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2013-2014 Annual Report

The Challenge:
Every year, the Office of Finance and Treasurer publishes AU’s independent auditor’s report and accompanying consolidated financial statements as a formal record of the university’s financial activities. UCM’s challenge was to bring these numbers to life by telling the AU story for the 2013–2014 fiscal year in a compelling manner.

The Solution:
The desired outcome for the 2013-2014 Annual Report is that investors will view AU as a successful, stable, and financially healthy contributor to higher education and to local, national, and international communities. Our work begins with researching and analyzing information from several university sources to determine an overarching story arc. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaccreditation team’s decennial campus visit inspired the report’s title, “An American Evolution,” and messaging. The reaccreditation team found AU to be a “transformed institution” with exceptional leadership, strong scholars and researchers, and an increasingly diverse student body.

The Annual Report communicates the theme visually by juxtaposing a vintage sepia photo of campus on the cover with a color photo of today’s campus on the inside cover. The narrative tells the story of “An American Evolution” through an introduction and four sections. Feature stories accompanied by environmental portraits showcase AU’s academic and institutional progress in the quality of its students, faculty, programs, and partnerships; research and scholarship; connections with the larger community; and focus on effecting meaningful change through active citizenship. Quotes from the Middle States report highlight this progress from the reaccreditation team’s perspective. Finally, four spreads in the center of the report add variety and share individual and institutional highlights of the past year through brief stories and candid photos.

Results:
The 2013–2014 Annual Report is an engaging summary of the university’s accomplishments and how they support the strategic plan. UCM created a persuasive document that demonstrates the success and stability of the university through compelling examples of AU’s achievements and expertise.

“Thank you all again for another terrific annual report. As always, it is first-rate and provides a great overview of the exciting things happening at AU. When I use it to share our financial statements and audit report, everyone is more interested in the stories, features, and photos. That speaks volumes, to be able to get bankers off the numbers.” —Doug Kudravetz, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President, and Treasurer