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CCI History Timeline

Communications Building (Historical)

The Student Press Begins, 1871

In 1871, students at the university published a semi-monthly newspaper, The University Times-Prospectus, which included “literature, science, news, wit, humor and whatever else may be of interest in connection with the Institution.”

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The Orange and White Goes to Press, 1904

The Orange and White student newspaper was founded, first as a weekly and then as a semi-weekly. The newspaper served as the forerunner to the Daily Beacon, which launched in 1965.

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Journalists Begin Classes, 1923

The English department began offering journalism classes in 1923. The courses included instruction on “practical exercises in the writing of the news-story, the sport-story, and special feature-articles” and “exercises in headline-writing, criticism, and editorials, together with a study of the mechanics of modern printing.”

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Advertising Classes First Offered, 1924

The Department of Advertising traces its origins to the School of Commerce and the Department of Marketing, which offered UT’s first two advertising courses in 1924: “Sales Management” and “Advertising and Selling Campaigns.” The University of Tennessee was among the first 30 schools in the United States to offer instruction in marketing and advertising.

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Library Science Classes Start, 1928

In 1928, the College of Liberal Arts offered its first courses in Library Science when it launched an undergraduate school library media education program. The program’s launch coincided with the first national efforts by library communities to evaluate school libraries and draw up standards to measure their effectiveness.

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Public Relations Classes Begin, 1932

The first public relations classes were offered in 1932. For many years, public relations was a part of the journalism curriculum before joining advertising as the School of Advertising and Public Relations in 2003.

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Department of Library Service Established, 1944

Library Science moved from the College of Liberal Arts to the College of Education, becoming the Department of Library Service in 1944.

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Department of Journalism Created, 1947

Two years after the end of World War II, the Department of Journalism began inside the College of Business under the leadership of Willis Tucker in 1947. There were two sequences within the department: news-editorial and business.

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WUOT Hits the Airwaves, 1949

WUOT, the first noncommercial educational radio station in Tennessee, hit the airwaves on Oct. 27, 1949. The 3,000-watt station aired five hours of classical music and educational programming Monday through Friday.

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Journalism Becomes a School, 1957

After years of growth, the Department of Journalism become the School of Journalism in 1957. The school had added a Radio-TV course track in 1953 and the journalism program was accredited by the American Council for Education in Journalism in 1955.

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The Daily Beacon is Born, 1965

Established on April 20, 1965, the Daily Beacon succeeded the Orange and White as the student newspaper on campus. David Hall (’65) developed a plan for the student-managed paper with the Publications Council. Today, the Daily Beacon as a distribution of 10,000 per day during the school year and 5,000 during the summer.

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Speech and Theatre Department Founded, 1968

The Speech and Theatre Department, forerunner to the School of Communication Studies, was founded in the College of Arts & Sciences and offered BA and MFA degrees.

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A College is Born, 1969

The College of Communications was founded on July 1, 1969. The college was formed from the existing Department of Journalism and the newly established Department of Advertising. That year, the college moved into a brand-new facility that CCI still calls home today: the Communications and University Extension Building.

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Department of Broadcasting Begins, 1970

The Department of Broadcasting was established in the College of Communications. That year, the college also granted its first master’s degree in journalism.

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An Independent Graduate School, 1971

An independent Graduate School of Library and Information Science was established in 1971 and housed in the Temple Court Building. The program was nationally accredited by the American Library Association a year later.  

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Distance Educators, 1972

The Graduate School of Library and Information Science faculty offered the first distance education courses off-campus in Chattanooga by visiting faculty members in 1972, beginning what would eventually become a robust distance education program supported by leading-edge technology instruction and delivery.

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The First Doctorate, 1977

The college awarded its first Phd degree in 1977. Today, students gain an expertise in a primary area (Advertising, Communication Studies, Information Sciences, Journalism and Electronic Media, or Public Relations) and a cognate area.

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WUTK Rocks, 1982

While the city of Knoxville was looking toward the energy future at the 1982 World’s Fair, the College of Communications was also forward-facing with the launch of WUTK that same year. The educational, non-profit radio station was first licensed to broadcast at 128 watts. WUTK was first known as Album 90, playing a mix or alternative rock and jazz. WUTK paved the way for many now popular acts such as REM, The Clash, Elvis Costello, and The Cure.

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Department of Speech Communication Established, 1987

The Speech and Theatre program was divided into two units in the College of Liberal Arts. The Department of Speech Communication was founded on July 1, 1987, and Lorayne Lester was selected as the first department head.

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Center for Information Studies Founded, 1989

The School of Information Studies was founded in 1989, serving as a forerunner to the Center for Information and Communications Studies.

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Happy 25th Anniversary, 1994

The College of Communications celebrated its 25th anniversary and established the Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award. Named for the college’s first dean, the Hileman Award is the highest alumni honor given annually by the college.

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School of Information Sciences Established, 1994

The Graduate School of Library and Information Science became the School of Information Sciences in 1994. It was a decade of great change for the school, which admitted its first doctoral student in 1996. The School of Information Sciences offered its first course on the internet in 1999 and admitted students into a fully web-based distance degree program in 2000.

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The College of Communications Grows Again, 1997

After a faculty vote in the spring, the Speech Communication program officially moved to the College of Communication on July 1, 1997. The program physically moved to the Communications Building in December 1999.

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The Beginning of CCI, 2003

The College of Communications became the College of Communication and Information in 2003 when the School of Information Sciences joined the college. CCI has four schools: Advertising and Public Relations, Communication Studies, Information Sciences, and Journalism and Electronic Media.

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PR Major Added, 2004

For many years, public relations studies were housed inside the journalism curriculum. The public relations major, CCI’s fourth undergraduate major, was established in 2003 as part of the new School of Advertising and Public Relations.

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CICS Rebrands, 2007

The college-wide research center was renamed Center for Information and Communication Studies in 2007. The program was formerly the Center for Information Studies, founded by the School of Information Sciences.

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Scripps Lab Opens, 2010

The Scripps Convergence Lab opened in 2010. Today, the renovated space includes student work computers and meeting areas, a theater for guest speakers and presentations, and the Williams Conference Room and observation room.

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The New Auditorium, 2013

The Larry Patrick Auditorium was dedicated Nov. 8, 2013. The renovated classroom and presentation space was named for alumnus Larry Patrick (MS ’73), who given in many ways to CCI over the years, including a $1 million cash gift to establish the Herb Howard Distinguished Professorship and a $5 million estate gift to convert the professorship to a faculty chair in the future.

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Land Grant Films Founded, 2015

Land Grant Films, headed by Journalism and Electronic Media Associate Professor Nick Geidner, is a student documentary film group that officially took its name in 2015 but whose roots trace back a few years earlier. Geidner and a group of students embarked on the Medal of Honor Project, a one-hour documentary that aired locally on WBIR-TV in 2013 and that sparked an idea for a documentary storytelling organization in CCI. Today, Land Grant Films is working on “The Library That Dolly Built,” a film about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

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Adam Brown Social Media Command Center Opens, 2016

The Adam Brown Social Media Command Center opened in 2016. The facility is powered by Salesforce Social Studio, the industry standard for social media monitoring and analysis. While it is run by the School of Advertising and Public Relations, the facility has wide-ranging uses for all school and research projects.

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The Fifth Major, 2019

The 2019-20 academic year marks the 50th anniversary of CCI and another period of growth for the college. The School of Information Sciences added an undergraduate degree program beginning in 2019 fall semester.

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