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IU School of Journalism

Last modified: Monday, August 15, 2011

IU School of Journalism marking its centennial on Sept. 15-18

Activities to include reunions, banquets and recognition of distinguished alumni

Aug. 15, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University School of Journalism will welcome back alumni, friends and former faculty Sept. 15-18 to help celebrate 100 years of educating students through a broad liberal arts curriculum to be leaders and innovators in journalism, public relations and advertising, despite continuing changes in the ways information is delivered.

IU School of Journalism Centennial

From 1948 to 1954, a government surplus Quonset hut, called "The Shack," served as the newsroom of "The Indiana Daily Student."

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After taking its centennial celebration on the road to visit hundreds of alumni in four major U.S. cities, the school will mark its 100th anniversary with a weekend that will include reunions, the induction of its first class of distinguished alumni, breakout sessions, banquets and a screening of a film about its most famous student, Ernie Pyle.

"The centennial has been a special opportunity to reconnect with alumni and friends of the school as they remember their time on campus," said Dean Brad Hamm. "We've heard from alumni across the country and around the world who are making plans to join us in Bloomington for the celebration weekend here."

With the graduation of the 2011 class in May, the IU School of Journalism now has more than 10,000 living alumni and more than 1,000 current students.

"We're proud to celebrate the accomplishments of all our alumni who have built the IU journalism legacy by their work as students, their accomplishments as alumni and their support as donors to our school," said Hamm, the school's dean since 2005.

IU School of Journalism Centennial

John Stempel, B.A. '23, who led the Department of Journalism for 30 years, positions a portrait of fellow alumnus Ernie Pyle.

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The special Centennial Weekend will begin on Thursday, Sept. 15 with a free screening at IU Cinema of The Story of G.I. Joe, a film about Pyle being embedded with an American unit in North Africa and Italy during World War II. A welcome lunch, breakout sessions and a celebration banquet will take place Sept. 16. A breakfast for alumni of student publications, more breakout sessions and a football tailgate will highlight Sept. 17. Dean Hamm will speak at a closing brunch on Sept. 18.

A Centennial Wall now is on display at Ernie Pyle Hall and the school is publishing a book about its history that will be available during the Centennial Weekend.

Complete information about the weekend's activities and online registration is available at

According to Owen V. Johnson, an IU associate professor at the school and a historian, the history of journalism at the university began with student publications that predated the start of journalism instruction by more than 60 years. But a crisis at the Daily Student (now the Indiana Daily Student) in 1906 led to the establishment of sustained journalism education at IU. A fictitious and libelous story in the newspaper led the IU administration to create a Department of Journalism.

After briefly turning to Indianapolis newspaperman Adolph Schmuck to provide leadership for journalism courses, Joseph Piercy, a 17-year veteran of The Indianapolis News (which folded in 1999), was appointed the first director of the Department of Journalism in 1911.

"It makes sense to date the beginning of the department's history to the appointment of Piercy," Johnson said. "For nearly three decades he provided stability for the program."

IU School of Journalism Centennial

In 1983, Barbara Toman, shown here leading a critique session in the IDS newsroom, was chosen as the first female Rhodes Scholar from IU.

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In 1974, the Department of Journalism was designated as a school with IU's College of Arts and Sciences. The school began offering a degree at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in 1984. In 1989, the school was given separate status and the first Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree was awarded in 1991.

Over the last 10 decades, alumni have included a range of distinguished journalists, educators and influencers such as Nelson Poynter, president of The Times Publishing Co. and founder of the Modern Media Institute (renamed the Poynter Institute after his death in 1978); and John W. Hill, a founder of Hill & Knowlton, one of the largest PR companies in the world.

Over its history, six alumni of the school have been awarded individual Pulitzer Prizes and another alumnus was recognized through his paper's public service award.

IU School of Journalism Centennial

Ryan Dorgan poses in 2010 with children he met in Kenya as part of J460: Reporting on HIV/AIDS in Africa. Today, the school sends many students abroad, including to Japan, Europe, South Korea, Chile and Australia

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Pulitzer Prize winners include:

  • Pyle, the famed World War II correspondent;
  • Michel du Cille, a three-time winning photojournalist and picture editor of the Washington Post;
  • James Polk, who helped to uncover the Watergate scandal and today is a senior producer at CNN;
  • Gene Miller, an investigative reporter at The Miami Herald who won two Pulitzer Prizes for reporting that helped save innocent men on Florida's Death Row from execution;
  • Thomas French, a feature writer who now also serves as the school's Riley Endowed Chair in Journalism;
  • Bill Foley, a photojournalist who has worked on assignment in more than 47 countries.

Another alumnus, Donald Mellett, was honored when his paper, The Canton Daily News (later acquired by The Repository), was awarded the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The paper was so honored largely because of the efforts of its editor Mellett, who was assassinated the year before after confronting local organized crime in Canton, Ohio.

Hundreds of its students also have won awards for their work over the years at student publications such as the Arbutus yearbook and the IDS, which was awarded two of its many National Pacemaker Awards in 2010, when it also earned four National Gold Crown Awards. The journalism school this year won the prestigious Hearst Intercollegiate Writing Competition -- often considered the "Pulitzer Prizes of college journalism" -- for the second year in a row.

IU School of Journalism Centennial

Student journalist Nathan Hart, right, interviews College Freshman of the Year and Kentucky guard John Wall after a United States Basketball Writers Association in 2010. (Photo by James Brosher / IU Student News Bureau)

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Since February, the school has celebrated its centennial with a series of alumni events.

In Chicago, Gerould Kern, BA '71, editor of the Chicago Tribune, welcomed more than 150 alumni. Paul Tash, BA '76, chief executive officer of the Times Publishing Co. and chair of the Poynter Institute, hosted a similar event in St. Petersburg, Fla., in March.

In Washington, current and past officers of the National Press Club, secretary Joel Whitaker, BS '64, MA '71, and Tammy Lytle, BA '83, in April welcomed IU President Michael McRobbie and alumni from the 1940s through the late 2000s. In May, special guests at a New York event included the granddaughter of John Stempel, BA '23, who led the Department of Journalism from 1938 to 1968.

More information about the IU School of Journalism is available at