Not for the Glory but for the Story: One Hundred Years of Change at the IU School of Journalism

Indiana University
School of Journalism Centennial
Bloomington Convention Center
Bloomington, Indiana
September 16, 2011


On behalf of Indiana University, it is my great pleasure to welcome many of you back to Bloomington for this centennial celebration of the IU School of Journalism. A few of you may know that my eldest daughter Josephine graduated with her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2007, and so you will understand my interest in the school and my pleasure at being asked to join you for tonight’s celebration.

The Long Tradition of Journalism at Indiana University

At the time the Department of Journalism was established in 1911, journalism already had a strong connection to the great traditions of Indiana University.  In fact, the history of journalism at IU even predates the first course in reporting, taught here in 1893.  That history dates back to the early 1840s and is intimately tied to a number of IU presidents. 

One of the first papers to appear at Indiana University was published monthly for about a year by none other than the son of IU’s first president Andrew Wylie. The Indiana Student—later renamed the Indiana Daily Student—made its debut in the 1866-67 school year and has been the university’s longest-running paper.  Volume nine, which came out in November 1882, was particularly notable.  It was edited by IU’s tenth president William Lowe Bryan and contained articles by four past and future IU presidents. Some years later, IU’s legendary 11th president Herman B Wells served on the IDS news staff.1

A Great History of Leadership

This great history is a testimony to strong leadership over the years.  That leadership includes such figures as Professor J.W. Piercy, who first chaired the Department of Journalism in 1911.  Upon his retirement in 1938—that is 27 years later—John Stempel took the helm.  A 1923 IU graduate in history, Mr. Stempel had served as editor-in-chief of the Daily Student and went on to positions at a number of leading newspapers of the day before returning to IU as department chair.  We are delighted that Mr. Stempel’s son John and his family were able to join us this evening.2

That leadership also includes the first dean of the School of Journalism Richard Gray as well as Trevor Brown, who, I am pleased to say, is also here this evening. 

As all of you know, Dean Brad Hamm has continued the tradition of strong leadership of the school.  He has brought a vision for the School of Journalism that reaches across the nation and around the world, and he has shown the tireless energy necessary to make that vision a reality. 

The Evolving World of Journalism

Such leadership comes at a crucial time for the school since journalism as a profession is undergoing radical changes.  Students today are preparing for a world where technology is ubiquitous, and the thirst for information ever-present. This world demands a new breed of journalist who is prepared to use new technology, to work in emerging fields, and to transform themselves to meet the needs of a changing media landscape.

The school has evolved over the years from a department within the College of Arts and Sciences to a school within the College to an independent school in its own right.  It will continue to evolve, providing the most modern and contemporary education to students while also continuing to achieve the excellence that we have come to expect. 

Outstanding Faculty: Outstanding Students

That excellence has always depended on outstanding faculty, and some of the best names in journalism and journalism education have been on the IU faculty over the years.  I am delighted that so many past and present members of the faculty could be here this evening.

Out of this rich environment where theoretical analysis is paired with practical hands-on experience, the Indiana University School of Journalism has grown into one of the finest in the country.  And our graduates are the finest measure of this.  They are editors, reporters, and photojournalists at this country’s finest magazines and newspapers.  They are public relations specialists, advertising experts, and media lawyers.  They are in television, radio, and film.  They are professors in this country’s finest universities.  They are not in it for the glory but for the story.

Of course, if we do think of the glory, these names might come to mind:  Mellett, Stadler, Kidd, Graffis, Pyle, Miller, Farlow, Moss, Ashenfelter, Wilson, Lyman, Housewerth, Weaver, Hubartt, Zuber, Curtis, Penner, Haynes, Grimmer, Dorman, Antoine, Banks, Fullam, Luzadder, Zlatos, Chamberlin, Polk, Foley, duCille, and French.3

These thirty people—the last four of whom, I am proud to say, are here this evening—are the Pulitzer Prize winners who have graduated from the IU School of Journalism.

I could continue by sharing the names of countless alumni who have received DuPont Awards, Peabodys, Emmys, Webbys, and other recognition of the outstanding contributions they have made to their fields.

Needless to say, we are tremendously proud of the accomplishments of all of our graduates. Your achievements not only reflect on Indiana University, but they are an inspiration to the aspiring journalism students at IU and beyond.

Now, it is my pleasure to invite Provost Hanson and Dean Hamm to the stage for a special presentation.

Source Notes

  1. Much of this information comes from the article “Journalism at Indiana University Extends Back to the Early Forties,” which appeared in the 22 June 1907 issue of the Indiana Daily Student (Page 2).
  2. Information about John Stempel comes from Indiana University Archives, History of Journalism 1934-1990 file.
  3. “The History of the Pulitzer Prizes.” IU School of Journalism Newswire Magazine 25.2 (Fall/Winter 1998-99) Page 2-3.