Learn with Purpose

A simple message to build a big university image

September 10, 2013
View of the Cu building exterior, a Learn with Purpose ad campaign photo

You’re strolling down the sidewalk in downtown Denver, cars, buses and bikes whizzing by and the bright mountain sun warm on your shoulders. As you turn a corner, you see the writing on the wall, literally:


“Excellent question,” you think, and you lengthen your stride. Just before the sign is out of view, these words pass before your eyes: “Learn with purpose. University of Colorado Denver.”

You have experienced CU Denver’s brand-new identity campaign—the first in school history to put us on TV—designed to demonstrate this urban campus’s appeal to driven students with defined goals. On September 10, students, faculty and staff—and, of course, Milo the CU Denver Lynx—gathered in the Tivoli Turnhalle at a celebratory campaign launch. Watch a video of the event.

“We are proud to promote the great things about this university,” said Chancellor Don Elliman. “Quality academics, driven students and alumni, amazing research and creative work, and a civic consciousness—no other university brings all that, and more, to the heart of downtown Denver.”

A Simple Message

The name of the campaign is “Learn with Purpose,” a message that embodies the essence of our students, who come here to turn big dreams into real accomplishments—no matter where they are in their lives and careers.

With this inspiring message, the university hopes to communicate how it meets the diverse needs of diverse students, with flexible academic options, real-world opportunities and a supportive yet challenging learning environment. We want to communicate how CU Denver builds community, cultivates partnerships and helps define the city it calls home.

“The ‘Learn with Purpose’ campaign represents precisely what this university stands for,” said Sueann Ambron, dean of the CU Denver Business School. “Our students are ambitious, have a vision for their life and come to CU Denver to turn the vision into reality.”

A University First

If you watched the Broncos season-opener you might’ve gotten a taste of the “Learn with Purpose” campaign in CU Denver’s first-ever television ads.

“I love this school, and I feel lucky to do this,” said student Robera Oljira, who appears in a “Learn with Purpose” TV ad. A pre-med freshmen, Oljira came all the way from Ethiopia to study at CU Denver. “I really like the learning systems here, the good professors and all the resources.”

Ads are also appearing on movie theater screens and the sides of buses; you can hear them on radio stations and see them in newspapers and magazines. Additionally, you’ll see mural-like messages on the 16th Street MallRide and on digital screens throughout downtown.

A Dose of Fun

And then there are the buttons—more than 11,000 of them gleaming in the Colorado sunshine on the big “button wall” right on Speer Boulevard at Larimer Street. They all have short, clever messages meant to show we have sharp students—and meant to make you smirk. For example:

  • Public Affairs are my favorite kind.
  • Liberal smArts
  • Smarter than your average Bear, Pioneer, or Ram.

The buttons are free for the taking (while supplies last!), so grab one or two the next time you’re passing by.

“This campaign is very strategic, but it’s also really creative and fun,” said Leanna Clark, vice chancellor for University Communications. “We’re excited for the entire CU Denver community to embrace ‘Learn with Purpose’ and to help us spread the word about the power of CU Denver.”