Oglethorpe Wins Top Communications & Marketing Awards

In February 2014, Oglethorpe’s University Communications Department was recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) with two top awards for best practices in external relations and graphic design. Oglethorpe competed against colleges of various sizes across the country.

CASE district III awards (2)College Presidents for Gun Safety won the Grand Award (gold) in the category of External Relations Engagement Program. The advocacy initiative was launched by Oglethorpe University President Larry Schall following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012. President Schall drafted an open letter calling for our nation’s government to enact stricter gun laws and to increase consumer safety standards. His letter garnered the support of more than 360 college presidents across the country and the attention of national leaders in Washington.

Carillon Spring 2013 cover high resThe Spring 2013 Carillon magazine won the Award of Excellence (silver) for graphic design. The issue was a collaborative effort of Oglethorpe and EM2, an educational communications company in Atlanta, that has designed the magazine since 2010.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is an international association that serves its member educational institutions and their staffs in development/fundraising, alumni relations, communications, and marketing. Every year, collegiate communication departments submit their latest projects and periodicals to CASE for judging in the annual competition.

CASE district III annual conference awards (3)

University Communications’ Debbie Aiken ’12 pictured with Adam Forrand of EM2.




DRIVEN: From the Test Track to the Autobahn

Scott DeVault ’09 paints a vivid picture: it was only a few months into his internship at Atlanta-based Porsche Cars North America, and he had all eyes of senior management staring at him expectantly.

An intern with the marketing department of the iconic brand, Scott was participating in a strategy session for future marketing tactics. He had just been asked his opinion for which strategy he thought would best reach the company’s target market. He had an opinion, but certainly didn’t expect the experts at the famous automaker to ask for it. However, this was a familiar scenario; Scott had experienced it many times during his classes at Oglethorpe. That gave him the confidence to speak up and deliver an intelligent, thoughtful response that he was proud to contribute.

Scott is not alone in that internship scenario, or at Porsche. Ryanne Arola ’10, who in 2010 was the first Oglethorpe student to secure an internship with Porsche Cars North America, had helped Scott get his foot in the door by suggesting that he apply for an open internship. He impressed his supervisors and was hired as a marketing analyst, and is now one of 10 Oglethorpe alumni working at Porsche, six of whom started out as interns. That’s no coincidence. Porsche’s corporate culture and Oglethorpe’s education seem to complement one another perfectly—and the word is out.

Perhaps one reason that Oglethorpe students fit in well at Porsche is because the two share a similar philosophy. “Internally at Porsche, we use the term ‘entrepreneurial spirit’,” Scott says, “and to me that sounds a lot like what Oglethorpe wants their students to possess upon graduation.” At Porsche, everyone’s opinion is considered and every student and employee is expected to share their unique thoughts. “At Oglethorpe,” Scott says, “it’s not just the curriculum that’s different, but how you are asked to learn it. It’s not about taking notes and regurgitating it on a test—you are asked questions and are expected to provide intelligent answers.”

“(At Porsche) everyone is very interested in what interns bring to the table,” agrees Alexandra (Lexi) Vassell , a 2013 graduate and new permanent hire at Porsche Financial Services. “From day one you are at meetings, they are asking you questions and they want your input. I was never once referred to as an intern; I was always referred to as someone’s colleague.

For Lexi, being a former OU soccer player was the key to helping her land her internship with Porsche just before she graduated. “I received an email notification about an open position in the COO’s office from the career services department at Oglethorpe,” Lexi says, “and I recognized the name of the person who posted the listing as a former teammate from OU.” Lexi reached out (via text message!) to Jamie Dillon ’08, an event marketing specialist at Porsche Cars North America, and soon landed the position. In fact, seven of the ten OU alumni working at Porsche were Stormy Petrel soccer players.
Lexi, now a remarketing advisor for Porsche Financial Services, says that she is confident in recommending Oglethorpe students for open internship positions with her employers, sometimes even when she doesn’t know them all that well. “A student I was familiar with through playing soccer at OU contacted me about an internship position, and the first thing I did was contact Dr. (Lynn) Guhde at Oglethorpe.” After receiving a good reference for the student from her former business professor, Lexi felt comfortable suggesting him for the position. “I’m putting myself out on a limb, recommending someone I don’t really know,” she admits, “but I can trust that since he attended Oglethorpe he clearly has the work ethic that we are looking for.” Lexi has been responsible for the hiring of four Oglethorpe students, whether as interns, contractors or full-time employees.

For Scott, one of the most important aspects of an Oglethorpe education is the close relationships that students form with their professors. “They know the name of everyone in the class and about their career goals and can present opportunities when they arise.”
Scott and Lexi have seen the value of the liberal arts and sciences and Oglethorpe’s Core curriculum in action. Scott transferred to Oglethorpe from a large university, and says, “all I had been studying for three years was business and marketing, and all of the sudden I’m thrown into the Core classes, reading things I never thought I would read and having discussions I never thought I would have.” Those discussions proved to be valuable in his workplace experiences, both as an intern and as an employee at Porsche. “After completing the Core curriculum you likely have a base knowledge about whatever topic is being discussed, and if you don’t, you feel confident that you can learn it because you’ve been in that position before. Knowing a little bit about art, music, business and economics has helped me relate to a wide array of people that I have met while representing Porsche at trade shows.”

“When I was a freshman,” adds Lexi, “some of my friends were at big colleges just sitting in the back of the classroom and felt like they were just a number. Meanwhile, I was presenting to my class a 20-page paper that I wrote about a philosopher or space travel, and my major was in behavioral science and HR! Because of that experience, I was able to walk into my internship with the mindset that whatever they throw at me I’ll be able to conquer.”

At the same time, having a group of fellow Petrels in the workplace has also been helpful for new interns and employees at Porsche. “It’s nice to have several people who know your background that you can go to and not have to feel embarrassed asking ‘dumb’ questions. They will often understand because they had the same questions when they were interns” Scott says. He laughs that new hires from Oglethorpe sometimes get good-natured razzing from other employees: “They say, ‘who the hell are you, and how do you know everyone already?’”

“My boss teases me and has asked if I’m trying to start a ‘cult,’” Lexi says with a smile. “He says that I should work in HR, because anytime there is an open position, I bring him a stack of resumes. Then when someone gets hired and the email announcement goes out, everyone replies with ‘another one from Oglethorpe? How many of you are there?’”
Scott is no longer surprised when asked for his opinion in meetings. Porsche is a good fit for him, and it seems as though his superiors agree. When a position recently opened up in his department, Scott’s supervisor asked him to bring in five résumés. When Scott asked why, the answer was simple: ‘because I want more people like you.’

Distinguished Guests on Campus for Turner Lynch Campus Center Opening Celebration

There was no shortage of distinguished guests on campus for the weekend of festivities celebrating the official opening of the new Turner Lynch Campus Center.

Dialogue & Deliberation, a three-part lecture series on Thursday, October 24, featured national leaders in higher education, philanthropy, and business.

Atlanta CEOs discuss “Closing the Gap,” addressing the economy and the implications of the market for achieving the “American Dream.” Featuring: Jack Guynn, Moderator (Retired President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta); John Wieland, Chairman and CEO, John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods; Robert Balentine, Chairman and CEO, Balentine; Richard Smith, Chairman and CEO, Equifax; and, Thomas Fanning, Chairman, President and CEO, Southern Company.

Atlanta area philanthropists discuss “Philanthropy and Change” and how agents of change can impact their communities locally and around the globe. Featuring:
John Stephenson, moderator and executive director, J. Bulow Campbell Foundation; Lillian Giornelli, president, CF Foundation; Penelope McPhee, president, The Arthur M. Blank Foundation; and, Kathleen Pattillo, co-founder and trustee, The Rockdale Foundation.

University presidents from around the country discuss “What Are We Doing Right in Higher Education?” addressing the state of higher education. Featuring: Kevin Riley, moderator and editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Dr. Mark Becker, president, Georgia State University; Dr. John McCardell, vice chancellor, Sewanee: The University of the South; Dr. John Sexton, president, New York University; Dr. James Wagner, president, Emory University; and, Dr. Lawrence Schall, president, Oglethorpe University.

Kinko's founding partners John and Annie Odell with their daughter Katie Odell, a 2012 Oglethorpe graduate.

Kinko’s founding partners John and Annie Odell with their daughter Katie Odell, a 2012 Oglethorpe graduate.

On Friday, October 25, the Oglethorpe Women’s Network hosted “Why OWNership Matters: Duplicating Kinko’s Success,” as part of the Rikard Lecture Series, which introduces students to current issues in business as presented by successful business and civic leaders.

Guest speakers were Annie and John Odell, parents of OU alumna Katie Odell ’12 and the founding partners of Kinko’s. They shared their inspiring personal and professional success story of growing and expanding Kinko’s. The Kinko’s business model of ownership set a standard for its founding partners and customers to live, work and play in their communities. Annie also spoke about the balance between motherhood and her career, telling anecdotes about her eldest son running around in a playpen at the back of her store, and Katie scanning her face with the copy machines. Her family became a part of the Kinko’s family, and vice versa. She says that the love she and her colleagues had for their work and their customers was the key to their success.

The weekend’s Fall Festival also drew a crowd to experience the new Turner Lynch Campus Center and to celebrate the season:

Omicron Delta Kappa Recognizes Scholarship & Leadership

ODK Large LogoOmicron Delta Kappa is a national leadership honor society that recognizes, what I would like to call the “crème de la crème” of Oglethorpe students, faculty, staff, and honoris causa members. ODK was founded on December 3, 1914 at Washington and Lee University in Lexington,Va. and has been expanding ever since.

Membership in the society is an honor awarded to students of junior and senior status who place in the top 35% of their class. In addition to exceptional scholarship, potential members must be a leader in at least one of the five main phases of college life: athletics, campus or community service, scholarship, social and religious activities and campus government; journalism, speech, and the mass media, and creative and performing arts.

Brittney Blalock '14, ODK President

Brittney Blalock ’14, ODK President

Last December, multiple new members were initiated during the annual Boar’s Head Ceremony, including: Tirzah Brown ’14, Kirsten Glaeser ’14, Kendall Burke ’13, Krista Gray ’14, Jeet Budha Magar ’13, Marisa Manuel ’13, Justin Munson ’14, Corey Ray ’14, Caitlyn Mitchell ’13, Lindsey Mitchell ’13, Kate Siess ’14, alumnus Eli Arnold ’06, board members Arnie Sidman and Jim Hagalow, faculty member Dr. Mario Chandler, and staff member Katie Paden.

Each year, O∆K sponsors five main events: Geek Week, a plant fundraiser, the Boar’s Head Ceremony, a leadership workshop, and the Last Lecture. For those of you who are Oglethorpe veterans, you are very familiar with these O∆K traditions. For those of you who aren’t, just give it some time. You will see the flyers soon enough.

Ali Hadd_s

Alexandria Ree Hadd ’13, pictured with President Schall at the 2013 Commencement, was among only 20 students nationwide who were awarded a 2013 O∆K Foundation Scholarship. From Fort Myers, Fla., Ali double majored in Psychology and Mathematics. She was active on campus, serving as an R.A. and active in O∆K, APO and Psi Chi. Ali is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Quantitative Psychology at Vanderbilt University.

As O∆K’s newly elected president, I am looking forward to the Boar’s Head Ceremony the most. Between my love for the Christmas season and O∆K itself, the ceremony has proven to be one of my favorite experiences at OU. Last but not least, be sure to mark your calendars! The annual plant fundraiser will be held in the new Turner Lynch Campus Center on Tuesday, September 3 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Please be sure to stop by and support O∆K.

If you are a junior or senior and believe that you have what it takes to be a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, applications are now available. I encourage everyone to apply! If you are interested in O∆K and would like more information, you may contact me, Kendra Hunter, or Dr. John Nardo. O∆K is not only an honor but a wonderful opportunity that will allow you to advance your leadership abilities in ways that you would never imagine.

Applications are due by September 13, 2013.