Lipman Hearne contract not renewed

By Luke Nozicka

The SIU Board of Trustees voted down a contract renewal with Chicago-based marketing firm Lipman Hearne at its special meeting Tuesday in Edwardsville.

Board Chairman Randal Thomas said the board voted against renewing the contract because the firm is not effectively marketing the university. The board tabled renewing the contract during its May meeting for further consideration.

“We thought what we would get for the money we spent would be less than what we got last year and we were unhappy,” Thomas said. “There’s been unhappiness with the results for as long as I’ve been on the board.”


Outgoing Chancellor Rita Cheng hired Lipman Hearne in 2010 to help recruit students by creating a new logo and brand. The original contract was a $1.5 million, two-year contract, which was renewed for $2 million for two years in summer 2012.

The trustees voted to renew the contract for one year at its May 9, 2013 meeting and requested more results from the firm for an extension past 2014.

The university spends $3 million on marketing per year, $2 of which pays Lipman Hearne and $1 million of which pays for advertising.

Rae Goldsmith, chief marketing and communications officer, said the firm builds on work from each previous year as the university does more in-house marketing.

“For example, the first year [with Lipman Hearne as the university’s marketing firm] was spent largely on doing the market research to assess our reputation,” Goldsmith said. “The second year was spent largely on creating tradition student recruitment material. This year we’ve updated those to in-house, we have not had the firm do that for us.”

Board Secretary Don Lowery said he hasn’t seen anything creative the firm has done to help recruit students.

“I’ve seen some of that creative work – billboards that say ‘brain meet heart at SIU’ and I fail to see much creativity in that,” Lowery said. “I haven’t seen anything that seems to implement students to come here. … I don’t think [the firm] has performed. I think they’ve sat in Chicago and decided ‘oh, we can do this.’”


President Randy Dunn said SIU-Carbondale’s marketing staff will have to discussion how to move forward with new ways of marketing the university.

“So staff will come together, look at options for them. It might be that they pull more work in house, they may seek out some new vendors. They may piece the work or parcel it out to a variety of firms,” Dunn said. “It will really be up to them to kind of sit down and decide how they get this work done.”

The trustees also approved salaries for Jason Greene, interim dean of the College of Business, Cheryl Burke Jarvis, associate dean of the College of Business and Jane Swanson, interim of the College of Liberal Arts.

Luke Nozicka can be reached at [email protected]on Twitter @lukenozicka, or 536-3311 ext. 268.