State Historical Society of Missouri
Neff Hall housed the University of Missouri's School of Journalism for over a decade.
The structure, which commemorates Kansas City publisher Jay H. Neff, is now one of
several buildings in the journalism complex.
Establishing the School of Journalism
BY WILLIAM H. TAFT*
Within thirty years following the founding of the University of
Missouri in 1839, a prominent St. Louis journalist, Norman J. Colman,
proposed in 1869 that a "course of study" be offered in journalism at
that institution. Colman, who came to Missouri in 1855 to establish an
agricultural publication, had started the Valley Farmer, which later
became Colman's Rural World.
In 1874, he became Missouri's lieutenant governor and the nation's
first secretary of agriculture in 1889. For many years, Colman served on
the University's board of curators, and he continued to advocate his
proposal for the study of journalism at the University until his death in
From this initial proposal, other editors, especially leaders in the
Missouri Press Association, offered recommendations for a formal
♦William H. Taft taught History and Principles of Journalism for twenty-five years
at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He retired in 1981 as professor and associate
dean of the graduate program.
1 For more about Colman, see George Francis Lemmer, "Norman J. Colman and
Colman's Rural World: A Study in Agricultural Leadership" (Ph.D. Diss., University of