Select Page

Journalism @50: Moving Forward in Style will headline Homecoming 2018 activities at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Oct. 19-20.

As the journalism department turns 50, anniversary events will include a professional development day on Friday with professional talks, panel discussions and a keynote address by alumnus Jim VandeHei ’95, founder of Axios and Politico.

“Many J-alumni stepped forward to join us in celebration by leading pro talks and media panels, as well as offering resource support, which helped us put together an interactive program featuring all the ways that we keep moving forward in journalism, multimedia, public relations and advertising,” said Sara Steffes Hansen, journalism department chair. “We will welcome back more than 40 speakers from diverse media roles locally, nationally and internationally.”

On Saturday evening, the department’s 2,600 alumni are invited back to their alma mater for a reunion celebration at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center.

The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., includes a program at 7 p.m., with a “Looking Back and Moving Forward” video and alumni speakers Jeff Griffith ’87, of Jeff Griffith Creative; Mariah Haberman ’10, of Discover Wisconsin; Brody Karmenzind ’14, of Facebook; and Pat Steigman ’88, of ESPN. Entertainment from the Hi-Tones, featuring former adjunct art and journalism professor Kevin Rau, begins at  8 p.m.

“We themed the event Moving Forward in Style to represent the department’s efforts over the years to support the core values of journalism and writing style, while keeping current with culture, technology and the modern demands of media work,” Steffes Hansen said.

An online timeline of the department’s history, developed for the anniversary, details key milestones:

  • The journalism department was founded in 1968 by David “Doc” Lippert to train news reporters.
  • The first four journalism students—Eileen Hammer, David Hawk, Philip Meyer and Steve Van Vuren—graduated in 1969.
  • Journalism’s curriculum expanded in 1974 to include advertising-public relations.
  • The department gained accreditation in 1978 from the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
  • In 1985, the department evolved its tools for writing, editing and publication by replacing typewriters with word processors in student labs.
  • The Journalism Advisory Board formed in 1996 to provide faculty with professional insight for curriculum, internships and strategic initiatives.
  • The curriculum grows from two emphases to five—advertising, media studies, public relations, visual and writing/editing.
  • The department is granted the Certification of Education for Public Relations by the Public Relations Society of America, becoming the first university in Wisconsin to receive the distinction.
  • In 2015 and 2018, the department introduced two new majors—the public relations major and the multimedia journalism major, respectively.

“Media and society have changed dramatically since 1968,” Steffes Hansen said. “But our focus has remained constant–to create a vibrant environment that teaches core journalism principles, encourages creativity, keeps pace with technology and provides hands-on experiences for students to step into dynamic media careers.”

Learn more: