WMU President lays groundwork to advance university marketing

WMU's President, Edward Montgomery delivers his 2018 State Of The University Address. (WWMT)

In his second year as president of Western Michigan University, Edward Montgomery emphasized the need for Western to be more vocal about its accomplishments.

"We want to become - and should be - the school of choice for students seeking a high quality university that is learner centered, whether they are from Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Chicago or Saudi Arabia," Montgomery said while addressing hundreds of students and faculty at the state of the university address Friday.

Montgomery went on to say that Western would be implementing new marketing techniques to better boast the university's image in the United States and around the world.

In a one-on-one interview with Newschannel 3 after his speech Friday, Montgomery acknowledged that the polite and modest culture of the area could have been a double-edged sword in terms of previous promotion efforts.

"In West Michigan we don't beat our own drum and there's a niceness about it ... maybe a modesty about it," he said, when asked about his plans for marketing the university. "But you know, it's not bragging when it's real and it's not bragging when you have the substance, and we definitely have that substance."

Montgomery touted Western's aviation program and jazz studies among the university's other academic areas that deserve more promotion.

In his speech, Montgomery also indicated there would be a shift in strategy to better engage the university's 250,000 alumni with hopes of generating more capital campaigns in the years ahead.

"They know its [WMU] value and want to help us advance our mission," he said. "But when only 4 percent of them give to the campus annually, it should be clear that we need to do a better job at engaging or re-engaging them and our community friends who support both what we do and what we add to this region."

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