Recapping the J-School's Centennial Celebration

School of Journalism alums from around the world flocked to Missoula the last weekend in September to celebrate the school’s centennial. Nearly 400 celebrants packed Don Anderson Hall, the Adams Center and the Homecoming parade route to connect and reconnect with their alma mater.

An alumni showcase on Friday featured ten outstanding graduates of the J-School, telling current students and fellow alums about their careers. The audience heard about jobs ranging from documentary filmmaker to national radio correspondent, daily newspaper reporter to television technology and operations manager.

Dean Charles Hood was honored in afternoon ceremonies along with the eight other permanent deans who have helmed the J-School. Hood received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Montana and an afternoon reception in Anderson Hall featured remarks from President Royce Engstrom, Dean Larry Abramson, Faculty Emerita Carol Van Valkenburg and Charlie’s widow, Jana Hood.

A rare Edgar Paxson watercolor was unveiled Friday afternoon, with founding dean Arthur Stone’s great, great granddaughter on hand for the ceremony. Kathleen Stone, J-School class of 2017, spoke about why she was drawn to journalism and how she feels very much at home in Missoula because of the legacy left by her ancestor. The watercolor was donated to the school by Arthur Stone’s granddaughter, Ann, and will be on display in Anderson Hall for several months before returning to its permanent home in the Montana Museum of Art & Culture.

Later that evening, the Adams Center was packed with alums who said the arena had never looked so good. Attendees ate and drank and conversed with classmates, faculty, staff and current students. Missoula Mayor John Engen ’88, hosted the evening’s program while Nate Schweber ’00, led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday before performing with the band.

Saturday saw dozens of participants hop on the school’s parade float where “newsies” handed out special editions of The Montana Kaimin featuring 100 years of the School of Journalism. The parade was followed by a tailgate party on campus and a large contingent attending the football game.

Alums who worked on The Montana Kaimin gathered downtown Saturday night to tell tales of their time at the student newspaper. The J-School’s oldest returning alum, Bill Forbis, was the editor of the Kaimin in ’38-‘39. At 96 years old, Bill still remembers when Dean Stone stormed into the newsroom, saying anyone who had the guts to print a story about virginity among co-eds had the “balls of a Percheron stallion or a Methodist minister!”

Bill was escorted to the celebration by granddaughter Alie Kilts, who also graduated from the J-School. Kilts ’11, said she decided to come to the centennial events months ago, but just recently decided to bring her grandfather. Kilts said, “He’s 96 and hasn’t been on a plane in 10 years, so it was pretty exciting.” Forbis, Kilts and their family all said they had a great time in Missoula and at UM.

The weekend of celebration ended Monday evening with the T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Lecture. Pollner professional-in-residence and former NY Times reporter William Glaberson talked about media leaks and the state of the profession to a standing-room-only crowd at the University Center Theater.

- posted on 10/24/14 -