The University of Washington had engaged a new President and was about to launch the public phase of a 2 billion dollar capital campaign. To succeed, they needed to broaden support among business and civic leaders, the public, faculty and students, and the donor community. At the same time, they needed communicate the their commitment to expand the scope and power of education, advance the frontiers of health and science, cultivate and protect the environment, foster an active and diverse culture, and promote economic vitality.
The UW hoped to launch all of this with one spectacular day of events.
As we now know, the UW turned to The Workshop for help – the beginning of a ten-year working relationship. Together we created a two-stage series of events to frame the celebration and the story.
First we developed a public arena celebration called “Come Together Washington,” connected to a private recognition gala.
The First Event
For the first event we developed a layered and dynamic experience that featured 32 faculty-student showcases, remarks by new UW President Mark Emmert, a live satellite discussion with UW faculty and students from around the world, and a keynote address from Bill Gates.
The program concluded with heartfelt words from a cross section of the community telling how the UW affects lives. The finalé brought the audience to their feet, and tears, and succeeded in bringing the many audience together with a deeper connection to the UW and instilled a belief and the importance of the Campaign.
The Second Event
The second event was a private recognition gala, that began immediately following the first event, and designed to connect the stories and with the people who support the University of Washington’s mission. The “Recognition Gala” was a grand and elegant spectacle held in the completely transformed UW indoor football & track facility. The event began in an intimate and luxurious reception space. Then, the entire wall of drape glided back to reveal the spectacular 1,200 seat dinner environment.
The program, enhanced by interactive multimedia built into the room’s architecture and stage featured a performance by the full UW Symphony and a multi-layered donor recognition program. Following closing remarks, a completely new reception space was revealed featuring a live concert by Huey Lewis and the News.