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Initiative Spotlight | Commencement 2023

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Renea Morris

Renea Morris

News  •
Internal  •

It was another busy commencement season for the MarComm team. Made even more exciting this year with the opportunity to help spread the news that undergraduate ceremony speaker, Pat Hamill, surprised the graduates in attendance by gifting each one $500.

Our team of Newsroom writers produced a total of 19 stories which to date have received 11,500 pageviews. Fourteen of the stories featured undergraduate and graduate students from across all academic units on campus. The remaining five stories showcased this year’s commencement speakers and the undergraduate, graduate, and Sturm College of Law commencement ceremonies. In addition to the stories living on the DU Newsroom site, they can also be found on the commencement website:

The undergraduate commencement ceremony garnered media attention in light of Hamill’s generosity as he shared with the students and their families the importance of philanthropy, the joy of giving, and the impact of paying it forward. Both proactive and reactive media efforts around this gift resulted in coverage in the Denver Post, 9NEWS, CBS4 Denver, and Denver7. The press release was posted on over 350 websites, and received 25,000 views and more than 300 click-through to various DU channels.

The content marketing teams led several significant projects. The video team created six unique videos ahead of commencement, a record to date, that received broad distribution: three inspiring profiles of students and three pieces featuring multiple student voices offering advice to their freshman selves, thanking someone who supported them through college, or their greatest takeaway from DU. Here is the link to watch the series in a new playlist on the University’s YouTube channel. Additionally, new commencement photos were captured and have been uploaded to Widen for use in future collateral development.

On her first week, our new senior social media specialist, Lainie Fickau, provided live-Tweeting at the undergraduate ceremony as well as real-time highlights of Saturday’s festivities preserved for posterity in a new “Graduation” highlight on DU’s Instagram. The team’s collective efforts led to a 10% increase in impressions with this year’s Commencement social coverage as compared to the same content last year.  While Facebook and LinkedIn were largely flat, the most student-facing channels saw significant growth. Instagram impressions were up 18%, and Twitter impressions were up over 1000% (not a typo!).

facebook post with photos from du commencement

Shout-out to Ben Klibaner, our colleagues in Advancement, and our communications and content marketing teams for swiftly putting together as a place to gather and share stories from students about how they plan to use the gift. Take a peek when you have a moment, and be prepared to be inspired once again by the fantastic students we have here at DU.

Congratulations to all of our 2023 graduates! We wish them well on their next adventures!

Be sure to also read part 1 of the past quarter update and part 2 to get a more comprehensive view of our very busy and productive fourth quarter!

As always, please feel free to reach out to me, Shira Good (, or Johanna Blickenstaff ( with any questions you might have regarding our communications, marketing, or strategic positioning efforts.