October 7-10, 2012, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Session Details

WordPress as a CMS

#TPR11 Technical: Propeller Hats Required Track

103 C, Frontier Airlines Center


Allegheny College, Maryville University and University of Mary Washington are three completely different institutions with one thing in common: they are all using the world’s most popular blogging system as their content management system (CMS). Although all three institutions are using WordPress as their CMS (or, at least, will be by the time this presentation is made), they have all implemented it in very different ways. There are a handful of major obstacles many institutions point out when considering WordPress as a CMS, and, collectively, we’ve encountered them all. Throughout this presentation, we’ll discuss the processes our institutions went through when choosing to use WordPress as its CMS, how we’ve overcome (or eliminated) many of the perceived obstacles in using WordPress, the unique processes we’ve used in implementing it, the challenges we’ve faced throughout the process and the benefits we’ve reaped from that decision. Is WordPress the right CMS for your institution? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, you should know what you’re getting into (for better or worse) before you make that decision; and we’ll be here to help you out with that.


Curtiss Grymala
University Webmaster, University of Mary Washington

Curtiss Grymala, the founder of Ten-321 Enterprises, is the University Webmaster at the University of Mary Washington (UMW). Prior to starting that position in November 2010, he worked as the Webmaster at Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) in Middletown, Va. for nearly four years. At UMW, Grymala was responsible for working with the external vendor in charge of the site design, and currently manages all custom development for the University’s unique implementation of WordPress as its new CMS. Over the last three years, Grymala has developed more than 50 custom WordPress plugins, released nine public WordPress plugins and created more than 15 custom WordPress themes for various organizations and companies, including multiple implementations for the University of Michigan, the conference website for edUi 2010, 2011 & 2012 and more.

Jesse Lavery
Digital Media Specialist, Allegheny College

Jesse Lavery manages Web Communications at Allegheny College, a selective liberal arts college of 2,100 students in Meadville, PA. While he only entered the higher ed ranks in early 2010, he has worked professionally on the web for nearly fifteen years, doing design and development work for an ad agency, a small computer consultancy, a boat dealership, and many freelance clients along the way. At Allegheny College, Lavery is responsible for managing the design and development of the school’s family of websites, Allegheny’s social media presence, and a growing videography program. When he started at Allegheny, the decision to use WordPress had just been made and it was up to him to develop a plan and manage the transition from static web files to a WordPress Multisite CMS. Through that migration (and freelance work as well) Lavery has created several custom WordPress themes and plugins.

Eric Juden
Web Application Developer, Maryville University

Eric Juden has been the Web Application Developer at Maryville University since 2008. When first starting at Maryville, the decision had been made to get away from a FrontPage environment and switch to RedDot CMS. In 2009, Juden implemented a blog server on campus for faculty, staff and students using WordPress Multisite. After a few years of headaches and growing pains with RedDot CMS, Juden made the decision to switch to WordPress Multisite. This new campus-wide CMS rolled out shortly after graduation in May 2012. Along the way, Juden has created around 25 WordPress plugins, released 8 to the WordPress community, and created several custom WordPress themes. In 2011, Juden helped to get WordCamp St. Louis hosted at Maryville University.