50th Anniversary Campaign
Simon Fraser University
How can an institutional milestone help deepen supporter engagement?

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Use a milestone celebration to help change perceptions of top-ranked but young institution.


SFU’s 50th anniversary presented an opportunity to reconnect alumni and supporters to the university’s journey from a “radical campus” to Canada’s most community-engaged research university. Aligning 50th anniversary programming with the goals of the broader brand strategy helped to validate the new engagement narrative.


  • Launched a 50th year program using arts + culture, innovation and community engagement content to bring the university's brand to life.

  • Developed a marketing strategy featuring institutional advertising, targeted influencer outreach and a reimagined engagement approach across owned and earned channels.

  • Convened a pan-university steering group to socialize and promote digital toolkits and brand ambassador programs


The year-long program changed perceptions among influencers about SFU’s top-tier record on innovation, engagement and research. Programs and events increased alumni and donor participation and engagement, and the campaign created enduring internal communication structures and processes.

The #SFU50 team was recognized with International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Gold Quill award.