Inside Johnston Hall

The first courses in journalism at Marquette University were offered in 1910 through the School of Economics. In 1915, the College of Journalism became an independent entity of the University.


For most of its existence, journalism education at Marquette University has been housed in Johnston Hall, at 12th Street and Wisconsin Avenue. In 1906, Robert A. and Ellen Johnston donated $110,000 for a new building to help transform Marquette from a college to a university. Founding members of Gesu parish, the Johnstons lived nearby and their son, Robert S. Johnston, graduated from Marquette before joining the Society of Jesus. The college’s trustees offered to rename the institution Johnston College, but the family declined. Robert A. Johnston died on August 15, 1907, six weeks after the Jesuit community moved into their new quarters and a few weeks before students christened the new hall.


In 1950, the College of Journalism was transferred to Copus Hall, at Michigan and 13th Streets. In 1955, a planning committee discussed a communications building elsewhere on campus, and two years later another panel prepared its design. However, the foreign languages department moved into that building. Over time, the program was also housed in Alumnae Hall before eventually returning to Johnston Hall.


The College of Journalism settled into its permanent home in Johnston Hall in 1975. In 1988 it merged with the College of Speech, the College of Performing Arts and the College of Communication. Today, the Journalism program resides within the Diederich College of Communication.