OSU retains Portland firm to help keep Oregon students in-state


CORVALLIS - Oregon State University has retained a Portland advertising agency to help with its marketing efforts to encourage college-bound students in Oregon to remain in the state.

The firm of Cappelli Miles Wiltz Kelly, Ltd. was hired after an extensive search of more than 25 agencies, according to Jill Schuster, OSU director of marketing. The agency was chosen because of its experience and understanding of public opinion as it relates to education issues in Oregon.

Schuster said the goal in hiring an agency was to help "convince Oregon parents and potential students that the state of Oregon offers many outstanding programs at Oregon State University."

"There is a perception - a false one - that the best students in Oregon have to go out-of-state to get a four-year degree," Schuster said. "Oregon taxpayers have shown a lot of interest in supporting higher education. It is important to keep our best and brightest students here because they are the future leaders of Oregon - and their education is critical to Oregon industries and the overall economic health of the state.

"We have many programs that have more demand from industry for jobs than we have students to fill them," she added. "While industry is spending the money to go out-of-state to recruit newcomers for jobs, Oregonians are spending their own money to go out-of-state seeking education."

OSU has been surveying high school students around the state to develop baseline "awareness" measures. One of the reasons some students are opting college in California and Washington may be a lack of awareness of what is offered in Oregon, Schuster pointed out. Beginning this fall, OSU will begin advertising and marketing efforts in selected areas around Oregon.

"What we're doing is taking the stories and the qualities that best exemplify Oregon State University and putting them forward in a much grander fashion," said Bruce Cappelli, principal and creative director for the agency in its Portland office.

"We're developing a marketing plan that is based in market research and trying to feed back to the prospects and key audiences in the marketplace what some of the key offerings and advantages of OSU are," he added.

Cappelli Miles Wiltz Kelly, Ltd. has worked with a number of clients on education issues, including the Oregon Education Association.