Leaders in Communications Education
We're experts in teaching communications: We've prepared more than 12,500 alumni who occupy every sector of the media industry: television, film, advertising/PR, corporate communications, journalism, photography, digital and emerging media, live events and experiential marketing, experimental media, and media research.
You can anchor your study in Ithaca—rated as America's top college town and the home of the silent film industry in the early 1900s—and spread your wings to spend a semester doing an intensive internships at our NYC or Los Angeles centers.
Ithaca College began as a music conservatory and in its early years, expanded to offer study in drama, rhetoric, elocution, and physical education. That blend of artistic offerings was the perfect foundation to begin teaching courses in radio in 1931. That same year, the college's newspaper, The Ithacan was founded.
In 1948, an army-surplus Quonset was added to the College's downtown campus and outfitted with a 10-watt transmitter, and WICB-FM was on the air. Expanding into the then-new medium of television, the college built television and radio studios, and in 1958 WICB-TV (now known as ICTV) was launched—the first and longest-running student-led cable television channel on the planet!
When the college moved from downtown Ithaca up to South Hill in the early 1960s, one of the first buildings erected was Dillingham Center—with theater facilities on the first floor and the new radio and television department in the basement. John Keshishoglou was hired to expand the curriculum, and a degree in cinema studies and photography was established in the late 1960s. In 1969, the communications programs were formally organized into a division within the college before becoming the present-day School of Communications in the 1973–74 academic year with Keshishoglou as its first dean. VIC radio started as a campus-only station distributed to the dorms; it now is distributed online through its website and apps. A professional production unit also was launched, enabling faculty and students to be paid to create documentaries and educational films.
Our TV and radio studios were busy days, nights, and weekends during the 1980s—as they are today. During the weekdays, courses in television and radio production filled the spaces and students' schedules. On nights and weekends, audio production for pre-recorded radio shows and live production for ICTVs cable programming made the facilities hum with activity. Since Ithaca does not have its own commercial TV station, ICTV serves the local community, covering news, elections, and programming such as kids' TV.
The Park School Today
In 1989, the School of Communications moved into a 79,000 square foot new building and was named the Roy H. Park School of Communications. Roy Park was the chairman of the college's Board of Trustees and the founder of Park Communications, a company based in Ithaca that included 41 small daily papers, seven television stations, and 19 radio stations.
Park Hall houses over $4 million total assets including state-of-the-art television studios; a sound stage; a remote TV broadcast truck; audio, radio, and photography studios; 14 media labs and classrooms; and a 200-seat auditorium with 4K projection. Our Park Portable Equipment Center contains a large variety of cameras, lighting, audio, and grip equipment that students use on shoots for films, documentaries, video segments, journalistic reports, and a variety of media projects. We are well equipped with more than 120 video cameras, 25 DSLR cameras, 30 film cameras, 40 film photo cameras, and 10 feature quality cinematic and 4K cameras. Equipment that leaves the building often resembles that of a major feature film, or a light and lean journalism kit, and everything in between. We support over 7,000 checkouts each year.
Our faculty members are experts in both their content areas and in teaching. We have a dynamic blend of Ph.D.'s who each year author internationally peer-reviewed articles and conference papers; media-makers whose work spans experimental and commercial genres and can be seen in film festivals, TV networks, and digital platforms; and researchers/consultants whose expertise directly impacts professional practice each year.
Although our School has grown dramatically over the past decade, we still maintain small classes where students are actively engaged in experiential learning—becoming expert and ethical media-makers and decision-makers who will make a positive impact on communications practice as alumni. They are known to each other and to their professors and maintain lifelong bonds of collaboration.
Every year, we invest over $250K in upgrading our facilities, including field production gear, studios, and classrooms. For example, TV Studio B was upgraded in 2017 with a flexible set and state-of-the-art LED lighting, replicating what you'd find at the networks in NYC. It is used for classes as well as a host of shows on ICTV including NewsWatch 16, game shows, and talk shows.
In 1993, we established a foothold in Los Angeles, offering students the opportunity to spend a semester doing intensive internships along with taking a few Park School courses so that they can stay on track to graduate. Our students can also spend a semester at ICNYC, doing full-time internships and study.
We also regularly send students to conferences and festivals, such as the National Film Festival for Talented Youth in Seattle, where in 2019 a group of documentary studies students won the Audience Choice Award.
Our Innovation lab includes 3D printing and virtual reality systems, and our Drone Squadron is equipped with professional-quality gear that students use on paid projects for local clients.
Our award-winning student-powered co-curricular media (ICTV, WICB-FM, VIC radio, The Ithacan, The Studio, Park Productions, Park Promotions) provide experiential learning opportunities—they replicate the environment that students will find in their internships and jobs and give them an opportunity to discover their talents and interests.
We have strong alumni connections at many top media companies. For example, three producers in ESPN's Emmy Award-winning features unit graduated from IC—all got their start on Butterfield Field working on The Gridiron Report and Bombers Football. They now travel to Lambeau Field, Gillette Stadium, Arrowhead Stadium, and everywhere in between producing NFL features for ESPN. Gavin Cote '12 (left) has been on NFL for five years and has won numerous awards for his work. Miriam Greenfield (center) '95 is a features manager and has been at ESPN for 22 years. Josh Vorensky '11 (right) recently served as field producer for ESPN's Special Olympics coverage in Abu Dhabi. "The culture of hard work and collaboration is strong and makes all the difference," says Greenfield.