SJGC building opens

The School of Journalism and Graphic Communications celebrated the grand opening of its new building this week.

The opening consisted of a weeklong celebration that included panels, a dinner gala and today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

SJGC Dean James E. Hawkins said the building, which cost $25 million, has been 10 years in the making. It took seven years of planning and three years of construction.

Hawkins said the school ordered all the equipment for the building, but not all of it has arrived as of yet.

“We have most of the equipment we had in mind when we started out,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins believes the new journalism building is one of the finest facilities available for students interested in the journalism field of study. He also believes that students need to recognize the significance of the building.

The journalism program has been in existence for 30 years, but this is the first time it has had its own building.

Thelma Gorham taught the first journalism classes. Gina Kinchlow, co-chair of the planning committee of the grand opening activities, said an award was given in Gorham’s honor during the gala on Thursday.

The panels began Wednesday. Professionals from all areas of journalism spoke to students about their experiences. Wednesday’s panels were on “Public Relations in the 21st Century” and “The Business of Graphic Communication.”

Thursday’s panels were on “ESPN Magazine Workshop with Keith Clinkscales,” “Making It In Management, (Media Management)” “Take It to the Goal: ESPN and Sports Journalism,” and “Lights, Camera, Success: Behind The Scenes Of Filmmaking.”

FAMU journalism graduates also spoke to students Thursday, during the annual “Grads Are Back” panel.

Kinchlow said it was important for students to attend the panels.

“Rarely do you get the opportunity to talk to people in the field,” Kinchlow said. “They’re just here to impart knowledge.”

SJGC hosted a homecoming gala to raise money for the program at the Ramada Inn North that included a dinner and dance on Thursday. Juan Williams, a National Public Radio commentator and Fox News Talk-Show host, was the keynote speaker.

After the gala, the journalism school hosted an ‘Old School’ Jam that was free to all banquet attendees.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the building occurred this morning.

Several distinguished people from the Tallahassee community, including contributing state legislators and Interim President Castell V. Bryant, spoke at the event, according to Myiah Hughes, 21, a senior public relations student from Atlanta and a ribbon-cutting committee member.

Hughes said Hawkins was the person who cut the ribbon on the building.

The ceremony also honored those who helped the school achieve the completion of its new building.

Hughes said the ceremony was to “honor some legislators who contributed to the buildings. (The ceremony) will honor those who helped.”

There will be group tours of the new building at noon.

“(The new building) signifies FAMU’s commitment to this school,” Hawkins said.

Hughes said the new building and equipment will help the school recruit more students.

“It gives students a better opportunity to see what is used in the real world,” Hughes said.

For more information about the school’s homecoming activities, go to the SJGC website, or call the SJGC Office of the Dean at 850-599-3379.

Contact Emanuel Nicholson at