When the Fine Arts department moved to a new location on campus, plans were afoot to renovate Arts Hall, turning it into the university’s communications center. With funding from the state and the U. S. Office of Education, the new building was renovated and furnished with two large television studios, classrooms, a screening room, a backstage ready room, and a scene construction and storage room. In 1973, this new complex (a combination of the new building and the old Arts Hall) recognized the status of one of Washington State University’s most famous graduates and one of journalism’s most prominent icons, Edward R. Murrow, naming the building The Edward R. Murrow Communication Center. University President Glenn Terrell explained the decision to name the facilities after Murrow: “Today we are here to dedicate this building in memory of the person who perhaps made the most significant contribution to the field of communications in the history of this nation.”
The dedication ceremony brought a number of significant figures to the campus, among them Eric Sevareid, colleague of Murrow and correspondent for CBS’ Henry Loomis, president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington, D.C., and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Harry S. Ashmore. Murrow’s brother, Dewey, widow, Janet, and their son, Casey, also were present. In connection with the building’s dedication, on the previous evening at Bohler Gym on campus, Sevareid was the featured speaker to an audience of 1,500 people. This event was to be the first Edward R. Murrow Symposium, an event that remains a staple of the Washington State University calendar. The Symposium was made possible by a donation from the Haas Foundation, in honor of both Murrow and Saul Haas, a lifelong supporter of education at all levels across Washington State. Haas’ mission, the mission of the subsequent Haas Foundation, was to “help promising young people at critical times in their lives – to do that which otherwise would not be timely done.” Through their generous support of the Murrow Symposium, the Haas Foundation has made possible the profound enrichment of WSU students and the wider community on a yearly basis.
The department continued to expand, adjusting to ever-increasing enrollment levels. By the mid-1970s the department began its tradition of sending eager students out to gain crucial real-world experience through internships. This growth was further expedited under the direction of Thomas Heuterman, who took over from Wells as department Chairman in 1977. Under Heuterman, the department added Public Relations to its increasingly broad variety of programs, making it the first Public Relations program offered in Washington State.
|Chairs of the Department of Communications|
|Donald E. Wells