Darla Moore School of Business Features Innovative Approaches to Donor Recognition

Darla Moore School of Business Features Innovative Approaches to Donor Recognition

Heurista worked in close partnership with many design partners to achieve the volume, quality and versatility of the donor recognition displays at the Darla Moore School of Business. A long association with the University of South Carolina allowed us to design and then apply a set of recognition standards to this project, but with enough flexibility to accommodate the unique features of this amazing facility. To achieve this, we partnered with first-class implementation partners and worked in close coordination with the Moore School’s leadership, advancement team and the architectural firm, Raphael Viñoly Architects

 Darla Moore Building - Key Facts 

  • 251,891 gross square feet

  • More than 2,000 classroom seats in 35 classrooms

  • Multiple rooms equipped with advanced distance learning and collaboration technology

  • Outdoor views, skylights and natural lighting elements designed to enhance productivity and reduce sick days

  • Green rooftop terraces

  • Collection and reuse of rainwater for irrigation and toilets

  • Landscaping designed to reduce the heat island effect

The design challenge: provide a physical palette of unparalleled flexibility and scope on which to build a dynamic donor recognition program

The volume of naming opportunities, the need to add new recognition over time and the contemporary, flexible-use, mostly glass design of the building indicated framed donor recognition displays on each floor grouping individual naming opportunity recognition. Heurista’s design supports the clean lines, materials and colors inherent in the building design while following recognition standards indicated by university policy. Negotiated under separate contract with Heurista, those standards provide guidelines for the volume of recognition per gift level and address both hardscape plaques and electronic donor recognition.

The final outcome at the Moore School goes well beyond the required standards. It uses both traditional plaques and architectural lettering in key locations, combined with digital media. A dynamic sign system throughout the building is coordinated with a dedicated display for the recognition of donors, alumni award recipients, key volunteer leadership, historical perspective and communication about current initiatives.

This building will have many stories to tell. We need a system that will allow us the communicate those and to plan for more in the future. We need to engage our students, faculty, the university at large, as well as the city, state and beyond.
— Dean Hildy J. Teegen, 2007-2013

Initially, Heurista was engaged to identify, coordinate and plan a messaging strategy for this volume of information. We later managed the proposal negotiation, selecting Honorcraft for donor recognition design and implementation and Tightrope Media Systems for the implementation of a custom interactive presentation that intersects with the digital sign system throughout the building. We also enlisted SiteImages for digital architecture support. Additionally, Heurista was chosen to collect and prepare most of the donor stories that are presented through the system.

Every project faces some challenges and for this one, the primary challenge was timing. Fundraising was ongoing and the client was busy with opening a new facility and relocating the school prior to the start of fall classes. Completing this project on time required tight coordination between the development team, those coordinating the move, and the three outside resources.  However, in less than 10 weeks, nine separate displays were built and installed thanks to a stellar effort on the part of Honorcraft. Meanwhile, Heurista, Tightrope and the client finalized the electronic recognition component, presenting over one hundred individual profiles. The end result was a grand opening of stellar success. 

This consciously collaborative approach is relatively new in the donor recognition field and provides advantages for the client and the individual partners. In this case, the partnerships were coordinated by Heurista, but each firm was individually contracted. This structure afforded the client better long-range plans for ongoing maintenance and expansion of the program. Furthermore, it also allowed each firm the ability to provide their best consultation and service directly to the client and made best use of financial and staff resources.  Heurista encourages this model and sees it as a positive trend in this marketplace. Please read more about this process from the point of view of our partner, Honorcraft.

I am really excited about the interactive screen – everything looks great. And the donor displays look wonderful too. So thankful they are all here and installed before the grand opening! You, your team and Honorcraft worked miracles and it is so appreciated!
— Marie Berry