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Published: Wednesday, 11/20/2002

Owens shifts focus in new ad campaign

FINDLAY - Those sharp, new television commercials for Owens Community College are part of the fast-growing college's effort to keep parents and prospective students thinking of the school as an affordable, high-quality option for college.

The college's board of trustees got to see the six 30-second ads that began airing last week at its meeting at the Findlay campus yesterday.

Gary Dettling, vice president of college advancement, said the commercials are a break from standard university advertisements and target such audiences as parents, minorities, 18 to 21-year-olds, and 30-somethings.

He and Jennifer Fehnrich, director of public relations and marketing, were hired this year to give a new look and direction to Owens's marketing and communications efforts.

The new commercials, which Ms. Fehnrich developed in conjunction with Hart Associates, are not only about the college's affordability, quality of education, and high-tech facilities but about the college atmosphere that has developed, she said.

“We offer so much more than classes now,” Ms. Fehnrich said. “We really do have a student life on campus now that people don't really realize. We're growing in just about every aspect here at Owens.”

Owens spent about $95,000 to produce the commercials and buy air time on local network and cable stations for the next year.

And, while enrollment continues to grow at Owens - it's up 11.84 percent over last year - Mr. Dettling said the college still needs to sell itself.

“We need to do that constantly because as people come in, people go out, and we're constantly coming up with new programs,” he said.

In other business, Charles Mann, vice president of business affairs, told trustees that Owens is still in line to receive its expected funding for the new Findlay campus in the state's new capital budget.

“We have been so far spared any cuts,” he said. “Because of our critical shortage of space at the Findlay campus, I think the Board of Regents is fully supporting us on this project.”

Owens is to receive just under $9 million to develop the Findlay campus and about $1.1 million for start-up of a new fire and police training center at the Perrysburg Township campus.

Mr. Mann said he hopes Owens will be closing in the next few weeks on its purchase of 60 acres along Hancock County Road 212 on Findlay's northeast side for the Findlay campus. It has outgrown its landlocked facility next to the University of Findlay.

The trustees also were told David T. Brown, president and chief executive officer of Owens Corning of Toledo, will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary degree at fall commencement Dec. 19. The Fortune 500 company and the college were named for Michael J. Owens, a Toledo inventor who mechanized glass bottle-blowing in 1903.

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