Modernizing Presence: Our Next Chapter

I’ve always believed deeply in the power of higher education to transform students’ lives, improve communities, and advance global society. 

And that power doesn’t just come from attending lectures, reading textbooks, or studying for finals. As a student myself, I learned more outside of the classroom, through co-curricular activities, than inside of it. Yet, while working as a campus professional, I realized that Student Affairs’ potential was so much greater than its reality.

Everyday challenges and professional pain points meant that our work fell short of the field’s bold vision for itself. Not only was our work often more tedious than it needed to be, but we were failing students — letting them go unengaged, unsupported, and, often, unable to stay enrolled. 

So, I decided to take action. I turned to technology, utilizing big ideas to solve big problems. And that technology, as you surely already know, eventually became Presence.

I’m extraordinarily proud of what Presence has become. Since first brainstorming the bones of the company and its software, then launching in 2014, more than 250 institutions throughout North America have bought into the idea. In turn, Presence has empowered nearly 2 million students to engage in co-curricular opportunities and learn essential workforce-ready skills.

And our team’s devotion to innovation and quality has never wavered. That’s why I’m delighted to announce that we’re taking a step that will further boost Presence’s ability to innovate our already industry-leading tools: We’re merging with Modern Campus, another game-changing education technology company.

Modern Campus not only shares our vision for a higher education future that’s fueled by personalization; they also will help us grow in our mission. In fact, their mission — to empower partners to engage modern learners for life — is one we’ve shared since long before we joined forces. 

About Modern Campus

Modern Campus empowers higher education institutions to thrive through radical change. And I don’t just mean COVID-19. Its tools are designed to enable institutions to successfully respond to lower student enrollments and revenue, rising costs, crushing student debt, school closures, and more challenges — both expected and unexpected.  

Through Modern Campus, presidents and provosts can create pathways for lifelong learning, while marketing, enrollment, and IT leaders can deliver personalization and instant fulfillment. It’s all powered by a dynamic suite of products composed of Omni CMS, Destiny One, DIGARC… and now, Presence!

In other words, by joining Modern Campus, we’re upping our game by being more than a student affairs tool; we’re an all-around educational platform, covering every aspect of life on campus and off, inside the classroom and out of it. This will include the opportunity for new integrations into other products you love. 

What’s more, Modern Campus shares our devotion to customer happiness. Their award-winning products and user support have earned it a 98% retention rate and a reputation for customer obsession. 

What This Means for Our Partners

The top headline for this big news is that our product, team, mission, and values won’t change. (Well, beyond the awesome innovations we’ve already planned; we’ll be getting more resources and investment to improve them even more!) We remain 100% committed to helping you engage students more meaningfully, track student involvement, and access comprehensive data to make informed decisions — all of which boost student retention and success. 

We’re Modern Campus’s one and only co-curricular engagement solution, so none of the features you’ve come to know and love will be going anywhere. The Modern Campus team loves us as is; together, we’ll innovate and grow, not compromise and maintain.

The people behind Presence — including your Happiness Experts and Engagement Specialists — are also staying on board, and I’m excited to continue leading them. We’ll still be based in St. Petersburg, Florida, while remotely joining our nearly 300 Modern Campus teammates. They work out of Camarillo, California; Lakeland, Florida; and Toronto, Canada. (That’s right; our team is international now!) 

As for the name Presence? We’re keeping that too. The only change you’ll notice is that we’ve added “A Modern Campus Company” as part of the visual transition.

You can learn more about this exciting news by reading this press release and checking out this FAQ. Beyond that, your Happiness Expert will be, well, happy — as always — to answer any other questions you may have.

I understand that this has been a turbulent year and a half, and that you may be eager to embrace stability. But this isn’t like the previous “merger” many of you experienced when two competitors combined. I promise that you’re going to continue to experience Presence in exactly the same way you’re used to. We’ll continue to grow, as we always do, but now even faster — with your students’ needs and institutional engagement dreams at the top of our decision-making every step of the way. 

The folks at Modern Campus are fantastic. Over the past few months, I’ve spent tons of time with CEO Brian Kibby and other members of the leadership team. They share my passion and unwavering devotion to wowing customers, advancing technology, and improving the landscape of higher education for students, staff, and faculty alike. They understand that co-curricular learning is more than just bells and whistles; it’s crucial to student success. 

Or, as Brian put it: “Learner engagement means everything to modern higher education institutions – because highly engaged learners graduate on time and are far more likely to view their post-secondary education as a lifelong partnership versus merely a two- or four-year transactional relationship.”

Speaking of relationships, I’m thrilled to be embarking on this new one with Modern Campus, and I’m confident that, through our industry-leading technology, you’ll be delighted for — and by — us too. 

Reuben Pressman

About the author: Reuben Pressman is the founder and CEO of Presence, the complete student engagement platform. Learn how we can help get your students involved.

Check I'm Here is now Presence. Learn more about this change in our blog post here.