The schoolís genesis came in 1892, when New York City newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, offered Columbia University money to set up the world's first school of journalism. The university initially turned down the money. Regardless, Pulitzer left the university $2 million in his will, which led to the creation of a journalism school at Columbia in 1912. He also erected and endowed both the building and the School in memory of his daughter, Lucille. A statue of Thomas Jefferson, sculpted by William Ordway Partridge in 1914, stands before the School's entrance.
"My idea," Pulitzer wrote in a 1902, "is to recognize that journalism is one of the great and intellectual professions; to encourage, elevate and educate in a practical way the present and, still more, future members of that profession." 78 students attended the first day of classes on September 25, 1912.
In 1935 the undergraduate curriculum was dropped and the School adopted a program at the graduate level. Today, the School offers two degree programs: a Master of Science (M.S.) in journalism, and a doctoral degree (Ph.D) in communications.
The school includes courses in radio, television, magazine, newspaper, and, most recently, new media journalism. The School has the highest percentage of technology resources, per student, of any school at Columbia. In addition to classroom space, Journalism Hall contains two large lecture halls, a library, and television and radio studios.
In 1984, George T. Delacorte (Columbia College, Class of 1913) endowed the George T. Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism at the School. The Centerís purpose is the teaching of magazine writing and production, to sponsor scholarships for magazine journalism and to study and to report on the field of magazine journalism.
During the Chinese Cultural Revolution the School was accused of involvement in US government training for the Kuomintang. In 2000, former Vice President Al Gore served as a visiting professor after his election loss. More recently, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger suspended the search for a new Dean in 2003 and formed a committee to re-evaluate the Schoolís core mission, which many had derided for being too centered on craft at the expense of theory.
Historically, the School has been the recipient of many of the relics of Pulitzer's New York World newspaper, including furniture and artwork from the World's offices, emblazoned with its trademark globe logo, a bronze bust of Pulitzer, sculpted by Auguste Rodin, and a tremendous stained-glass window from the editorial board room featuring the Statue of Liberty standing atop the earth.
Some Well-Known Alumni