Newhouse Alum Seeds Ambitious ‘Social Commerce’ Student Track

Jim Weiss, founder of strategic communications firm WCG, graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 1987. Twenty-five years later, he’s committed to helping a new generation of students navigate a marketing world upended by digital, social and mobile media.

Weiss and his Alma Mater have formed the W2O Group Center for Social Commerce, seeded with a $100,000 personal gift and anchored to WCG’s San Francisco-based parent company. The goal is to help students learn the rules of “social commerce,” the ever-changing confluence of online content, commerce and social connectivity:

The partnership will provide opportunities for Newhouse students and professors to rotate through the various W2O Group offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, New York and London, interact with the firm’s clients, and learn from experts in analytics, digital, social, corporate, technology and research areas. In return, senior W2O Group leaders will guest lecture at Newhouse and work with the university’s faculty to create new courses and update existing ones.

“We are seeing the power of social commerce pay off big for our clients, and we believe this Center will educate and inspire the new generation of students so they are adequately prepared to work and constantly innovate in this area,” said Weiss.

W2O Group is also a reminder of the critical value of a solid alumni network. It includes a number of other Newhouse grads such as Gail Cohen (Class of 1989), Joanna Cochran (2002) and Elise Hunt / Rachel Leslie (2011).