PR Playbook: SSSSHHHH! You’re in the library!

Marquette University

Summary: Event to celebrate new library at Marquette University was not the typical ribbon-cutting ceremony


  • Leverage media interest in actor Martin Sheen as guest speaker at ceremony to tell bigger story of the library’s innovative design & advanced technology
  • Execute communications campaigns for both internal and external audiences to drive attendance to the ceremony and awareness of Marquette’s library resources


  • Personal outreach and media materials were distributed to media prior to opening
  • Informational tours with local media prior to opening
  • Gave the student newspaper “special access” to certain parts of the facility to ensure students were engaged and excited.
  • Working with Mr. Sheen’s publicist we were able to give local media access to the actor in a personalized press event after the ceremony.


  • Media coverage included:
    o Front-page story with large photo in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
    o Two different TV stations broadcasted Martin Sheen’s speech live
    o Regional coverage, including Chicago media
    o Story was picked up nationally by hundreds of newspapers, including USA Today, many included a photo of Mr. Sheen in academic regalia in front of the MU insignia.
    o Celebrity-focused media coverage included US Weekly, People Magazine and Inside Edition.