Journalism school celebrates centennial

Christina Breitbeil

The Moody College of Communications’ school of journalism celebrated its 100th Anniversary at a ceremony Monday, in which speakers addressed the school’s successes over the last century, while also discussing recent developments including the tense relationship between UT President William Powers Jr. and the UT System Board of Regents.

Powers praised the school of journalism’s faculty and said the school’s diversity and vitality are due mainly to the leadership of its professors. 

“In the future, we will maintain a … journalism education [that emphasizes] not only the ‘how’, but also the ‘why’ and the ethics and the way of going about getting the truth,” Powers said. 

At the event, Powers praised State Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, whom he referred to as “our BFF.” Zaffirini, who received her master’s degree from the college in 1970, sits on the Senate Higher Education Committee and has been vocal about her frustrations with the conduct of current members of the UT System Board of Regents.

In her speech, Zaffirini said Powers has had a positive impact on the University and on the journalism school in particular, but said she was aware others did not share that view.

“I wish all the members of the Board of Regents felt the same,” Zaffirini said.

Powers and several regents, including Wallace Hall, who is currently under investigation for overstepping his bounds as a regent, have had a tense relationship over the course of the last several years. At a Dec. 12 meeting of the board, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa recommended Powers remain in his position but described relations between Powers and the board as “strained.”

Zaffirini also presented an official proclamation from the Texas State Senate, which salutes the school of journalism with “an expression of esteem.”

Moody College dean Roderick P. Hart said he places significant importance on the school of journalism’s duty to educate the next generation of “ambassadors of the truth.”

“A journalist’s job is providing the truth, and telling the truth, and telling it right, and digging deeper, and asking unpleasant questions and pushing a little bit harder so that the rest of us can all profit from an enlightened democracy,” Hart said.

Journalism sophomore Dylan Samuel also said that he is proud of what the school of journalism has accomplished within the past hundred years.

“We have some great guys, [such as] Walter Cronkite,” Samuel said. “It also doesn’t hurt that the school is bringing us into the digital age with a focus on social media.”