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UMass Boston launches new marketing campaign

Aims to highlight school’s diversity, and to draw students from beyond Boston

The library building on the campus of UMass Boston, in 2016.Jim Davis

The University of Massachusetts Boston wants you to know more about what it calls the city’s “best kept secret”: itself.

That’s the thrust of a new brand and marketing plan, to be announced Monday, that frames Boston’s only public research university as a modern institution ready to tackle the challenges of the future.

UMass Boston’s title as the most diverse university in New England is central to the campaign. With a student body that hails from over 140 countries and where 60 percent of students have parents who did not attend college, UMass Boston represents the future of higher education in Massachusetts, and in the United States, said Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco.

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“That diversity is a beautiful canvas that tells the human story in the 21st century,” said Suárez-Orozco. “We live in a world that is ever more interconnected, and that world lives in our quad, our corridors, our classrooms, our laboratories, and our dorms.”

The campaign calls UMass Boston a university “for the times,” one that works to address the defining challenges facing the world today like climate change — a particularly urgent issue for the oceanfront campus.

“This is a domain where our scholars, our scientists are working very closely with communities to get in front of a crisis,” said Suárez-Orozco. “So I think because of our geography, because of our history, because of our demography, we are a university for the times.”

New logo for UMass Boston.Courtesy of UMass Boston

UMass Boston’s new brand comes during a time of change for the university, which is currently transforming its campus with an ongoing large-scale construction project to create a new quad. New leadership has also joined the university in the past two years, with Suárez-Orozco taking over as chancellor in 2020 and Joseph Berger assuming the role of provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs in 2021.

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As higher education becomes an increasingly competitive market, the rebranding is also an effort to attract prospective students to UMass Boston. The school opened its first on-campus dorm in 2018 and has worked to draw students from beyond its longtime base of local commuters.

“We’re endeavoring to continue to grow international students and students from the Northeast,” said Suárez-Orozco. “We believe we have this little hidden jewel. ... And we need to tell the story better.”

The branding campaign will be promoted on billboards and in broadcast, social, and print media. Suárez-Orozco expressed excitement at the new opportunity for UMass Boston to demonstrate what the future of higher education should look like. The effort will cost $1.5 million, the university said.

A focal point of the campaign is the university’s new logo, which now prominently features its mascot, a beacon. Suárez-Orozco said the addition signifies UMass Boston’s role as a leader in urban higher education.

“In troubled times, the beacon illuminates,” he said. “The beacon shows the way to a better, safer, healthier, more democratic, more engaged future.”


Annie Probert can be reached at annie.probert@globe.com.