University of Maryland College of Computer Science

When everything goes sideways, forge ahead.

For a two-year period, the University of Maryland seemed to only be responding to crisis after crisis. As negative stories mounted, they hid some of the amazing things UMD was achieving. The opening of The Brendan Iribe Center, the new state-of-the-art computer science building, coinciding with Amazon announcing that its second headquarters (HQ2) would be located near College Park provided a moment for UMD to begin writing its own story.

If you’re talking to consumer brands, speak like one.

During interviews with UMD faculty and staff, we uncovered that UMD had, in fact, the largest computer science program in the nation, which would be a huge benefit to companies like Amazon. So, our campaign showcased the school’s size, history of expertise, and incredible alums (hello, co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin). The campaign launched the new Iribe Center and ran throughout the greater Washington, D.C., metro area with the wit and energy of a consumer brand.


The campaign launched at the same time the new Iribe Center opened to the UMD community. Both excited and proud by the buzz of the campaign, campus leadership showcased it in buildings across campus.

In addition to creating broad awareness, the campaign also targeted C-suite decision makers in the tech industry. The goal was to educate them on the size of UMD’s computer science program and the low cost of living in College Park so they would consider starting business operations there.

One strategic partnership could pay for the entire campaign—and then some.

The campaign drove to a website,, where partners could learn about the size and stature of UMD’s computer science program and the burgeoning town of College Park. Interested partners could set up an appointment to recruit students or inquire about establishing business operations there.


Unaided awareness about the strength of the University of Maryland’s computer science program is now the highest among all competitors in the region. The reputation campaign also earned positive media, created new corporate sponsorship opportunities, and laid the groundwork for the opening of a satellite campus in Crystal City near Amazon HQ2.


Creative Director: Stephen Penning
Strategy: Corey Levin
Writers: Brendan Quinn & Jim Walls
Designer: Ryan Katrina
Web Design & Photography: University of Maryland Office of Strategic Communications