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The Beginning

In 1897, five years after the University of Oklahoma opened its doors, the first student-run newspaper, The Umpire, made its debut. In 1903 it became a semiweekly news publication called the University Oklahoman. By 1916, the paper had taken on the name that it still carries today, The Oklahoma Daily.

Sensing the need for professional training, some of The Umpire staff asked for a class in newspaper fundamentals. This first journalism course was placed within the English department as a one-semester two-credit course entitled English 33. Jerome Dowd, a Sociology/Economics professor and Theodore Brewer, head of the English Department, taught it. Since both had worked in the newspaper business before becoming professors, Dowd as an editor and Brewer as a staff member, they were well able to teach the first class of eight students. By 1910, Mr. Brewer had become the only teacher.

By 1912, as demand for more classes grew, Professor Brewer realized the need for a complete school of journalism. This need was also recognized by then OU President Stratton Brooks, who applied to the State Board of Education for a separate journalism school.

On May 24, 1913, the Board approved President Brooks' request, and the School of Journalism, located within the College of Arts and Sciences, was born. The school was to officially begin in the fall semester on September 1, 1913.

Professor Theodore Brewer was appointed as the first director of the new School of Journalism, and along with Jerome Dowd, became the first two professors.


The new curriculum consisted of 24 hours of journalism and ten weeks of fieldwork at a newspaper. Classes included newspaper work fundamentals, organization of the city room, and the duties of the reporter. In 1915, the first two graduates received a minor in Journalism and a Certificate of completion.

Over the past 100 years, many new classes were added and students now have a wide variety to choose from.