web site to refer a student to the Office of Admission.
North Central Now, March 2005