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Troy University’s Hall School of Journalism kicks off 50th anniversary

Troy University’s Hall School of Journalism embarked on it’s 50th anniversary celebration by unveiling a new slogan that honors the school’s legacy and it’s continuing mission to educate journalists of tomorrow.

The university held a contest, which included students, the faculty and staff, as well as alumni, to submit ideas for a new slogan for the Hall School of Journalism in celebration of its 50th anniversary. The only rule for the contest was to describe the Hall School of Journalism’s mission and values in five words or less.

The winning slogan, “Shaping Ethical and Trustworthy Communicators,” was submitted by Harvey “Jim” Kerlin II, an adjunct marketing faculty member. The graphic design for the slogan was created by Madi Meyer Holmes, a 2021 Troy University graphic design graduate.

The university unveiled the new slogan and kicked off the Hall School of Journalisms’ 50th anniversary celebration on Friday. Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr., was on hand for the celebration and made special note of just how important a free press is to a democracy.

“Journalists have a duty to seek the truth and report it,” Hawkins said. “One of the namesakes of the Hall School of Journalism, Grover C. Hall, won a Pulitzer Prize for telling the truth about the Ku Klux Klan in 1928. He did that at a great personal risk. That same commitment to the truth remains our goal — shaping journalists devoted to reporting facts and telling the truth.”

Journalism at Troy University dates back to 1970 when the Troy State University Department of English began offering journalism classes. In 1970, TSU President Ralph Adams and Gov. George Wallace formed the Hall School of Journalism on Dec. 16, 1971.

John R. Chamberlain was the school’s first dean and the Troy State University academic council approved a journalism major and minor and a journalism education minor. Subsequent deans included Judy Wagnon in 1975, Jim Hall in 1977, Merrill Bankester in 1981, Steve Padgett in 1996 and Padgett became director in 1998 when the Hall School of Journalism became part of a college. Jeff Spurlock was named director in 2014 and Amanda Diggs was named interim director in 2021.

In 1975, the first broadcast courses were added and students began producing 15-minute news segments. The same year, the Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists was established at TSU.

In 2008, industry changes were reflected in the university’s course offerings. A master of science degree in strategic communications was offered and the print journalism major was changed to multimedia journalism.

In 2014, the Radio-Television News Association named Troy’s program sixth in a survey of the Top 20 College Journalism Programs in the country.

After unveiling the slogan, students were able to attend a Master Class, with two-time Hall School alumna Meagan Hart Dorsey to hear about her experiences working as a journalist and public relations professional.

On Friday afternoon, students were slated to participate in an afternoon of deadline driven con-tests and close out the day by visiting the International Arts Center for a reception for “The Art of the Story: A Year Through a Troy Lens.”