Advertising Department

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The first department of advertising was at the University of Illinois. Charles Sandage, professor of journalism (formerly in the English department), had a vision for a whole course of study in advertising. At the time, there were already few classes in advertising in the school of journalism that Sandage taught. He thought they were lacking and set out to build a stronger curriculum. His efforts led to the creation of the division of advertising in 1957, which subsequently became an official department in 1959 with Sandage at the helm.

People sitting in a meeting Room
The early days of the Department of Advertising at the University of Illinois

With a passion for teaching, Charles Sandage laid the groundwork for the new department of advertising that was ready to be established at the University of Illinois. Consolidating the College of Commerce and the School of Journalism courses, Charles Sandage effectively created a new curriculum focused on the subject of advertising. Sandage’s philosophy was to teach students how to inform the consumers so consumers make more educated decisions when choosing which products to buy. This focal point proved to be successful, and would catapult the advertising department at the Illinois into international acclaim.

Today, many alumni of the advertising department work at prominent advertising agencies in and around the world, and often return to the University of Illinois to be guest speakers. The advertising department has remained one of the world’s finest and has inspired numerous other universities throughout the nation to develop undergraduate and graduate programs for advertising students.

 Gregory Hall. Current Location of the Advertising Department.


Chambers, J. (2007) history, Starting Something: Advertising Education at the University of Illinois. Retrieved from:

Charles H. Sandage Papers, 1910- 1933. Record Series 13/2/20 Box 1. University of Illinois Archives. (Image). 

Contributors: Sarah Sigmon