The university has retained and is moving forward with SimpsonScarborough, a national leader in higher education brand and market research, for the first phase of the Brand Development Initiative. The project is currently in its research and discovery phase, which includes a review all publications and marketing materials the university uses externally. In mid-December, SimpsonScarborough visited the campus to conduct an intensive four-day intake exercise, which included over 30 internal interviews with more than 100 faculty, staff, and administration stakeholders. A second set of interviews was conducted in January with trustees, regents, parents, and alumni. The third and most comprehensive intake process will take place in the second and third quarters of 2017, which will assess our brand equity, challenges, and opportunities though interview, focus groups, and surveys of prospective student families, business leaders, university presidents and leaders, civic leaders, employers, and other external influencers. Each set of interviews will result in reports and recommendations, along with qualitative and quantitative data, trend syntheses, and analyses. Our brand platform will emerge from these activities and a competitive marketplace analysis.