In 1977, the School of Art, the School of Music, the Department of Journalism, and the Department of Speech and Theatre Arts merged to form the College of Communications and Fine Arts, under the leadership of founding Dean, Phillip Weinberg. The new College contained the divisions of Art, Communication, Music, and Theatre Arts with directors on annual appointments. In 1992, the divisions became "departments" with elected chairpersons on academic-year appointments. in 1999, a new interdisciplinary program in Multimedia was inaugurated under the leadership of Program Director, Howard Goldbaum. The Multimedia Program became the fifth department in the College in 2010 with James Ferolo as its chairperson.
Programs within the College are dependent upon adequate classroom, studio, and performance facilities; the College now occupies five of the eleven academic buildings on campus: Constance Hall was originally a women's residence and has served since the 1950's as the Music Building. Hartmann Center for the Performing Arts was dedicated in 1979 as the theatre performance building. Complete renovation of a nearby church in 1983 resulted in Dingledine Music Center, the College's concert hall. In 1987, the Heuser Art Center was opened. In 1996, the Global Communications Center became the home of the College and a central location for the technology to support the Department of Communication as well as each of the programs in the College. In 1996, a ten-million-dollar endowment named the college the Henry Pindell Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts.
In the last ten years, the College has enjoyed phenomenal growth in numbers of students and faculty as well as in the importance, vitality, innovation, and national and international recognition of its programs. The departments in the College have won all three major University awards for outstanding achievements in collaboration, departmental excellence, and service to students. Slane College faculty have won all major University awards for teaching, scholarship, and service including the Putnam Award, Rothberg Award, Mergen Award, and Caterpillar Professorships. Slane College alumni are recipients of major international awards including 45 Emmy Awards, 3 Academy Awards, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and a Pulitzer Prize. Bradley’s Speech Team has won 39 national titles and over 120 individual national championships, earning the designation of “the most successful competitive college team ever.”
The cocurricular activities of the College—concerts and recitals, theatrical productions, exhibitions, video productions and broadcasts, digital media projects, the iBradley Media Festival, student professional organizations, and competitive teams-- have grown appreciably in both participation and quality. Most importantly, in the last ten years, the Slane College has achieved significant and renowned growth and expansion of innovative academic programs in every department and through creative collaborations with partners in other Bradley academic units, other universities, and an array of the leading commercial enterprises throughout the country and the world. This dynamic curriculum includes new programs in Organizational Communication, Sports Communication, Theatre Production and Performance, Music Business, Interdisciplinary Studio Art (graduate program), Art Pedagogy (graduate program), Rapid Prototyping, Interactive Media, Game Design, Animation and Visual Effects, Application and Web Design, the Global Scholars International Option, Expedition Courses throughout the country and around the world,, and the Hollywood Semester. The extraordinary Caterpillar Global Communications Center facilitated successful globalization of curricula as well as the integration of state-of-the-art technology-mediated instruction across the curriculum.
Deans of the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts
- Dr. Philip Weinberg, Electrical Engineering, 1977 – 1986
- Dr. James Ballowe, English and Creative Writing, 1986 – 1991
- Dr. Don Koller, Communication, 1991 – 1992
- Dr. Jack Bowman, Music, 1992 – 1995
- Dr. Jeffrey Huberman, Theatre Arts, 1995 – Present
Henry Pindell Slane
Henry Pindell Slane, a life-long Peorian, served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Peoria Journal Star. Henry Slane’s maternal grandfather, Henry Means Pindell, founded the newspaper, formerly the Peoria Journal Transcript, in 1889. After a number of mergers, the Journal Star was formed in 1954 with Henry Slane's father, Carl P. Slane, as publisher. Carl Slane served on the Bradley University Board of Trustees from 1953 to 1969.
Mr. Slane's naming gift to the University recognizes the significant impact Bradley University has on the Peoria community and honors his grandfather, who believed:
"To inform without bias, to advise without rancor, and to intervene without malice, to be absolutely independent in religion and politics and blind to race, creed or color, to account no victory won which brings distress to the people, and no battle lost which is waged in behalf of just demands. To serve the larger, public interest with vigilance, courage and justice--that is the spirit and purpose of my newspapers."
Henry Means Pindell, July 1917