Wittenberg University alumni have always bonded over their alma mater’s famed “flying W” brand identity mark. The gothic-styled first letter in the University’s name has served as an immediate connector among alumni and as a point of pride, worn proudly on apparel and various Tiger swag.
For Brian “Duke” Armstrong, class of 2003, and Jen Lundregan Armstrong, class of 2004, however, the “W” ignited an idea that has since generated significant alumni engagement and resulted in a $15,111.90 donation to Wittenberg.
“Initially, we wanted to launch a fundraiser for our alma mater,” said Duke Armstrong, founder and CEO of the Dublin, Ohio-based family-run wellness and nutrition supplement business, Propello Life. “I had no idea it would take off like it did.”
What took off was a clever, yet simply designed T-shirt featuring the “flying W” and either the word “alumni” or “legacy” on the front of soft, grey fabric. Infant and youth apparel also leveraged the same design concept, which was the result of a brainstorming session between Duke, Jen, and longtime friend and fellow classmate Jamie Weller Curtis, class of 2004.
“As soon as alumni started receiving their orders, they were constantly posting photos in their shirts, ranging from quick car selfies to full-on family photo shoots, across social media,” Duke Armstrong explained. “Some alumni requested the designs in sweatshirts and additional sizes. Others requested masks, hats, and other accessories.”
Alumni pride in the W-inspired clothing ignited Aug. 18, when the campaign launched on Wittenberg’s alumni-driven private Facebook group and continued throughout the University’s Virtual Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 2-4. By the campaign’s end, the number of items sold in the seven-week sales window totaled 1,358 pieces with the farthest order coming from Japan.
The effort then culminated in a unique elbow-to elbow special check presentation by Duke Armstrong to Wittenberg President Mike Frandsen and Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement Rebecca Kocher on Oct. 22, outside the campus’ Bayley Alumni House. The entire Armstrong family joined in the socially distanced presentation.
“Wittenberg is grateful to Duke and Jen for inspiring so many alumni to show their Tiger pride and for giving back to their alma mater during these challenging times,” said Wittenberg President Mike Frandsen. “Through this effort, they also reflected our motto ‘Having light we pass it on to others.’”
Already high school sweethearts when they both chose Wittenberg for college, the Armstrongs admit that they did not fully grasp the University’s beloved motto during their student days. But that all changed as their family grew and life intervened.
“This simple phrase has a different meaning now,” Duke Armstrong shared, “so has the perspective of just how much Wittenberg means to me – from the hard work in the classroom to the hard work in collegiate sports, to all the fun and parties. It was a college experience at its finest.”
To learn more about the fundraiser, visit https://www.propellolife.com and click on the community engagement tab.