Greenlee School history

This spring Iowa State University begins celebrating 100 years of excellence in journalism and communication.

In 1905 the state’s first journalism program began at Iowa State with the offering of a one-credit class in agricultural journalism.

The department was officially recognized in 1925 as the Department of Technical Journalism in the College of Agriculture, offering majors in agricultural and home economics journalism. A master’s program in technical journalism was first offered in 1947.

In 1969, the program was renamed the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

During the late 1980s the program’s future was uncertain. In 1989, the consulting firm of KPMG Peat Marwick, which looked for unnecessary duplication at the three state-supported universities, recommended Iowa State cut the journalism and mass communication program.

But, with the leadership of then department chair Tom Emmerson and the support of the university and alumni, the Regents eventually voted to retain the program.

As part of that vote, the Regents mandated that the department be moved from the College of Agriculture to what’s now called the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In addition, Jl MC and the telecommunicative arts program, which was formerly under the Department of Speech Communication, were required to merge. The pairing resulted in the journalism department offering an emphasis in electronic media studies.

A celebrated event in 1990 was the Iowa State Daily’s centennial. First named the Iowa Agricultural College Student, the student-run newspaper was launched Aug. 7, 1890.
The department in 1991 saw advertising studies evolve from an emphasis area to a major of its own.

Also during the early 1990s electronic media studies students and faculty found themselves witnessing, if not involved in, a legal battle surrounding the sale of the university-owned television station. The Iowa Supreme Court eventually authorized the Iowa Regents to sell WOI-TV to Capital Cities Communications Inc. in 1994.

And in 1998 the program became the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication as a result of a $9 million gift from Iowa State alumni Robert and Diane Greenlee of Boulder, Colo. The Greenlees’ generous gift is one of the largest ever given to Iowa State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Two anonymous gifts also financed the $2 million facelift of Hamilton Hall in 2003. The improvements included the addition of a student lounge and seminar room and the renovation of the Reading Room, three classrooms and faculty and administrative offices.

Today, Iowa State is recognized for building a solid reputation that has received national accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications since 1948. Iowa State’s Greenlee School has become the largest and most comprehensive journalism and communication program in Iowa.

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