SOJC centennial markIn 1916 the University of Oregon’s Department of Journalism became the School of Journalism, with newspaperman Eric W. Allen at the helm. Since then, a lot has changed — in the world, in journalism and in the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) — but the school remains committed to its mission to inform the public.

Allen and two full-time faculty taught courses in newswriting, printing, newspaper manufacturing, proofreading, history of journalism and editorial, laws of the press and the psychology of advertising. Only four students graduated in the class of 1916.

For the nearly 30 years that Allen led the school, it was shaped greatly by his commitment to freedom of the press and serving the public interest as well as his philosophy of journalism education. He believed that journalism students must have a liberal arts foundation, professional journalism education and a commitment to free speech and public service.

In the years since his death in 1944, the school has honored Allen’s vision while expanding to include master’s and doctoral programs in media and society; master’s programs in strategic communication, multimedia journalism and journalism; undergraduate majors in journalism, advertising, public relations and media studies; and certificate programs in communication ethics and new media and culture. In 2016, the school has 64 full-time and nearly 30 part-time faculty members and will count more than 600 students in its centennial graduating class.

Over the years the SOJC has responded to changes in the communication landscape while never losing sight of its public mission. “The communication professions are constantly in flux — and never more so in the last decade. As we continue to teach, learn and innovate, we are informed by the ethical responsibilities of professional communicators and the core values and skills of our professions,” says Tim Gleason, former SOJC dean and current centennial committee chair. “As we work on the Internet and communicate via social media and text, the 19th-century flatbed printing press on display in Allen Hall is a constant reminder of our history and tradition.”

To honor its milestone year, the SOJC has developed a centennial mark and will be installing visual displays around Allen Hall, including a gallery wall on the second floor that pays tribute to the experiences of journalism and communication students throughout the decades. Current students can become part of the interactive display by uploading photos via Instagram using the hashtag #LifeasaJStudent. The school will also publish an interactive digital timeline on its #SOJC100 webpage and a commemorative coffee table book featuring stories, images and memorabilia from the past century contributed by alumni, faculty and friends of the school that will be available in the fall.

This year is also significant for the SOJC because the school will be welcoming a new dean. A search committee led by Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs Doug Blandy and assisted by Parker Executive Search is accepting nominations and applications for an academic and administrative leader who can guide the school into its next 100 years with a strong vision.

“We will incorporate the centennial into all that we do in the SOJC this year,” Gleason says. “It is a moment to celebrate the school’s history and tradition and to look forward to the next 100 years.”

The SOJC will be celebrating its centennial throughout 2016 with a number of special public events, starting with its 100th kickoff party this month and culminating in October with the Hall of Achievement Dinner. Scheduled events include:

Centennial Kickoff Party
Wednesday, Jan. 20, 4-6 p.m.
Allen Hall Atrium

Ruhl Lecture: Stephen Engelberg, “Accountability Journalism in the Digital Age”
Thursday, Feb. 18, 4-6 p.m.
Gerlinger Alumni Lounge

Johnston Lecture: John Markoff, “Three Reporting Cultures”
Thursday, April 14, 5-7 p.m.
George S. Turnbull Portland Center, White Stag Block, Portland

What Is Media? Conference
April 15-16
White Stag Block, Portland

100th Commencement Ceremony
June 2016
Matthew Knight Arena

Hall of Achievement Dinner
Thursday, Oct. 27, 6-8 p.m.
Cheryl Ramberg Ford & Allyn Ford Alumni Center

Visit the #SOJC100 webpage to find out more about these events.

Story by Andra Brichacek