Message from the President: Telling Our Story Through 'Purple' Prose


Ambrosians have been talking more colorfully about the university this past semester.

We have been telling our story compassionately, boldly, tenaciously. We have been talking about how we empower, question and stand strong for faith, service, social justice, lifelong learning and the power of enriching lives.

If the paragraph above seems a little heavier on the adverbs than an English teacher such as myself might prefer, the language is accurate, intentional and strategic.

Earlier this year, the university teamed with the Carnegie Dartlet organization to build a digital messaging strategy that can help the entire campus better explain "who" St. Ambrose is to prospective students.

Carnegie Dartlet's Reputation and Personification Strategy method is a research- and consensus-driven approach to helping institutions clearly identify the traits that help define the institution's authentic personality.

Their team then teaches these institutions how most effectively to reveal that personality to the prospective students who are most likely to be attracted to, and succeed at, a university with those traits.

sister joan

It is an important initiative, and it was gratifying last fall to see our campus community - particularly our students - engage in the workshops and processes that helped identify the three color-coded personality archetypes that best define St. Ambrose University.

It was more gratifying to know the process identified our Ambrosian community as predominantly "purple" - empowering, compassionate, caring and inclusive. In fact, Eric Page - the Carnegie Dartlet team leader who just happens to be a St. Ambrose Master of Organizational Leadership graduate - said ours is the most caring campus community he has encountered to date.

The process also identified St. Ambrose as "green" - curious, exploratory and questioning - and "brown" - dedicated, strong, ethical, tenacious and resilient.

The power of this process lies in the campus-wide understanding of the value of confidently conveying who we truly are to potential Ambrosians who are most likely to thrive here.

Previous Carnegie Dartlet clients tell us this straightforward brand of messaging has significantly enhanced their enrollment numbers. More importantly, they say, it greatly has improved retention, year-over-year. When students come to a school that is authentically "who" they were told it would be, they tend to stay.

For those and other reasons, we are unabashedly proud to share our St. Ambrose story as candidly and colorfully as we can.

-Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD

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