What is Magis?
You see it on the SJU banners that line City Avenue, the University’s Facebook page, Twitter feeds, recruitment materials and sju.edu. It’s on T-shirts, car magnets and billboards. You may have even spotted it in a major television commercial blitz during the London Olympics, in the grand lobby of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station through September or in Newsweek.
Live greater. That’s the magis.
Magis (pronounced màh-gis), roughly translated, means “the more.” A profound and deeply personal Jesuit concept, it’s about doing more, being more and achieving more than originally thought possible.
“The magis is alive and well at Saint Joseph’s, not in a material sense, but in the actions and choices of a University community that truly aspires for a greater good,” says University President C. Kevin Gillespie, S.J. ’72 (B.S.).
What has become Saint Joseph’s largest-scale integrated marketing effort started as a much smaller project. The University retained a research firm in 2009 to interview leaders in the Philadelphia business community to gauge their regard for SJU and its graduates.
The results? Saint Joseph’s ranked extremely high for “moral and character development,” yet many surveyed were not as aware of the academic quality and successful careers associated with a Saint Joseph’s education, according to Joseph M. Lunardi ’82 (B.A.), associate vice president for marketing and communications.
Further assessment of all institutional stakeholders — alumni, current students, faculty and staff, prospective students and their parents, opinion leaders, and hiring executives — yielded similar results. Respondents, both internal and external, showed less awareness of the enormous growth and innovation SJU has achieved over the last two decades.
“At that point, we knew Saint Joseph’s needed an aggressive, institution-wide repositioning and branding campaign,” says Lunardi, “and we went into overdrive to try to make it happen.” The external affairs team gained the support of the president, the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, staff and students and conducted additional testing and research. A brand platform emerged: The magis at Saint Joseph’s University: Soar Higher, Matter More. The University retained a creative agency to bring it to life.
But how could they define such an ineffable word, magis, for Saint Joseph’s many audiences? After gathering even more feedback, they settled on two directions, ultimately combined into one: Live greater. That’s the magis.
What’s magis? Now you know. And so do more than 20,000 people who have since Googled the term. See for yourself at sju.edu/livegreater.
To see how a linguist looks at magis, read the article by Associate Professor Jennifer Ewald at www.hawkhillnews.com/opinions/2012/12/11/one-linguists-perspective-on-th...