By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Today and Saturday, the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication will celebrate 100 years of excellence in journalism.
With more than 200 alumni expected to attend the celebration, the journalism college will honor and acknowledge the important work of its alumni. Gaylord College graduates have influenced the field of journalism by editing leading newspapers, winning Pulitzer Prizes and being front-runners in the Oklahoma newspaper industry.
Initially, the University of Oklahoma faced opposition from publishers and editors of Oklahoma newspapers in the development of a separate school of journalism, as many believed journalism skills could only be acquired in the field.
However, with the support and effort of professor Theodore Hampton Brewer and President Stratton Brooks, the journalism college came to fruition in 1913, and the journalism program slowly overcame opposition by offering coursework that required 10 weeks of on-the-job training. T.H. Brewer and H.H. Herbert served as the school’s first two professors.
From simple beginnings of a three-classroom, one-story building, the college of journalism has produced more than 11,000 graduates in 100 years. Today, students keep up with the rapidly changing communication industry in Gaylord Hall, a facility made possible by the donation of the Edward L. Gaylord family in 2000. There, students have the opportunity to learn from elite educators and are on the path to becoming future alumni themselves.
Currently, the college offers five majors within three fields of study. Continuing the importance of on-the-job training established by Brewer and Herbert, the college still helps students obtain internships and work experience that is hands-on.
Alumni visiting campus this weekend will have the chance to remember the opportunities Gaylord College afforded them as well as the good times they shared with fellow journalism students.
“We have a robust set of events for returning alumni,” Gaylord College Dean Joe Foote said. “President Boren will kick off things, and we’ll have everything from a faculty panel to a reception.”
Today, registration and building tours — along with student interaction — will begin at 8:30 a.m. A JayMac Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony will follow at 10 a.m. Recipients of the award include John Admire, class of ’64, who served 33 years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps; Shane Boyd, class of ’86, who currently serves as the vice president of corporate communications for Devon Energy; and Donna Shirley, class of ’63, who is a well-known manager, educator, speaker, consultant and trainer on the management of creative teams.
After the awards ceremony, a centennial luncheon will be at 11:30 a.m. in the Sandy Bell Gallery of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. A faculty panel discussion of the future of media will begin at 1:30 p.m.
“Reflections in the Round” will commence at 3 p.m. and will be moderated by Linda Cavanaugh and Bart Conner. A cocktail reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Oklahoma Memorial Union will conclude today’s events.
On Saturday, alumni can enjoy Sooner football. Bill Hancock, BCS executive director and journalism college class of ’72 graduate, will speak about the future of the BCS from 3 to 4 p.m. A tailgate party in the eastside courtyard will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. prior to the OU-West Virginia game.
The Gaylord Prize event honoring Tim Brokaw has been postponed until the spring semester.
Throughout the weekend, Gaylord Ambassadors, undergraduate students who serve as liaisons, will have the chance to interact and learn from alumni as they give tours and present videos. One video, “This is My Classroom,” will honor the school itself and focus on the many opportunities the college brings current students.
While enjoying centennial celebration events, alumni should be on the lookout for “University of Oklahoma Journalism: A Centennial History.” Written by three alumni — Bob Burke, class of ’70, Bill Moore, class of ’79 and Andy Rieger, class of ’80 — the centennial book is a narrative history of the journalism college.
The book features historical photos and bios of distinguished journalism alumni. Over the weekend, the book will be on sale for $24.95, and an electronic version through iTunes should be available soon.
Still in contact with 9,000 alumni, the Gaylord College of Journalism looks to be around for another 100 years. Dean Foote said the centennial celebration commemorates the college’s superb alumni network and the inspiration those alumni provide for current students.
“This weekend is particularly gratifying for me. As an alumni, I get to reminisce with friends, and in my leadership role, I get to see what current students are moving toward and achieving,” Dean Foote said. “This weekend is about celebrating both the past and the present of the journalism college.”