Physics alum Sarah Millholland poses for a portrait January 22, 2018 in an Owens Science Hall physics lab.

St. Thomas Hitting the Airwaves to Increase Visibility

“Sarah planned to major in math. Then a physics professor introduced her to the universe. What did you discover at St. Thomas? #WeAreTommies


With a goal of increasing overall awareness for the academic reputation and graduate outcomes of St. Thomas, our Marketing, Insights and Communications team, in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, is launching a new TV, radio and social campaign starting today.

In February 2016, we united all our schools and colleges under one consistent brand look and feel, wrapped in the expression “All for the Common Good.” This next iteration of branding seeks to build on that foundation and provide more specific messaging, particularly to highlight our academic credentials and lesser-known programs. As an example, we know from a survey conducted last summer that less than 50 percent of Minnesotans recall we offer engineering or entrepreneurship programs. We count strong programs in STEM, amazingly supportive faculty-student relationships and undergraduate research opportunities as differentiators that set us apart from other institutions.

"There is a 'special sauce' to the University of St. Thomas, and this campaign gives us an opportunity to showcase that,” said Kymm Martinez, vice president and chief marketing officer for the university. “Students enter through our Arches, some sure of what they want to do while others are still searching, and within their years they all have an opportunity to transform. Key to this transformation is our faculty and the high quality of our academic programs. We want all prospective students to hear these stories.”

The first of three commercials that will air features Sarah Millholland ’15, who discovered her passion for the stars while she was at St. Thomas. Associate Professor Gerry Ruch’s introductory physics course her first year led to a research project that summer modeling planets’ rotations around their respective stars. Today, she is continuing her research as a PhD candidate at Yale and recently discovered 60 new exoplanets.

Three mechanical engineering students take center stage for the second commercial. Austin Lorch ’18, Amanda Tenhoff ’18 and Milad Audi ’19 have been working for several months to create something revolutionary: an implantable device that would capture energy from the beating of a heart and turn it into electrical power to run a device such as a pacemaker.

Schulze School-inspired entrepreneurs Susan and Michael Wuollet, founders of ClotIt, invented a quick way to stop bleeding from minor cuts and scrapes. Already proven effective for animals, the Wuollets are seeking federal approval for human use. They credit support from their St. Thomas faculty as key to their inspiration and ability to start a business.

Taking advantage of a more affordable advertising market after the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics, the campaign will run throughout Minnesota in the major media markets of the Twin Cities, Rochester and Duluth through March and April, including a guaranteed appearance during the Academy Awards ceremony. While influencing decision making for prospective students is not the campaign's primary goal, the timing tucks nicely into the recruiting year, when final acceptances are due by May 1. The primary audiences are parents, teachers, counselors and other prospective student influencers. This is the first time St. Thomas has launched a TV campaign since the early 2000s.

Faculty, students and staff are encouraged to share the videos, images and stories as they appear on social media and in the Newsroom, and use the hashtag #WeAreTommies.