Experience Team Case Studies

Experience Team Case Studies


Browse case studies of past University of Arizona events put on by the Experience team.

1. Outstanding Faculty Awards

Goal: Help Presidential Events & University Ceremonies create an occasion for outstanding faculty across disciplines and career progressions make deep connections with each other, while ensuring they were honored for their extraordinary accomplishments.

Supported Team: University Ceremonies
Stakeholders: Office of the Provost, honorees
Experiential Strengths: Strategy Content Development Event Production Logistics
Project Website: universityevents.arizona.edu/outstanding


How did we help increase audience size and engagement?

Embedded within the PEUC team, we helped to clarify the goals of the experience with the stakeholders, adjust the ceremony and space design according to these new goals, sell in the changes, including pitching and specific budget asks, select the location, give instructions for talent, then stayed to ensure it all went off without a hitch.


Notable changes were:
  • Shortening the ceremony to shift the focus to the reception by replacing long videos for just a few awardees with moving portraits for all, and pre-writing bios for presenters to stick within time limits.
  • Decreasing hierarchy to emphasize excellence at all career stages and creating opportunities for more personal connections between awardees and guests by changing expected dress from regalia to business casual for all, and placing the stage at floor level.
  • Creating moments for celebration and connection by staging the reception around great food, champagne, cafe tables and couches, instead of a sit-down dinner where circulation is difficult.
  • Organically tying the wonderful experience to the university by placing the ceremony out in front of Old Main (while simultaneously managing Covid exposure challenges).
Faculty Awards Ceremony
Faculty Awards Ceremony
Faculty Awards Ceremony

2. Wonder House @ SXSW

Goal: Lead a University of Arizona presence at the international festival and conference, "South by Southwest," that disrupts, elevates and distinguishes us as thought leaders and innovators. Prove to ourselves that we can create something new and extraordinary across traditional campus silos.

Stakeholders and team members: Marketing & Communications, Executive Office of the President, University of Arizona Foundation, Arizona Arts, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture, College of Science, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Visit Tucson
Experiential Strengths: Strategy Content Development Event Production Logistics
Project Website: sxsw.arizona.edu/


How did we reach the goals?

Working with the sponsor colleges as a team, the Experience crew coordinated building the 3-day experience from the ground up. This included project management, strategy, pitching, coaching, and working with the festival, the production company and the City of Austin for every detail.

  • 24 speakers
  • 3 nights of music
  • Live-painted mural
  • Over 9,000 attendees

"You did a stellar job, considerably better than some big players, and for a lot less money. People will be looking for you next year."

- SXSW organizer

3. Art of Food Exhibit Grand Opening: University of Arizona Museum of Art

Goal: Help Arizona Arts & Presidential Events & University Ceremonies create a Gala that celebrated the donation of art provided by the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation and build donor confidence and a deeper connection to the institution.

Supported Team: Arizona Arts, Presidential Events and University Ceremonies
Stakeholders: Executive Office of the President, University of Arizona Foundation, Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, College of Fine Arts
Experiential Strengths: Strategy Event Production Logistics


How did we help create a fully immersive experience?

We brought stakeholders together to facilitate a conversation about unifying goals and mission. Together we envisioned an immersive experience where food and how it was prepared took center stage providing a multi-sensory connection with the opening of the Exhibit.


Notable moments:
  • Food was prepared and presented under a series of tents with chandeliers and lighting to create a focal point for the gala.
  • Theatrical lighting, gobos, and projections were brought in to help transform the courtyard into an elevated theatrical experience.
  • Audience journey was mapped so that every touchpoint was considered and brought into the overall experience from the moment they entered the Arts Oasis.
UArizona event
UArizona event
UArizona event

4. Commencement 2022

Goal: Help University Ceremonies envision, in-sell, stage and produce a ceremony completely in the round that highlights an inclusive, welcoming Wildcat culture for graduates and their families. Commencement is a giant endeavor, much larger than the Experience Team’s contributions, and we were thrilled to help with our part to make it a success.

Supported Team: Presidential Events and University Ceremonies
Stakeholders: Presidential Events and University Ceremonies, Executive Office of the President, Office of the Provost, College Deans
Experiential Strengths: Strategy Content Development Event Production​
Project Website: commencement.arizona.edu/ 


How did we help build an in-the-round experience?

Much like the Outstanding Faculty Awards, but on a different scale, the Experience team was embedded within the PEUC team. We worked hand in glove with them and their stakeholders, vendors and freelancers to clarify the goals, focus the ceremony, adjust and rehearse the staging, build supporting assets and pitch the changes. Of course we stayed to cue the talent and help the show caller. Lastly, we worked with photographers and videographers to adequately capture assets for use by campus.


Notable moments:
  • With a new immersive stage that had several speaking spots, we added in-person on-stage direction (two stage managers!), and a new ‘voice of ceremony’ to introduce talent and prevent any dead air. This Commencement ceremony flowed so well!
  • This East-West multi-focal setup also meant that speakers had to incorporate movement into their speeches, and the audience had multiple places to look. It was tougher stage direction, but a much more engaging ceremony to watch.
  • With a centered stage, the audience was divided into East and West, so we brought in two UArizona pre-show emcees. This diversified the voices AND gave each side a more intimate experience.
  • The hallmark fireworks surrounded the audience, so we worked hard to ensure we captured this tremendous display on camera – still and video – to relive the experience for months!
UArizona commencement behind the scenes
UArizona commencement
UArizona Commencement