About the School of Communications

History of Howard University School of Communications


Freedman’s Hospital acquired by Howard University

In 1967 Freedmen’s Hospital  was taken over by Howard University and operated until 1975. The building on Bryant Street now houses the C.B. Powell Building of the School of Communications.

School of Communications founded

Founded in 1971 to educate and train qualified African Americans and people of color for careers in communication.

Founding Dean

Tony Brown, host of Tony Brown’s Journal, became first dean of the School of Communications (1971-1974)

The first graduating class for the School of Communications (1973).

Loevenger Bowden, became acting dean of School of Communications, (1974-75).

Lionel Barrow became dean of the School of Communications, (1975-1985).

Jannette Dates became president of the Association of Education in Journalism & Mass Communication, (2003-2014).

Newsweek editor and author of The Choice, Sam Yette, served on School of Communications faculty,(1973-1987).

WHMM Television went on the air (1980}.

Ossie Davis, renowned actor, director, writer, producer and distinguished Howard University alumnus began as the Howard University Annenberg Professor of Communications (November 3, 2003).

The MFA in Film program begins (1980).

C.B. Powell (1894-1977) namesake

Clilan (C.B.) Powell, longtime owner of the Amsterdam News, received his medical degree in 1920 from Howard University School of Medicine and began his career specializing in x-ray technology. He left $ 2.5 million dollars, about half of his estate, to Howard University, which at the time was the single largest gift to an African American college or university. 

C.B. Powell

Radio station donated

The Washington Post donates WTOP-FM, a commercial radio station, which becomes WHURFM.

University Media


Founded in 1980, Howard University Television, WHUT-TV, was the first African-American-owned public television station in the nation.  It is also the only university-licensed public television station located in the metropolitan Washington viewing area, which includes more than three million households. http://www.howard.edu/tv/


The University’s commercial radio station, WHUR-FM, has been broadcasting from more than 34 years and is a leading station in the Washington metropolitan area. It is also the first and only station in the area to broadcast high definition radio. http://www.whur.com


The Howard University Department of Media, Journalism and Film provides a professional and supportive scholarly environment informed by the African-American experience in which students learn to become exemplary practitioners, leaders and entrepreneurs who serve the profession and society. The department strives to graduate students empowered with the skills and tools necessary to understand and address social, political, economic and cultural injustices, particularly involving African Americans and other people of color.


Howard University’s Department of Media, Journalism and Film strives to be “a best in class” professional program. Faculty, students and alumni will have a far-reaching and rewarding impact on their disciplines, industry and society.

Core Values

In the Howard University Department of Media, Journalism and Film, teaching and mentoring students is our first priority. The Department strives to provide students an educational experience that will transform them into accomplished globally aware leaders.

The Department strives to instill in students a sense of professional and intellectual curiosity, critical-thinking skills and a commitment to life-long learning, given the ever-changing communications technology.

The Department strives to equip students with best in class professional skills and values traditionally associated with the communications media. These values include:

  • Integrity – ethical conduct in practice, teaching, service and personal lives
  • Leadership – serving as a role model and taking responsibility for the images you create
  • Respect and civility – fair and equitable interpersonal relationships among faculty, staff, students and community members
  • Collaboration – mutually beneficial relationships at the department, school, university, media and community levels, both locally and internationally
  • Professional practice– excellence in knowledge generation, analysis, innovation, entrepreneurship and dissemination
  • Advocacy – advocating for and raising awareness of the communication needs and the rights of marginalized communities, both locally and internationally.

These values are reflected in:

  • Expansion of the Media Innovation Center with university support and external funding to:
    • Enhance co-curricular programs while fostering independent and transformative learning, teamwork, entrepreneurship and excellence across media platforms
    • Build upon interdisciplinary work across the campus
    • Collaborate with WHUT-TV and the Howard University Radio Network to integrate professional training and productions into the curriculum, building upon the legacy of pioneering student work as a regular part of station programming
    • Partner with other professional media outlets
    • Serve as an incubator for innovation, revenue generation and leadership in this historic media revolution
    • Include an archivist to document MJF highlights; preserve MJF holdings and external acquisitions; as well as build programs around them
    • Eventually house the center in a state-of-the-art collaborative environment
  • Professors’ desire to work with students beyond the classroom
  • A rigorous curriculum that includes opportunities to achieve competence in core subjects and in particular fields
  • Recruiting, retaining and rewarding professors who have a demonstrated passion and talent for teaching, service, creative research and professional development
  • Recognition of professors who are outstanding teachers and mentors.

The Howard University School of Communications celebrates its 30th anniversary (2001 event postponed because of 9/11 terrorist attacks) (2002).

In 2002, Chairman and CEO of de Passe Entertainment, Suzanne de Passe became the second Time Warner Chair.

Two-time Academy Award winner, Russell Williams, II, serves as the Time Warner Mentor (2002).