Razorbug Diploma Tour Wins Global Campus Innovation Award

Top row, left to right: Patty Milner, Christina Smith, Vicki Martin.  Middle row, left to right: Kay Murphy, Heidi Wells, Leonard Ridley.  Bottom row, left to right: Kandi Buck, Yakeshia Jenkins, Caroline Chandler.

photo submitted

Top row, left to right: Patty Milner, Christina Smith, Vicki Martin. Middle row, left to right: Kay Murphy, Heidi Wells, Leonard Ridley. Bottom row, left to right: Kandi Buck, Yakeshia Jenkins, Caroline Chandler.

The Global Campus Marketing and Communications team accepted the unit’s Lightbulb Award for organizing and leading the Razorbug Diploma Tour in October. This innovative promotional tour of Arkansas celebrated graduates of online degree programs by bringing their Razorback-style diplomas to their hometowns.

The Razorbug Diploma Tour traversed 43 counties in three weeks and delivered 16 framed diplomas to graduates living in the Arkansas area, thanks to the combined efforts of multiple Global Campus teams, academic colleges, the Admissions Office, the Office of the Chancellor and University Relations and welcoming groups in cities across the state.

On the tour, representatives from academia presented five bachelor’s degrees, ten master’s degrees and one doctorate in front of the Razorbug – a converted red Volkswagen Beetle with a razorback muzzle, tusks, razor-sharp spine and curled tail. These graduates were among the 440 U-of-A students who studied online and graduated in May 2022. The tour ran from June to August with three separate stages.

“This was a tremendous team effort and required complex coordination with senior management, faculty, staff, students and outside partners such as graduate employers, photographers and videographers,” said Cheryl Murphy, vice president of distance education and global campus leader .

Global campus staff who traveled with the tour worked 9- and 10-hour days outdoors in extreme heat, often in the triple digits, to orchestrate individual graduation ceremonies. Staff who traveled with the tour:

  • Kay Murphy, Director of Marketing and Communications
  • Heidi Wells, Content Strategist
  • Patty Milner, Associate Vice President, Student Outreach and Innovation
  • Leonard Ridley, Manager of Web Design Services
  • Kandi Buck, Marketing Coordinator
  • Luke Gramlich, specialist in video projects
  • Kati Williams, Online Student Coaching Coordinator
  • Cheryl Murphy, the director of the Global Campus

“Kay Murphy did an excellent job of planning and delegating this larger than life project that has raised awareness of online programs statewide and helped students and alumni feel connected to the university,” said Cheryl Murphy. “The tour reaffirmed that the U of A serves all of Arkansas, and it brought joy across the state, as Acting Chancellor Robinson and other candidates for Chancellor noted during September’s campus forums.”

Some faculty and staff at the alumni’s colleges traveled hundreds of kilometers to attend. The graduate presenters, their academic units and tour locations:

  • Sarah Bemis, Eleanor Mann Nursing School, El Dorado
  • Ed Bengtson, College of Education and Health Professions; Clarksville and Fort Smith
  • Jan Emory, Eleanor Mann Nursing School, Fort Smith
  • Michael Hevel, University of Education and Health Professions; Hope and Brookland
  • Ginger Holloway, Eleanor Mann Nursing School, Pocahontas
  • Jack Kern, College of Education and Health Professions, DeWitt
  • Roy McCann, Engineering College, Booneville
  • Patty Milner, Global Campus, McGehee
  • Mandel Samuels, College of Education and Health Professions, El Dorado
  • Renee Speight, College of Education and Health Professions, Trumann
  • Matt Willingham, Sam M. Walton College of Business, Fort Smith
  • Megan Whobrey, College of Engineering; Earle, Magnolia and Fort Smith

Global Campus media team members assisted and guided in capturing tour highlights on video. Other employees handled travel and financial tasks, gathered and loaded equipment, fitted diplomas into frames, created promotional flyers, and other time-consuming tasks.

In a related story, the Global Campus named Heidi Wells an Employee of the Quarter award for her work on the Razorbug tour. Wells wrote a story for each of the tour’s 16 graduates, produced and coordinated public relations, reached out to local news outlets and chambers of commerce, and inspired others on the tour with her high energy.

Global Campus created the Lightbulb Award to honor two or more employees for outstanding innovations that go beyond their routine duties. This award is open to permanent and hourly employees working for Global Campus.

Global Campus supports U of A colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online, distance and staff education programs and courses. It provides instructional design services, technology services, and support with marketing, recruitment, and strategic academic development.

Global Campus also supports the WE Manning Memorial Scholarship, which is open to undergraduate and graduate students studying in online degree programs.