June 6, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 66°F


Letter to the Editor: Alum shares the wider history of Roy H. Park School of Communications

I am delighted to welcome Amy Falkner, dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications, to Ithaca College, quite literally one of my favorite places on Earth!

Regrettably, I do feel that plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Roy H. Park School of Communications without highlighting the complete history of communications at the college will be confusing, misleading and send the wrong message to parents and prospective students.

Such a celebration implies that the study of communications at the college goes back only 50 years.

Further, it may be disappointing and demeaning to many older television, radio and film students. We are most proud of our daughter Rachel, a Park School grad, Class of 2002. However, since I graduated two years before the Park School founding, a 50th-anniversary celebration ignores my attendance. I, for one, feel left out.

The School of Communications at Ithaca College enjoys a tradition decades older than a mere 50 years.

In her recent online presentation, Falkner mentioned students who date back to the basement in Dillingham.

My generation goes back even further. My first communications classes in 1967 were held in a two-story building downtown before the Dillingham Center construction was completed. In fact, my wife and I actually helped an architect select the marble floor in the theater lobby!

Other, much older buildings downtown housed the college radio classes many years before that.

Ithaca College Television dates back to 1958, 15 years prior to the Park School era, making it the oldest student-run TV station in the United States.

WICB celebrates 76 years of broadcasting, having been founded in 1947! That’s a full 26 years before Park.

A 50th-anniversary celebration is most misleading as it presents Ithaca College as having a communications school only 50 years old!

I hope we don’t ignore much of our history and the many great professors and pioneering alumni that set the stage for the Park School.

I make these remarks from the heart, with love and dedication for Ithaca College.

Mike Slepian ’71

Former Program Director of WICB