Although the change may seem sudden to some, the face of journalism has been changing and growing almost since its inception as an academic pursuit at the University of Oregon. During those first few years, the program indeed focused on the traditional aspects of newspaper journalism; however, in the 1914-15 academic year a single course in advertising was taught by professor Colin Dyment and various members of the Portland Advertising Club. By 1917, professor W.F.G. Thacher of the Department of Rhetoric was teaching "Journalism 106: Advertising" three terms a year.
Thacher had done some publicity and magazine work in Portland before coming to the University of Oregon and had developed a great deal of enthusiasm for advertising as an academic discipline. In a talk he gave at the first annual Oregon Press Conference, held at the School of Journalism in 1919, he described his philosophy this way:
The fundamental quality of every good ad is sincerity -- simple, downright honesty. Next to that comes enthusiasm, the quality that makes truth glow and shine.
Thacher went on to build up the advertising sequence to include -- besides General Advertising -- Advertising Production, Space Selling, Advertising Problems, and Retail Advertising. Through the years, Thacher trained some of the nation's top advertising people, among them Don Belding of Foote, Cone & Belding and George Weber of Cole & Weber. Thacher was also instrumental in bringing to Oregon the two leading professional societies in the advertising field -- Alpha Delta Sigma for men and Gamma Alpha Chi for women. John Hulteng, former dean of the school, said that Thacher was "at the same time gentle and demanding, courtly in his approach, yet insistent on the highest standards of performance." Continue to Part 2.