Jostens Uploma™ Introduced to University of Oregon by Military Vet MBA Student, Story
Unique Graduation Keepsake Replaces Traditional Diploma
Minneapolis, Minn. - May 17, 2017

To U.S. Special Agent John David Masters, leadership has always been more than just an idea or philosophy. He sees it as the weight that holds our nation’s freedom, democracy and culture together.

So after building a career in counterterrorism, counterintelligence and military special operations, he felt called to go back to the place where all leadership begins – the classroom.

Masters, who works as a federal law enforcement special agent, graduated from the two-year Executive MBA program at University of Oregon in 2016, and is pursuing his doctorate in Organizational Development and Global Leadership through California’s Pepperdine University.

Upon returning to school, Masters grew all too familiar with the exceptionally hard work that comes with pursuing an MBA. Late-night study sessions, grueling term papers and the struggle for work-life balance became the norm. But it was worth it if it meant reaching his goal.

“Once I finish school and hang up my uniform, I look forward to providing leadership consulting to corporations,” Masters said.

Leading up to his graduation from University of Oregon, Masters started thinking about the traditional plaque that Executive MBA graduates received during the commencement ceremony. It became clear that something was missing.

"Considering the extreme effort that’s part of returning to school, a traditional plaque just didn’t feel like a befitting symbol of the time, energy and resources my colleagues and I put into earning the MBA,” Masters said. “I wanted to know if there was something more unique and personalized to signify our accomplishments.”

He began researching alternatives and came across the Uploma™, a new dimensional and customizable achievement product offered by Jostens. He thought it would be a fitting commencement icon for the Executive MBA program.

In fact, Masters liked the Uploma so much that he felt compelled to present it to the university’s graduation committee members. They shared his interest in utilizing the product for Executive MBA commencement, and said they would adopt it if Masters retrieved enough signatures from his 50-plus classmates.

Masters collected the signatures, and he and his classmates each walked with a Uploma in hand during the 2016 commencement ceremony.

“Through the Uploma, Jostens gave me an opportunity to say more about what I accomplished,” Masters said. “With its unique shape and customizable features, the Uploma is very different than the standard plaque on the wall. It’s innovative, expressive, unusual, and it immediately draws attention.”

Jostens’ Uploma helps University of Oregon provide its Executive MBA graduates a unique experience not available anywhere else. The product goes beyond the typical plaque or certificate, to highlight the monumental achievement of completing the Executive MBA program.

“The Uploma is a truly unique piece that can commemorate any kind of scholastic achievement in a significant way,” said Ann Carr, Jostens Chief Marketing Officer.  “We’re proud to offer it, and excited to see the passion of people like John who see the value in it.”

When people now visit Masters’ office, he said they often want to hold the Uploma.

“It’s kind of along the lines of when Steve Jobs was creating the iPhone,” Masters said. “When you held it in your hands, he wanted it to feel like it had some substance. That rings true with the Uploma. It evokes a reaction from people and gave me an opportunity to express who I am and the things I believe,” Masters said.

After the Uploma received such a positive reception in the Executive MBA program, University of Oregon decided to also implement the icon in its Sports Product Management program.

Learn more about the Uploma by visiting

About Jostens
Jostens is a trusted partner in the academic and achievement channel, providing products, programs and services that help its customers celebrate moments that matter. The company's products include yearbooks, publications, jewelry and consumer goods that serve the K-12 educational, college and professional sports segments. Founded in 1897 and based in Minneapolis, Minn., Jostens is a subsidiary of Newell Brands and can be found online at

About Newell Brands
Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL) is a leading global consumer goods company with a strong portfolio of well-known brands, including Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Dymo®, EXPO®, Parker®, Elmer's®, Coleman®, Jostens®, Marmot®, Rawlings®, Irwin®, Lenox®, Oster®, Sunbeam®, FoodSaver®, Mr. Coffee®, Rubbermaid Commercial Products®, Graco®, Baby Jogger®, NUK®, Calphalon®, Rubbermaid®, Contigo®, First Alert®, Waddington and Yankee Candle®. Driven by a sharp focus on the consumer, leading investment in innovation and brands, and a performance-driven culture, Newell Brands helps consumers achieve more where they live, learn, work and play.

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