Kennedy School Web Site Asks What You Can Do

December 13, 2007
Doug Gavel

President John F. Kennedy’s iconic call to public service — “Ask what you can do” — will be featured front and center on the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s new Web site, launching in spring 2008.

The more dynamic, user-friendly Web site and new tag line are among several components of the School’s recent Strategic Communications Initiative.

Launched this past year, the initiative seeks to improve the quality and consistency of the School’s communications and marketing materials and to convey in a much more powerful way the unique story of the Kennedy School — its commitment to service, its innovative research, and the impact of its faculty, students, alumni, and staff.

The new Web site will feature a fresh design, improved information architecture and search functionality, audience-specific portals, and a new research gateway that will enhance visitors’ ability to review the School’s significant body of research.

The initiative also includes a series of alumni video profiles, collateral materials, and the development of a new logo. In addition to featuring the School’s official name and shield, the logo will introduce a new shortened identifier — Harvard Kennedy School — in an effort to reinforce the School’s affiliation with Harvard.

“I am very enthusiastic about this initiative, which seeks to honor and build upon the proud tradition of the Kennedy School, while more powerfully and clearly communicating our mission and our message,” said Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood. “It will also provide a springboard for greater visibility and impact at a time when our mission of training enlightened public leaders and developing vital ideas to solve public problems has never been more important.”

Ellwood formally announced the results of the initiative in a recent e-mail to all Kennedy School students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Many responded favorably to the changes.

“This is an excellent move, congratulations! It makes it much easier for future graduates to market the school to employers and students,” wrote Gebhard Ottacher, M.P.A. 2009.

“I like the layout of the new Web site, and appreciate the simplification and clarification of the Harvard Kennedy School name,” said Katie Sieben, MC/M.P.A. 2008.

“The new tag line is superb,” wrote Joy Vermillion Heinsohn, MC/M.P.A. 2008.

Marcus Tonti, M.P.P./UP 2000, wrote, “I am usually skeptical of so-called ‘branding’ exercises but I have to say I think this is a home run.”

The new Web site will be launched this spring with a new URL (http://www.hks.harvard.edu). The new logo and tag line will be utilized throughout the site and in the School’s collateral materials.

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The Kennedy School’s communications initiative, which includes elements such as the new Web site and logo (above), seeks to more effectively highlight the School’s research and teaching programs while underscoring its commitment to public service.