Commencement 2024 Information

Commencement 2024 Information

Highlands University Alumnus Wins Award for University Video Ad 

June 28, 2022

A New Mexico Highlands University video ad, “You’re Family,” has received the 2022 Award of Excellence from the Communicator Awards.  

The ad was created in partnership between former Highlands University Director of University Relations, Sean Weaver, and the Albuquerque-based ad agency, Mya Kai Creative.  

Highlands University alumnus Michael Jackson, founder and creative director of Mya Kai Creative, worked with Weaver on the “You’re Family” video ad. The ad opens with a woman holding a framed photograph of her granddaughter. The woman narrates the ad, remembering her days at Highlands University fondly, and wishing her granddaughter the same joys and achievements.  

“It was Sean’s concept; he really wanted to tug on the heartstrings of the local community and show how Highlands is community-driven,” said Jackson. “We’re all about family. It’s generational.”  

Jackson said the Communicator Awards are like the Oscars of the advertising industry, with news companies like CBS and ABC vying for awards in the international competition.  

“They are the giants in the game and the ones who normally win the Excellence awards,” said Jackson. “So, when we walked away with the gold it was a really humbling experience.”  

According to Jackson, the “You’re Family” video was among tens of thousands of video submissions judged by a rigorous panel of judges representing entities such as TBWA Media, Google, Nike, and Ford, among other heavyweights in the advertising industry.  

“Winning the award was so meaningful for me because I’m an alum,” said Jackson. “As a graduate, you leave and you want to see the legacy continue on. You want to see the university grow and thrive.”  

Jackson graduated from Highlands University in 2010 with a major in media arts and a minor in marketing. The 2022 Award of Excellence is the second video award Mya Kai has received for a New Mexico Highlands University video ad, and Jackson credits his time at Highlands with his success in building Mya Kai Creative.  

“Highlands allowed me to be exposed to a wide range of cultures, and different people, and my whole heart there in the media arts department,” said Jackson. “It taught me resilience, like don’t give up if you’re passionate about something. Stay true to your vision.”  

Jackson said he is proud that Mya Kai Creative was the first to win an ad award for Highlands University, and he’s been happy to see how much traction the videos have received.  

“It’s special to me and I look forward to continuing to bring more awards to the table and help Highlands grow.”