Students from the West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism’s online Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program have been given the unique opportunity to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases.

Through the partnership with St. Jude, IMC graduate students involved in the capstone course will produce an integrated marketing campaign designed to build brand affinity among high school students across the country to support the St. Jude mission. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, and food – because St. Jude believes that all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

During a web conference kicking off the partnership, Marlo Thomas, National Outreach Director for St. Jude, addressed WVU IMC students, saying, “I understand the value of this partnership to you, but I also thought it would be great for us to get an exciting, fresh viewpoint on what we’re doing?We’re all looking forward to seeing the proposals you come up with.”

WVU IMC capstone student Kris Prendergast says that as a mother, she is very excited to be working with an organization that is fighting for children.
“I knew of St. Jude from PSAs and commercials, but seeing the details and challenges of this capstone project makes me feel more connected to and ready to work hard for St. Jude,” Prendergast said.

Each WVU IMC student is given a hypothetical budget to create a 12-month top-to-bottom integrated marketing communications campaign including, but not limited to: qualitative and quantitative research, a target market description, brand positioning and integrated marketing strategies and at least 10 creative executions.

Chad Mezera, IMC program director, praised the opportunity to work with St. Jude.

“What is consistent this term is our continued mission to teach our IMC students how to properly develop a full integrated marketing proposal so they can do so in their professional lives,” Mezera stated. “What is different is the opportunity to work with the premier brand of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The number of medical breakthroughs and triumphs that they are responsible for is overwhelming, and we’re honored to be able to assist them in pursuing their very important mission.”

The capstone class is the final course in the IMC graduate program. It is a rigorous, comprehensive course that requires students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in previous IMC courses to solve a real-world marketing problem for a real-world client. Most recently, WVU IMC students have completed capstone projects for the American Red Cross.

WVU IMC graduate program

The WVU IMC program was the first online IMC graduate program in the nation and is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary. The IMC program has more than 400 active students enrolled from 43 states and five foreign countries, as well as more than 500 graduates representing 46 states and countries on five of the seven continents. The program caters to mid-level communications professionals. In its most recent starting class, students averaged 8.3 years of professional experience upon entry.



CONTACT: Briana Warner, School of Journalism IMC program

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