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Penn History

The University first offered courses in communications in the fall of 1893, when the Wharton School taught the Art and History of Newspaper-making; Advertising; Method of Criticism; and Newspaper Practice. It was only in 1959, however, when University Trustee Walter Annenberg founded the Annenberg School for Communication, that the study and advancement of knowledge in the field of communications was formally established at the University of Pennsylvania. The School was founded to advance knowledge in the “arts and sciences contributing to the understanding and improvement of communications between men.”

In 1962 faculty and students moved into the newly-constructed Annenberg School, at 36th and Walnut across from Dietrich Hall. Responding to the interests of undergraduates wanting to study communications, the school initiated an undergraduate program though the School of Arts and Sciences in 1984. The School today still focuses primarily on research and is generally recognized as the world leader in the field of communications.

Annenberg Center, c. 1972