McCormick Foundation Days 2014

About Medill

Medill, a leader in education since 1921, offers programs in journalism and integrated marketing communications that combine enduring skills and values with new techniques and knowledge that are essential to thrive in today's digital world.

Medill has a long-standing reputation for academic excellence. As the media industry experiences unprecedented change, Medill leads the way. We are training a new generation of multimedia journalists and integrated marketing communications professionals who are not only thriving in this evolving media landscape but also helping to shape it.

A Message from the Dean: Our Vision and Mission

Medill is widely recognized as one of the leading schools of its kind in the world. For more than 90 years, the school has trained generations of highly respected journalists and advertising and IMC professionals. For the next generation, Medill has a responsibility to train and inform future global leaders who will thrive in and help shape a new media landscape.

Medill is, and always will be, more than a specific location or singular experience. The school has programs in Evanston, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Medill faculty and students are also an important part of the Northwestern University program in Qatar. About 130 talented full-time faculty and staff work for Medill. Another group of experienced professionals serve as adjuncts. More than 15,000 alumni put their Medill training and values to work around the globe each day. They serve as ambassadors for Medill and a supportive network for one another.

Today Medill blends history and values with innovation and change. Many of its programs are unlike any others in the world. Over the next few years, we will establish new programs for the school that will add to this great history and serve today’s students and media.

As I wrote in September 2012, my first month as dean, I am reminded often in this era of university work of an important speech by Herman Wells, a great university leader throughout the 20th century. Wells said when there are great challenges, as there always will be, a university can respond with great resources: excellent faculty, quality students, forward-looking leaders and outstanding alumni. When those four groups work together, Wells said, anything can be accomplished.

I believe the strength of these four groups at Northwestern University and Medill will help us to be the best school in the world.

Bradley J. Hamm, Dean                                                                                                                                                              

Our History

Joseph P. Medill was a leading newspaper editor, publisher and politician. He was co-owner and managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, and served as mayor of Chicago. The Medill School of Journalism was dedicated on Northwestern University's Evanston campus on Feb. 8, 1921. From 1921 to 1937, it was part of the School of Commerce, directed by Dean Ralph Heilman, although Harry F. Harrington served as the Director of Medill. In 1922 nine students made up Medill's first graduating class.

Medill's first dean was Kenneth E. Olson, who held that position from 1937 to 1957. The school's longest-tenured dean was Ira W. Cole, who followed Olson and served from 1957 to 1983. Brad Hamm now serves as Medill's eighth dean.

When Medill was first dedicated, the school operated out of Fayerweather Hall. It was not until 1954 that the school moved into Fisk Hall, where it continues to operate. Medill added a second building in 2002, when the McCormick Tribune Center was dedicated.

Medill offers its students a number of unique opportunities, many of which have been part of the school for decades. The Medill News Service in Washington, D.C., where students work as credentialed reporters on Capitol Hill, was started in 1966. In 1972 the school introduced its Teaching Newspaper Program (now called Journalism Residency), which allows undergraduate students to work full time as reporters at media outlets across the country.

In 1989 James M. Ross became Medill's 10,000th graduate.

In 1991 Medill launched the first graduate-level integrated marketing communications program in the United States after consolidating the school's advertising, direct marketing and public relations curricula. 

Medill expanded its international presence in 2008, when the school opened a campus in Doha, Qatar, known as NU-Q. And in 2016, Medill launched programs along with the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern's new space in San Francisco.