The Writing on the Wall

The Columbia Journalism school building in 1912
The journalism building opened for use in 1912. (Columbia University Archives)

James Boylan saw it in print.

While researching his 2003 book Pulitzer’s School: Columbia University’s School of Journalism, 1903–2003, Boylan ’51JRN, ’71GSAS read the original 1903 gift agreement between Columbia and benefactor Joseph Pulitzer. The letter contained a stipulation that, a century later, had still not been fulfilled: “The building shall bear the name of the donor.”

Nicholas Lemann, who became dean of the J-school in 2003, read Boylan’s work. He then conferred with Boylan and other alumni, who suggested that it would be more appropriate to call the building “Pulitzer” rather than “Journalism.”

Lemann agreed. He decided that the ideal moment to make the change would be during the J-school’s centennial. He appealed to the Trustees, who gave their blessing. A renaming ceremony, at which the newly engraved façade will be unveiled, was scheduled for April 20, 2012 — the kickoff date of the J-school’s observance of its hundredth year.

“Our school is very fortunate in having a compelling founder and a fascinating institutional history,” Lemann says. “We are happy to have an opportunity to make the connection more plainly.”

See you in Pulitzer Hall.