Wow, the 40th anniversary of the Journalism/Communication, Mass Communication and Media Arts department celebration is scheduled for September 24th. I can’t believe how time flies. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Rita Travis started the Journalism/Communication program in 1976. The academic concentrations were News/Editorial, Advertising/Public Relations and Broadcasting. Rita served as department chair for more than ten years and as advisor to The Encounter, our bi-weekly newspaper. She taught History of American Journalism, Media Law, Ethics and all newspaper writing courses. Art Hellyer taught all of the radio courses as an adjunct professor. I was hired as a visiting professor in May of 1978, full-time in 1979. I taught courses in Speech, Writing for Electronic Media and served as advisor to WCSF Radio 640 a.m., a carrier current station. The signal could only be heard in the dorms and it usually had a terrible hum.
Years later, we added a graphic communication concentration, secured an educational FM radio station license and built a television production facility. Other full time faculty members joined the department through the years such as Walter Hamilton (radio), Jack Prendergast (photography), Scott Marshall (comm theory), Terre Rosner (media arts), and Brien McHugh who now serves as department chair.
Through the years, faculty and students attended media conferences in Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York. The road trips were always a lot of fun and educational. We even ran a high school basketball tournament for three years to help raise funds for new video cameras. Recently, the computer labs, radio station and video facilities have been updated with the latest hardware and software.
Although the student faces have changed, some things have stayed the same, dedicated faculty and a strong commitment from students to supplement their learning by participating in the campus media: The Encounter, WCSF Radio and USF-TV. I’m hoping to see many of our faculty and alums at our upcoming 40th anniversary of our academic program.