UC Irvine
University Anniversary Celebration

When it was time for us to enlist the support we needed to help us produce events on the grandest scale, we turned to [Stratelyst Creative]. It was one of the best decisions we made and one of the keys to our success in planning, coordinating, and executing our major events.

Thomas Parham

Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs, UC Irvine

OBJECTIVE

October 3, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the University of California, Irvine. In honor of this milestone, two years of celebration events began in June 2014 with President Obama’s Commencement Address at Angel Stadium and ended with commencement in June 2016. Stratelyst Creative (previously Innovative Protocol) was engaged to guide and ultimately produce several of the university’s signature anniversary events including President Obama’s appearance, the 50th Anniversary Homecoming, and UCI’s official 50th anniversary celebration, Festival of Discovery.

 

PROCESS

These tent pole events were designed to capture the spirit and unrivaled growth of one of the fastest growing AAU research universities in the country. After extensive conversations with key stakeholders, Stratelyst Creative presented our University of California, Irvine partner with program outreach and relationship building recommendations, thematic content and design, and technical support proposals as well as detailed timelines to guide the various departments through the progression of events. Over the next 15 months, we shaped the strategic event communications and served as executive producer and technical director for these milestone celebrations.

For its 50th Anniversary Homecoming, Stratelyst Creative relocated UCI’s annual celebration to the center of campus and created unique opportunities for interaction between guests and UCI’s 16 schools by recommending each school host departmental presentations or receptions. Shuttles and walking guides led attendees from school to school so alumni could interact with current faculty and students to discover the amazing things happening on and around campus. A record number of attendees discovered how UCI has become a leader in science, engineering, medicine, humanities, and the arts. Student performers, food trucks, campus games, and a beer garden kept several thousand alumni and their families at the celebration for hours before the chancellor, all 16 deans, and the campus cheer squad concluded the 50th celebration with a sea of confetti – a first for this campus!

The Festival of Discovery – UCI’s official 50th anniversary celebration event – was designed to show members of the Southern California community how the University of California, Irvine was positively influencing the world around them. For this celebration, the Stratelyst Creative and UC Irvine collaboration resulted in multiple exciting firsts including the campus initiating a Fifty for 50 Volunteer Program that encouraged every student, staff, and faculty member to donate 50 hours of community service to mark the 50 years of UCI’s history; the Anteater 5K & Family Fun Run where 802 participants raised valuable scholarship funds for incoming students; a My Virtual Dream dome where participants’ brain waves were transformed into a multi-sensory experience of light, colors, shapes, and sound; the creation of the 50th Anniversary Oral History Project and a mobile UCI historical retrospective; and a campus-wide festival that brought a record 10,000+ guests to UCI for an day of education and interaction with experts at six major pavilions: Ingenuity and Innovation; TEDx UCIrvine; Arts and Culture; Local and Global Impact; Health and Wellness; and Bright Past, Brilliant Future. Fun was also an important element of the day as food, beer, selfie stations, social media interfaces, live performances, and video messaging reinforced the creativity and intellectual vitality that marks this vibrant campus.

 

RESULTS

The University of California, Irvine is poised to continue to its tremendous academic achievement and global impact in the next half century. Stratelyst Creative and UC Irvine partnered to create a series of milestone events that touched more than 55,000 diverse supporters and wove together the narrative of innovation and research that emphasizes the upward trajectory of this world-class public university.

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