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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

From “Follow Your Passion” to “Make Your MISSOURI STATEment,” MSU’s New Branding Campaign


Like in any business, there may come a time when organizational messaging needs a refresh. That time is now for Missouri State University, according to President Clif Smart.

For approximately eight years, the school’s slogan of “Follow your Passion, Find Your Place” has been used on university stationary, billboards and in speeches and marketing campaigns.

“So we wanted to take a look and see if there were ways that we can not discard that [old slogan] but to take some language, build on it and really showcase the university that we are now,” says Smart.

That includes “younger, crisper “ graphics and the new tagline “Make Your Missouri STATEment,” which brings energy and is action oriented, according to Smart.  

“We’ll be focusing on how people live out their lives, live out the public affairs mission, engage in their communities to make a difference.”

The university teamed with Ologie, a branding strategy agency, last summer. Various groups on campus, including students, staff, faculty, alumni and donors have been included in the process. The branding guidelines were introduced in late February.

MSU’s Public Affairs Mission has come under some scrutiny in recent weeks, after a group of students called into question the professional behavior of Juan Meraz, the assistant vice president of Multicultural Services, and the school’s subsequent response to a complaint filed against him.

Smart says the new branding campaign will serve as another opportunity to promote and follow through with the school’s guiding principles.

“The Public Affairs Mission of ethical leadership, community engagement, cultural competence is at the center of this branding. We’re not deemphasizing that. This is a way to further emphasize it and talk about it. And so I think that will come through loud and clear with this new branding effort.”

Smart says the campaign will be phased over a few years, adding that officials are not immediately removing the old slogan from existing materials. In the coming months, people will start to see a different look in recruiting materials, websites and university banners, he says.