CommCentered is an immersive review of the best marketing and communications solutions coming from the Higher Education sector. 

This non-profit project seeks to build a robust archive of marketing, design, and communications work being produced by institutions of higher education in the United States.

Works featured in this site exemplify an optimal alignment (“centered”) in marketing strategy (vision), creative direction (execution), and audience engagement (return). All work selected for inclusion into the site is at the discretion of the author. Every attempt is made to contact the creators for their insights into their work.

Each work shared on this site will:

  • Give voice to the creators and celebrate their talents.
  • Pursue insights on the creative decision-making process
  • Explore the impact of the work on all stakeholders.

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RJ Thompson, MFA, SMS

RJ Thompson, MFA, SMS


RJ is the Director of Digital Marketing in Pitt Business at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Point Park University, Community College of Allegheny County, and the College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh. and Creative Strategist with +Public. He has been a graphic designer for 25 years, having started at age 11. Before joining Pitt, he was a tenured faculty member at Youngstown State University.

RJ Thompson, MFA is an award-winning marketing and graphic design professional. Currently, RJ is the Director of Digital Marketing in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh.

Before joining Pitt, he was a tenured Assistant Professor of Graphic + Interactive Design in the Department of Art at Youngstown State University. Previous to Youngstown State, RJ taught at Carnegie Mellon University, La Roche University, and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Continuing his career in education, RJ has been an Adjunct Professor of Graphic & Interactive Design at Point Park University since 2019 where he was responsible for writing and teaching the interactive design curriculum. In 2021, he began teaching at the Community College of Allegheny County.

Outside of marketing, design, and teaching, RJ is also the Co-Principal and Creative Strategist for +Public, a Pennsylvania-based social enterprise that focuses on cultivating community and economic development impact through the creation of branded communication platforms, creative place-making, and storytelling initiatives for communities-in-revival.

Throughout his career, RJ has received many accolades for his creative works: In 2015, he was one of several recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant, valued at $100,000, for the INPLACE (“Innovative Plan for Leveraging Arts & Community Engagement”) project. In 2017, RJ received a “Best of Marketing Award” from the Ohio Economic Development Association for his efforts in rebranding the City of Youngstown, Ohio. In 2018, RJ was accepted into the prestigious Cohort 2 of the National Arts Marketing Project, a program supported by Americans for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 2019, RJ also received a scholarship to join the National Arts Strategies Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy through the School of Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2019, RJ was honored with the Ohio Governors Award in the Arts in Community Development, the state of Ohio’s highest recognition in the arts sector.

Recently, RJ was the recipient of a certification scholarship from the National Institute for Social Media and received accolades from GDUSA and the University & College Designers Association for “Pitt Business Backstory” and “Business.Pitt.Edu” websites. RJ is presently a board member of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Marketing Association.

RJ lives in Bellevue, Pennsylvania with his wife Erin and daughter Amelia.