When Will Owen Jones walked into a University of Nebraska classroom in 1894 to teach the first journalism class he started a blend of professional expertise and academic excellence which continues today. Jones later became famous as editor of the Nebraska State Journal, a predecessor of the Lincoln Journal Star.

The journalism courses continued to evolve until, through the leadership of English professor Miller Moore Fogg, a School of Journalism was formed in 1923. Fogg became the first director of the School of Journalism and served until his death in 1926.

Fogg's young assistant, Gayle Walker, immediately was named interim director. After completing additional graduate study, Walker was named director. Walker directed the program until 1942. This period brought increased cooperation with faculty members in several academic departments. These persons were considered to be part of the interdepartmental approach to help with journalism classes.

Experienced journalist Harold Hamil became director in 1942 but resigned to take an editorial position with a St. Louis newspaper in 1944. Business professor Forest Blood, who was identified with advertising coursework, was the interim director from 1944 to 1946.

After the end of World War II, the University of Nebraska J School made several important advances. Dr. William Swindler was named director in 1946. New quarters in Burnett Hall became available in 1948. Advertising classes continued to be part of the curriculum in cooperation with the Business College. Broadcast news classes were established in cooperation with the Speech Department, which had started to offer radio courses in 1937. When Swindler went on to become a law professor at the College of William and Mary, William Hall became director in 1956.

Hall presided over the move from Burnett to Nebraska Hall as well as the expansion of the journalism course offerings. When KUON-TV came on the air in 1954 through the leadership of Jack McBride, the public television station's facilities made it possible to offer television classes. Leadership by Nebraska professionals encouraged the move of all broadcasting courses to the School of Journalism in 1963. The advertising sequence of courses also was developed during this period. The news-editorial major became very successful in the national Hearst Awards competition.

These national successes resulted in a White House meeting with President Kennedy, a meeting that included Director Hall, Professor Neale Copple and several students.

In 1966, Bill Hall became the director of the Ohio State University School of Journalism. Neale Copple, who had earned his undergraduate degree from NU and joined the faculty during Hall's tenure. He quickly became a national figure with the publication of his depth reporting book. Copple, who succeeded Hall, led the program through more changes and to even greater national prominence

Courses were changed, and new courses were added. The news-editorial, broadcasting and advertising majors were improved. Broadcasting and advertising majors joined the news-editorial majors as approved for accreditation in 1972. Radio station KRNU (FM) went on the air in 1970 to provide professional opportunities for broadcasting students. In 1972, the J-School moved to three floors in Avery Hall. The facilities were major improvements even though the enrollment increases quickly used all available space.

In 1974 the Nebraska Legislature passed a bill which authorized a graduate program for journalism/mass communication in. By 1976 the graduate courses were realities. In 1979, upon the recommendation of Chancellor Roy Young, the NU Board of Regents elevated the J-School from department status in the College of Arts and Sciences to an independent position. Neale Copple's title was changed to dean. A 1985 adjustment in Nebraska laws that govern the University of Nebraska clarified the independence when the official name became the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

When Copple retired in 1990, Dr. Will Norton, then chair of the Department of Journalism at the University of Mississippi, became dean. Norton, who continued to blend professional and academic expertise, led the program toward even greater involvement and influence on the national level.

The journalism graduate program became available to professional journalists throughout the world via several satellite and Internet technologies. With these same systems, continuing education for professionals was offered through teleconferences. The teleconferences were developed through partnerships with professional associations and other universities.

The need to advance to keep the college a national leader resulted in the organization and implementation of a plan to move from Avery Hall. With the acquisition of the former Security Mutual Life building, renamed Harold and Marian Andersen Hall, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications has started a new era. Read more about what's special about CoJMC.