History of USC Annenberg

Originally founded in 1971 through the support of Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg, the USC Annenberg School for Communication was reorganized in 1994 to include the School of Journalism and the Department of Communication Arts. In 2009, the USC Board of Trustees voted to officially change the school’s name to the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. 

As the school’s faculty, student body and research programs have expanded, Ambassador Annenberg's founding vision has continued to guide our growth and impact:

Every human advancement or reversal can be understood through communication. The right to free communication carries with it the responsibility to respect the dignity of others, and this must be recognized as irreversible. Educating students to communicate this message effectively and to be of service to all people is the enduring mission of this school.

Today, USC Annenberg is a global leader in education and scholarship with 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students studying communication, journalism, public diplomacy and public relations. We have a faculty of world-renowned scholars whose work has helped define their fields as well as professionals who bring powerful, real-time insights to the classroom. Our wide range of centers and programs — including the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the Norman Lear Center and the Center for Health Journalism — leverage their research and investigative insights as a catalyst for change.

Milestones

2014

Following a generous gift from USC Trustee and USC Annenberg Board of Councilors member Wallis Annenberg, Wallis Annenberg Hall opens and includes a state-of-the-art Media Center, Digital Lounge, four-story atrium with digital media wall, and dozens of collaborative spaces and technologically enabled classrooms.

2009

The USC Board of Trustees votes to change the name of the USC Annenberg School for Communication to the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. 

1994

The USC Annenberg School of Communication is reorganized to include the School of Journalism and the Department of Communication Arts, which were both previously housed in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

1980

The Annenberg School of Communication building’s west wing opens — originally to house the Annenberg Center for the Study of the American Experience. In the early 2000s, the west wing is expanded north to create additional space.

1976

The Annenberg School of Communication building’s east wing is completed. The building is lauded for its cutting-edge communications technology, including audience response units under its auditorium seats, a graphics production center (including a darkroom), and the capability to video-record lectures.

1972

Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg supports the establishment of the School of Communication with an $8-million gift, including support for a new building.

1971

The USC Annenberg School of Communication is founded.

1959

Public relations studies begin within the School of Journalism.

1933

Having initially began in 1916, the journalism program becomes the School of Journalism within the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.