Launching a Name Change Campaign for William James College

Launching a Name Change Campaign for William James College

Client: William James College

Website Category: Corporate, Education and Nonprofit

BBJ-5.21Situation Analysis:

In April 2014, William James College (then the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology) sought an outside partner to help garner local and national media coverage for the school and faculty in order to enhance its visibility in the regional and national mental health community. Schneider Associates (SA) was retained as the agency of record and immediately went to work, pitching story ideas to the media to reach our goal. Not long after the start of our engagement, in the fall of 2014, William James College mentioned that it wanted to change its name to reflect its 40-year legacy of educating mental health professionals and its growth into an institution the size of many small colleges.

SA developed a comprehensive media and social media strategy around the name change, holding frequent calls with William James College and its other agency partner, Sametz Blackstone Associates, to coordinate the official launch of the new name on May 7, the date of William James College’s annual gala.


  • Raise awareness of the William James College name change from Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology to William James College
  • Establish William James College as a leader in the graduate psychology education space

Strategies and Execution:

  • Assisted with development of messaging around the name change
  • Developed press release and pitch announcing the name change and the gala
  • Developed a media list of publications to pitch about the name change
  • Pitched regional, national and trade publications with the name change news
  • Developed a list of frequently-asked questions about the name change for the William James College website
  • Assisted with drafting letters and communications from the William James College president about the name change
  • Assisted with responding to student and faculty questions and concerns about the name change
  • Developed social media calendars promoting the name change
  • Secured media opportunities promoting the name change gala
  • Attended the gala and assisted with media at the event

boston-globe-1Measurement and Results:

Schneider Associates secured media placements about the name change and the gala in the following publications:

  • The Boston Globe
  • The Boston Business Journal
  • New England Psychologist (2 placements)
  • New England Journal of Higher Education
  • Lynn Happens
  • Lynnfield Patch
  • Peabody Patch
  • Salem Patch
  • Wakefield Patch

A year after the name change, the New England Psychologist did a follow-up story about a visit to the college by descendants of William James, the father of American psychology. They were honored to be a part of the William James College story, and the college continues to grow in part as a result of its new name and identity. Under its new name, William James College faculty have been featured in outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and Univision.

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