WIU Marketing Curriculum Strong on Social Media

Marketing has been one of the most popular majors at Webber International University for several decades.  In the 80’s, the emphasis was on Advertising.  In the 90’s, it was about Direct Response Marketing.  These days, it is all about Social Media.

Social Media has completely revolutionized the practice of marketing and Webber International University is one of the first in the U.S. to offer the newest social media content.


In 2013, WIU introduced E-commerce and in 2014 they introduced Social Media and Mobile Media Branding, Marketing Analytics, and Digital Media Management.  Students are empowered to learn about:

  • The best social media platforms to reach specific markets
  • Proximity Marketing
  • Using algorithms and predictive models to make better marketing decisions
  • To incorporate Storytelling into the promotional mix
  • To build relationships with customers
  • To build a powerful brand name

Professors Ronald Weber and Hatem Bata incorporate integrated marketing communications into the classes so that the students learn how to use a balance of traditional marketing as well as new emerging media.

Because of the new social media content within the marketing curriculum, WIU students graduate with talents and skills much in demand by today’s employers.

To learn more about WIU’s Newest Social Media Classes – Click Here.

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Content Equals Value

Content marketing can be described as the “value” a brand offers in hopes to build a positive association with potential customers. Value from a brand may come in many forms, such as straight facts, training, entertainment, connection, storytelling, coupons, inspiration, or contribution. A blog posted by a member of a brand can provide key details that will be immediately helpful to readers, for example, “Caricature Artists get 16 Gigs a month via Social Media”. Value may also come in the form of a video or a game that temporarily relieves the viewer of stress or possibly inspires creative thinking.

Content Marketing is a Gift

The content provided by a brand must be seen as a gift, without any implied expectations of a purchase. Consumers have become wary of advertising and quickly move their eyes to something else when they sense an ad. Think about how annoyed you get when your favorite game or music video is interrupted by a commercial. A good motto to follow is, “You must give far more than you expect in return.”

Content Marketing Builds Connections

Building loyal customers takes time. Just like good friends. You cannot build loyal customers over night. Brand managers need to accept that content marketing will not have an immediate impact on sales. However, if the brand continuously provides value, the readers and viewers of the content will build a bond not only with the brand but also with other customers. Together, the users and the brand can build a lasting connection that will make all other marketing efforts more effective. The impact on sales will be realized down the road. Efforts are underway to measure the impact but sometimes prove too difficult to isolate. This is where our industry still has room for improvement.

Content Marketing Builds Brand Value

Having brand value goes beyond just sales. It also helps the company attract better employees, partners, customers, and neighbors. Valuable brands are also more likely to get mentioned in the news and social media. The most mentioned computer brand mentioned on TV news and social media is “Apple”. This may not surprise you. Think of the millions of advertising dollars that are saved. Popular political candidates save millions of dollars because they get mentioned in the news on a daily basis. Valuable brands can also provide an edge when it comes to negotiating favorable terms. Wal-Mart and Disney both use this leverage because they know suppliers want to be associated with their brand.

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by: Professor Weber

Social media experts commonly agree the following tips will benefit those who want to write effective blogs.

Tip # 1 Integrate Social Sharing

Be sure to post the major social media icons at the bottom or top of your blogs. This insures the likelihood of readers sharing your blog on their social media sites.

Tip # 2 Always Produce Top Content

Remember to post content relevant to the audience’s needs right now. Another word of advice is to post content that never goes out of date. An example of this is to post a blog about “How to Grow the Largest Watermelons”. Something like this will never go out of date.

Tip # 3 Write Headlines that capture people’s attention

There are several ways to look at this. One way is to be sure to write headlines that are filled with rich key words. Another way is to create a headline that captures the interest of the reader. For example, “Twelve year old boy rides his horse to school, gets detention.” A headline like this will cause people to click on the blog so that they can read the whole story.

“The Pope Loves a Good Joke!”


Tip # 4 Use Proven Tactics and Frameworks

You don’t have to invent a brand new style of blogging. Learn the tried and true tactics like:

  • Spy versus spy
  • Breaking News
  • Guest Speaker
  • Top Lists
  • Celebrating Milestone
  • Appropriate Quotes from Esteemed Individuals

Tip # 5 Use High Quality Images

Using quality photos and videos lure people to your blog and help you position your product in the minds of your customer. A photo of a mountain can project an image of calm and peace.

Tip # 6 Quality is Better Then Length

A quality blog filled with educational or entertaining content will get much more attention than a long boring blog that provides no value.  A blog with educational or entertaining value is much more likely to be passed along.

Webber’s Marketing Department Lines Up  Powerful Emerging Media Curriculum

This 2016-17 academic year, Webber International University will include the most advanced marketing classes yet.  Webber’s Marketing /Emerging Media program has arranged the most powerful sequence of classes that will prepare students for modern social media marketing.

Course Highlights New This Year:

In the Digital Media Management course students will learn how to incorporate multi-media videos into business communications such as advertising, branding, communications, and sales.

Social Media and Mobile Unit Branding will teach students the tools successful businesses use to build brand awareness and equity.

Marketing Analytics, Metrics, and Measurement will teach students to use Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to configure data to predict future consumer behavior.

According to Professor Ron Weber, “Social Media has completely revolutionized how consumers make purchasing decisions. Therefore, we need to teach today’s students how to market products using today’s non-traditional methods.”

“The demand for social media architects has grown dramatically in the last several years, and we want to prepare students to be the best.” Professor Weber.

For a list of all marketing/emerging media courses – Click here.

To arrange your spot in the Marketing/Emerging Media program fill out your application today.  Apply Now!

By: Ronald Weber

Before humans had a written language we learned from each other by telling stories.

In the early history of humans we would sit around the fire at night and tell tales of myths, gods, and legends. Hunters would tell a story about how they killed the biggest mammoth. Fishermen would tell a story of how they landed the great white whale. Moby Dick is probably a story that has been handed down and recreated many times.


Today, we favor songs that are not just melodies but also tells a story. Our favorite movie is not just about special effects but how deeply we can get into the story line.

Great content comes in the form of a good story. Great stories never die and there are plenty of examples, Romeo and Juliet, Titanic, and Noah’s Ark, just to name a few.

So how do you write a good story?

In her article, “7 Things That Really Great Content Creators Do”,  Carly Stec captures a few techniques all great story writers do.

Here is the list:

  • They understand their audience
  • They educate or entertain
  • They make an outline
  • They make smarter decisions
  • They re-purpose the content to give it more meaning
  • They keep updating themselves
  • They write consistently

Each technique is a characteristic I see is in the best movie directors, poets, novelists, musicians, and news reporters. I have seen many documentaries on the sinking of the Titanic. However, James Cameron’s movie in 1998 is the story I’ll  always remember. You too?

Remember, the hand on the glass?

Although the hand on the glass had little significance in the outcome of the movie, people still remember this small detail, even though it is 17 years later.

The best content creators are storytellers who educate and entertain. It is the way humans evolved. It is a part of our culture and socialization.

The best content creators know the best way to connect with their audiences and are constantly looking for ways to better reach the imaginations of today’s audiences.

It has been 30 years since I graduated college and the strongest memories I have are the stories my professors told. Now that I am a professor, occasionally I will run into a student from years ago. In our conversation they won’t remember the class we had together but they will remember vividly the stories I told.

Journalist/Reporter Wolf Blitzer – CNN

Finding a reporter who enhances their journalism through social media is not a difficult task. Successful reporters are attention seekers and they will gain it by any means possible. Eventually, the reporter’s name and face becomes so recognizable that they create audience bigger than the vehicle they represent.

Take Wolf Blitzer for example. CNN’s current political lead journalist, Wolf Blitzer, began his career in Israel reporting for Reuters news agency long before any social media.  Speaking fluid Hebrew and Arabic, Wolf found himself in the public limelight by getting the opportunity to ask leaders in Egypt and Israel very controversial questions. He was one of the first to report the peace accord between President Begin of Israel and The Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Wolf Blitzer always found a way to stay in the headlines himself. In 1986, he became known widely in the U.S. as the reporter who interviewed Jonathan Pollard who was tried for spying for Israel. The interview was televised on national television which made him even more recognizable.

Jonathan Pollard on Trial for being a Israel spy.

In 1990, Blitzer moved to CNN and spent a month in Moscow. He was the first to visit and report on the KGB headquarters. Again, Blitzer was making the news by being the first to report it.

Wolf Blitzer has covered the Oklahoma City bombing, 911, and numerous presidential elections. He has become one of the most well-known and trusted journalist in the news today.

Wolf on Twitter

Wolf Blitzer Twitter

Wolf will tweet breaking news three – five times per day and sometimes on weekends. On the site itself, he writes, “Yes, I write my own tweets.”

Wolf will post photos, videos, and headlines and makes very good use of hastags and links. Sometimes he will scoop himself on Twitter before he conducts he television show. Why would he do such a thing? Wolf understands that a lot of his followers want the headline news now and the details later. In the 140 characters he has available on Twitter he writes the headline which piques people’s interest and tells people to watch his show at 5:00 to get more details.

Wolf Blitzer has adapted very quickly over the years to deliver the news to his followers. In the 70’s he worked in newspapers, wrote books in the 80’s, began cable news in the 90’s and finally adapted to social media news in the 2000’s.

By incorporating social media with cable, satellite and print Wolf Blitzer is able to reach more people. Social media compliments the other media best because it reaches people wherever they are at that moment. The news is delivered via Twitter when the consumer is at an airport, hotel lobby, office, or waiting at a stop light. Twitter also has the biggest advantage of all. Twitter allows people to engage in conversation and offer feedback to Wolf. Occasionally Wolf will respond to clarify or let his followers know that he is listening.

Wolf Blitzer on Facebook with his show on CNN The Situation Room

To be the leader in the news you have to be present in all of the major news platforms. The biggest source for news for people ages 18-35 is social media. So in order to reach this age group, Wolf needs to use the medium in which the audience uses. And in this case he does very well.

The most shared sites on Facebook might not be what you think.

Facebook’s Most Shared Sites

Most Shared Sites on Facebook

Nine out of ten most shared posts on Facebook is related to the news. However, the most shared Facebook site is not a news organization, it called Playbuzz. What is Playbuzz?

Playbuzz has several pages like Playbuzz Entertainment, Playbuzz Smart, and Playbuzz Cute. You know when you are at happy hour and someone says “This app tells me if I were an animal, I would be most like a Panda.” Then another person says, “Ooh…ooh…do me!” You go through a short survey and the app uses algorithms to link you up with an animal with similar statistics. They have hundreds of topics. Playbuzz proudly can say they have the most engaging and shared content in social media.

PlayBuzz is the most engaging and shared site on Facebook

The rest of the top 10 are all news organizations. Huffington Post leads by provided quality in depth articles about what is trending in the news. It is usually a photo, not a video that lures people into the article. Topics range from business, politics, world, food, relationships, and social issues.

Buzz Feed is popular because they differentiate themselves by publishing “off the wall” type content. They may post celebrity news, interesting tidbits, or something extremely outrageous. Compared to Huff Post, Fox, and BBC, you would say that Buzz Feed is more “quirky”. However, I salute their efforts because they have found a way to break through all of the clutter and provide content that people are willing to share.

Rounding out the bottom part of the Top 10 Most shared content on Facebook is mostly major news organizations like FOX News, NBC News, New York Times and BBC.

Each has their differentiated value. Fox News publishes top news stories of the day but also attract fans with a political fervor. NBC News is the same way and will show more of the social issues in the content they cover. The Guardian, Mail On-line, and BBC news are published from the United Kingdom and cover UK news and world news. Each UK publisher distinguishes themselves by diving into the story behind the scenes. The UK news organizations are very good at showing how the news is affecting the people and eventually “me”.

Twitter – Most Retweeted Sites

I wonder if the founders of Twitter knew what kind of impact Twitter would have on the distribution of the news. The Top 10 retweeted sites on Twitter are all news organizations.


Most Retweeted Sites

Facebook is a place to visit in the evening when you have more time to relax and enjoy the reading about the news. However, Twitter can deliver news that is important right now. It is no wonder that journalists, business people, sports enthusiasts, and news junkies engage on Twitter because it is the medium to deliver the news with the greatest amount of reach in the shortest amount of time.

BBC World News has the most retweeted news stories because of the content in the stories. BBC doesn’t just deliver the facts. They also include in depth analysis and how it could affect the reader.

BBC Twitter Feed

Mashable does a very good job at enticing their followers with headlines then clicking “on.mash” which takes you to the article. Mashable also uses photos and videos to engage their reader.

Huffington Post only uses photo and headlines to engage their followers, no videos. The value with Huff Post is the credibility of the content of the stories and details that no other news organizations can uncover. Huff Post may not be the best a publishing the most recent news but they are the best at giving you’re the full story.

Bleacher Report delivers up to the minute sports news on each of the major sports. Bleacher Report Twitter news feeds are the first place followers would read about Lebron James moving back to Cleveland and Minnesota Timberwolves pulling the first round draft choice in the lottery. The Bleacher Report will be the first to announce if some player has been traded or injured. This kind of content would not be published by any of the other Top 10 news organizations. This is what gives the Bleacher Report their differentiated value.

Social Media in 2025

By: Professor Weber

Social Media in the future will become more specialized to the needs and interests of each audience member. By 2025, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest will have adapted their platform for each user so that it would appear by today’s standards that people live in their own universe. Parents in 2025 won’t be complaining about their children spending too much time texting but complaining that their son or daughter seldom steps out of their own self-made virtual-world.


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Battling for Share of Engagement

Social Media and the News will compete to maintain their share of the audience. Young adults are already getting most of their news from social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest will continuously tweak their services to make their content more engaging. So therefore, social media platforms are really fighting for share of the audience’s engagement. Advertising with social media in the future will have much more of an impact than traditional advertising because the audiences are engaged not just watching it passively.



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Individual users of social media will gradually only expose themselves to news that affects them. The thought process may sound like this. “How does a train wreck in Philadelphia affect my life here, right now? Social media platform algorithms already can predict what news you are interested in. Big data collectors like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Verizon already share this data with advertisers and with 10 more years of data the future platforms will be even more equipped to predict exactly what you will need to keep you engaged. The biggest justification for advertising rates today are CPM (Cost per Mil), Reach, Frequency, pay per clicks or impressions. In 2025, the number one ad rate justification will be the platform who can keep their audiences engaged the longest. In fact, by 2025 social media platforms will have an engagement meter to measure the intensity level of the user.

I am too busy!

We think our lives are busy now and that there is no time to do all of the things we want to do in our lives. In 2025, people will be exposed to new endeavors and want to try to include this into their lives. The thought process may sound like this. “I want a successful career, happy family, loving wife/husband, great health, lots of friends, secure financial investments, travel, and have no stress.” To make all of this happen, people will demand products and services that help them become very organized and focused. The news that is related to their individual needs and interests will get priority and therefore capture the users’ attention and involvement. Individual social media platforms will connect advertisers with potential customers by using multiple regression analysis and correlation analysis that have become very good predictors of human needs. When a consumer behaves differently then the formula predicted, the formula will automatically adjust.


Photo Credit: Commons.Wiki

Photo Credit: Commons.Wiki

In 2025, consumers’ watches, clothes, and cell phones will be able to detect when you are tired, hungry, thirsty, stressed, and low on iron. Imagine getting a text from your favorite restaurant that says they have chicken dumplings on special today, right after you receive a text that says your blood sugar is low. Wall Street Journal published an article in May 2015 about Under Armour inventing electronic wear to help athletes.

by: Professor Ronald Weber

The American Marketing Association is a professional association of marketing enthusiasts which began in 1937. Through the years they published peer reviewed publications like Journal of Marketing, Journal of International Marketing, and Journal of Marketing Research. Today, it consists of 76 professional chapters and 250 collegiate chapters. AMA members enjoy interacting with others in their industry by attending monthly chapter meetings and through the AMA online social media network.

“AMA’s social media channel brings marketers together to build relationships, solve marketplace challenges and create invaluable networks.” – AMA – American Marketing Association Community Site.

AMA Community Site
AMA Community Site

The AMA community site is built to serve marketing enthusiast. It combines with Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube to interact with writers, experts, students, and business owners. Rotating between the AMA community site and the entire social network seems very smooth.  The community site announces conferences, links to publications, seminars, and AMA TV. On the main page they have an “Ask the Expert” drop down menu that connects you with marketing experts all over the U.S. Under the “Careers” drop down menu businesses can post job openings and job applicants can post their resumes.

AMA social sites
AMA Community Network

Target Audience

The target audience for the AMA Community site is clearly people who work in the marketing industry. These are men and women between the ages of 20 and 55. These are professionals who work in advertising, research, social media, public relations, and international marketing. The site connects students, professors, social media architects, copy writers, and professional sales people from all over the world.

Community  AMA Group Photo

How the community works.

The AMA community site uses the major social media platforms to connect its members. Pinterest caught my interest the most. Working on this project I found myself reading blog after blog in many different categories. The AMA Pinterest site has over 23 different boards featuring many aspects of marketing like, AMA TV, AMA Publications, Words of Wisdom, Local Chapters, and many more.

Why the AMA Community Social Site is So Important

The AMA organization competes with many other professional organizations like American Association of Advertising Agencies AAAA and the International Association of Customer Service IACS. To be a leader in their industry AMA must show that they know how to use the latest trends and technologies to connect their members. It is important to the community because it connects professors with students, employers with potential employees, and improves the overall quality of life for business workers and its customers.

What makes the AMA Community Site stand out?

The most valuable unique characteristic of the AMA Community site is the sheer amount of valuable information available. AMA publishes five different peer-reviewed journals. Some monthly, one weekly journal, several daily blogs, and their new AMA TV. Each online journal, YouTube video, and Pinterest has direct link to the other, which allows its members to flow easily between them.

My thoughts on the site 

I thought the AMA Community Site was extremely useful. And with the addition of AMA TV, I know I will be visiting more frequently. You see, when I attended college in the 80’s, the only people in AMA that I knew were our professors and fellow students. Fortunate for me, I was able to meet more people when I attended an AMA conference in New Orleans my senior year. Other members in our Missouri State chapter were not.  All of us had access to the AMA Journals through our university library. Occasionally I would use the articles for school assignments.

The AMA Community site totally revolutionizes how people who are interested in marketing interact with each other. Is there room for the site to improve? Yes, but I am extremely happy with the mass amount of useful information and the ability to meet colleagues who have the same interest as me.

Proximity Marketing

How can the AMA Community site use proximity marketing?

Here are a few examples of how the AMA Community site can use proximity marketing:

  1. AMA members can be signaled when another member is in the same area. This can work well at airports and conventions where people have time to socialize with one another.
  2. College students who study marketing will receive marketing updates when they near their college campus. This is important because the student will only receive the information when they find it most useful- not when they are out socializing.
  3. Similar to Uber, when a customer needs a sales person, an alert can go out to AMA members within 5 miles who can quickly stop in and offer advice or sell them a product. This is meant to connect customers and sales people physically very quickly.

Social Content  AMA Pinterest

The AMA Community site presents members with quality information. It also unites members with questions with subject matter experts. One visit to AMA Pinterest site and you can see the 23 boards that relate to the overall integrated marketing communications effort. The one unified message that AMA emits is clear –quality members and quality content.

Becoming a member of AMA is not free. To get the full use of the AMA Community site members must pay $300 yearly dues. This ensures AMA only gets serious individuals who will conduct themselves in a professional manner.

Introducing Proximity Marketing

by: Ron Weber

As a social media architect, a major way to differentiate your business from your competitors is to launch a proximity or hyper local media campaign. Proximity marketing is defined as a mobile app downloaded by users that will provide highly recommended and personalized places to go in your area.  When a potential consumer enters a certain area an automatic notification will show up on a user’s mobile unit from a retailer, restaurant, or café via Wifi or Bluetooth. (Links to an external site.)

Benefits to the Marketer

  1. Users only receive notifications to business in the current location therefore the  notification is considered less intrusive and more likely to be viewed
  2. Local marketers only reach potential customers in the general area and therefore considered to be much more cost effective.
  3. Flexibility – Marketers can release mobile unit notifications anytime throughout the day or only release the post when the temperature rises above a certain degree, for example.
  4. If a potential customer finds the information useful he/she will forward this information to friends who would also like the information.  The benefit to the marketer is there consumer is actually doing the marketing for them.
  5. Top of Mind – By delivering value and being “there” when the need arise improves the chances dramatically that consumer will buy from you.
  6. Proximity marketing reaches the right customer at the right time and the right place. (Links to an external site.)

How can proximity marketing be incorporated into the overall marketing mix?

Proximity marketing should be integrated into the overall marketing mix by complimenting the other elements in the marketing and promotional mix. It should be included in the budget from the very beginning.

Product Strategies: Built into the product or the package is a RFID signal that offer the nearby mobile user information about the product – for example, ingredients, manufactured date , special offers, possible allergies, recipes etc.  The opt–in mobile user’s unit can also send a signal to the merchandise that a certain number of visitors walked by, tried on the merchandise, or even returned the item.

Pricing Strategies:  The goal of pricing strategies is to price the product to the right customer at the right time.  Certain merchandise equipped with the proximity program can identify when a certain customer is in the area and instantly change the price to meet the customer’s perceived value and maximize the company’s profits. Price changes can be set up with a simple multiple regression analysis with 8-9 different independent variables.

Y=a + b1X1 + b2X2 + b3X3

In this case, the price (dependent variable) is changed due to a change in the weighted independent variables.  These variables can be time of the day, income of the customer, last time they were in the area, and temperature outside.

Place Decisions:  Proximity marketing is used to lure people into a business when a potential customer enters the nearby area.  The messages sent to the mobile unit user should be interesting factors to the user.  It should also incorporate the same feel, theme, colors, and relationship of all of the other social media communications.


The promotional mix is made up of personal selling, sales and trade promotions, advertising, public relations, and social media marketing.  Each element of the promotional mix should communicate one unified.  With today’s technology coupons, sales, advertisements, and social media communication can change simultaneously.

Ultimately, proximity marketing promotions would change specifically for one unique customer.



The marketing uses of wearables have only begun.  Think of the data available to marketers as consumers with Google Glass and Apple Watch enter the store.  Because consumers opt-in to receive coupons, specials rates, and up to date information, they also send a signal to marketers of what type of items they buy, when they bought it, how often, and where it was bought.  When consumers use their Google Glass and Apple Watch to pay for items the data is logged for future marketing uses.

Imagine a restaurant or retailer instantly receiving a signal that you have entered a mall area.  Within a second the computer algorithm has determine your consumer profile which includes your needs, interests, and the last few weeks of conversation on Facebook.  So…for the last 3 weeks, you have been posting about events during your softball games.  The first week you said you hit a home run.  The next week you told your friends that you lost the game in the last inning.  The third week, you posted that your bat was stolen and you had to borrow someone’s bat.

The time has come that within a second a local sports retailer can identify your need and send you a notification on your mobile unit that the retailer has a “28 ounce Dudley Balance” for sale. Incredible! And it doesn’t stop there.  By using Google Wallet or Apple Pay, a data file is kept on your overall purchase patterns. By linking your purchasing patterns with your conversations in the social media, marketers now have a much more efficient way to advertise.

The fundamental of marketing has not changed since the beginning of time.  Marketing is defined by meeting the customers’ needs at a profit.  Proximity marketing allows marketers to advertise to the consumers in a much more efficient and effective way and the consumer to receive advertisement about items they are only interested in. (Links to an external site.)

Personal Experience

This last Saturday night, my wife and I went to Outback Steakhouse to eat.  The line was very crowded and we sat on a bench out front. I noticed my cell phone lit up.  I naturally checked it and it said “Welcome back to Outback”.  I was impressed.  Further into the message, was a note that said would you like to join us at the bar for a glass of wine?


I spent the rest of the evening wondering how Outback knew I was at the restaurant and knew I was waiting on a bench out front waiting to be seated.  I also wondered how Outback knew we were about to order two glasses of wine.  I texted back a message and said “yes”.  Besides spending 2 minutes buried into my cell phone my wife was impressed when 2 glasses of wine were waiting for us.

How did this happen?

I asked the bartender and our waitress about how does Outback know I was here. Neither one of them could give me an answer.  The best that I could guess is that I filled out a consumer survey that was on my receipt 3 months ago. I completed the survey on my cellphone.  That has got to be it.


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