The Challenge

Drive unprecedented participation during Emmanuel’s centennial celebration.

Emmanuel College came to Primacy with an ambitious goal: to produce the best centennial website the higher education community has ever seen. The site experience needed to be a hub for their massive yearlong event, keeping community members engaged, informed and excited for ongoing celebrations — all while supporting an important fundraising opportunity, so that Emmanuel can continue to grow for the next 100 years.

The Insight

Emmanuel’s rich history is the foundation for an even brighter future.

The celebration was as much about the potential of what’s ahead as the accomplishments of the past. So we decided to develop a two-tiered content development approach: The “First 100” content focused on nostalgic yet unexpected images and information that would inspire participation in the celebration, while the “Next 100” content focused on Emmanuel’s vision for the future and the importance of their fundraising.

Emmanuel College Centennial Website shown on different devices.

The Research

We learned from the people who made up Emmanuel’s story.

The centennial website wasn’t just about marking the Emmanuel's 100th year. They wanted the website to connect with alumni, students, faculty, donors and others to integrate storytelling with unique opportunities for users to contribute their own stories. So we needed to discover the magic that made up Emmanuel's 100-year history. And that's what we did. We immersed ourselves in the campus, talked to students and sifted through thousands of old photographs that told the story of Emmanuel's first one hundred years.

The timeline uses photography to take visitors on a unique journey through Emmanuel College's rich history.

Vintage black and white photo of Emmanuel College students
Vintage photo of two individuals in front of Emmanuel College Library signage
The Emmanuel College timeline.

The Ideation

We wanted to delight users with personal touches that brought them back to their time at Emmanuel.

We didn’t want to design a website that simply told visitors the story of Emmanuel College’s first 100 years. They needed to be a part of the story itself. From sharing their own memories and photos, to fun, weekly polls, we aimed to create an experience that encouraged alumni and friends of the college to engage, contribute and keep returning for more.

Users are encouraged to join the celebration by adding their own photos, videos and stories.

Favorite Emmanuel College tradition

“We’re thrilled with how the website turned out – it showcases a century of mission, community, academic excellence and a vibrant campus in the heart of Boston...the project was a joy to produce with our partners at Primacy.”

Molly D. VP of College Relations, Emmanuel College

The Outcome

We created an engaging experience that was part of the celebration itself.

High levels of engagement, unique storytelling opportunities and a clean user experience made the centennial website a success. It was so well executed, in fact, that it won three awards from the Council for Advance and Support of Education (CASE), including the prestigious Gold Circle of Excellence Award. Special note was made of the clean and focused user experience, as well as the integration of current students into storytelling. It also received the 2019 WebAward for Best Events. 

Arguably even better than winning awards, the site’s interactive modules compelled users to explore the site and share their most memorable stories. Through these memories, we learned about Emmanuel’s annual clam bake; Judi B., who wore her robe all senior year in 1964; and Rebecca H., who graduated college alongside her mom in 2016 — just to name a few. Some met their best friends, spouses and mentors there, and they shared experiences that will help carry the new wave of alumni through the next century.