University of pennsylvania

Capturing the power of one of the world’s great universities.
How long does it take to get a university with four undergraduate and 12 graduate schools, a health system, museums and arts venues, and over 170 research centers and institutes ready for a comprehensive fundraising campaign? If you’re the University of Pennsylvania, the answer is: not as long as you think. Because we’d helped Penn test, message and brand its previous multi-billion dollar campaign, Making History, we knew how to help – quickly.

what we did

Research + discovery
Campaign Narrative + messaging
Academic unit messaging + plans
Concept testing
Brand platform + system
Donor magazine
Message and brand workshops
Event strategy

Inclusion. Innovation. Impact.

Building on the concepts set forth in President Amy Gutmann’s Penn Compact roadmap, we wrote the insider campaign narrative, then moved swiftly to activate the Compact’s pillars as core messages. Then the real work began. Our deliberate, inclusive process involved meeting with every dean and development director across the University, to test messages, develop proof points, and accelerate campaign readiness. The resulting comprehensive message book mapped every unit’s priorities to those at the enterprise level. SteegeThomson-led message training workshops prepared communicators and frontline fundraisers to tell the campaign’s story.

knowledge for good

Our creative sprint produced a bold concept that seemed to sum up the moment: The Power of Penn. When it was embraced by Penn’s leadership, we added a tagline that spoke to a powerful point of differentiation for a university that leads in interdisciplinary, applied thinking: Advancing Knowledge for Good.
A graphic lockup with the Power of Penn logo in vertical format on the left, and a detail of the stippled dots in the logo on the right.
A graphic demonstrating different applications of the Power of Penn logo across the different colleges at UPenn.
A diagonal layout of slides from the Power of Penn brand kit.

a global roadshow

To support a global fundraising agenda, we collaborated with the University team to create a robust event strategy reflective of Penn’s broad impact, creating thematic films on core themes of inclusion, innovation and impact that showed both the dynamism and the humanity of the Penn ecosystem. A varied cast of students, faculty and volunteers in each road show location brought home Penn’s power to integrate knowledge across disciplines.
“The Power of Penn Campaign is about opportunity that transforms lives, ideas that spark solutions, and action that changes the world.”

amy gutmann

President, University of Pennsylvania, 2004-2022


Our three pillar films – framed around the themes of inclusion, innovation and impact – tell the Penn story at a human level. They also demonstrate Penn’s longstanding commitment to integrating knowledge across disciplines to drive progress. Inclusion focuses on the role of financial aid across the University in building the diverse cadre of thinkers and change-makers the world needs. Innovation tells the story of Angela Duckworth and Katie Milkman’s powerful Behavior Change for Good Lab, which unites experts in the social sciences, medicine, computer science, and neuroscience to solve the problem of enduring behavior change. Impact shows how collaborations between medicine and veterinary medicine help to put Penn first in the race to cure cancer.





A magazine for high capacity donors brought the campaign’s impact across the University to life in real time. Areas of focus included support for first-generation, low income students, major capital projects (including a new Patient Pavilion and major Penn Museum renovations), new programs, newly endowed faculty positions, and key volunteers.
The Power of Penn raised more than $5.4 billion, making it the most successful fundraising campaign in the University’s history.






first-time donors




Let’s make something
brilliant together.
Let’s make something
brilliant together.
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