Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications

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Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications
Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.png
DeanMarie Hardin
Location, ,
CampusUniversity Park
WebsiteDonald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State

The Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications is the undergraduate and graduate college dedicated to the study of journalism, mass communications and media at The Pennsylvania State University. Reestablished under its new name in 2017 after namesake producer, screenwriter and benefactor Donald P. Bellisario, the Bellisario College is home to four departments; Advertising/Public Relations, Journalism, Film-Video and Media Studies, and Telecommunications. Offering five undergraduate majors, master’s degrees in media studies and a Ph.D. program in mass communications, the Bellisario College is housed on the University Park campus in University Park, Pa. and is recognized as the largest accredited program of its kind in the United States.

Undergraduate programs[edit]

Undergraduate Majors

  • Advertising/Public Relations - [1], Fuyuan Shen, Head of Department
    • Advertising Option
    • Public Relations Option
    • Strategic Communications Option (World Campus only)
  • Film-Video & Media Studies - [2], Anthony Olorunnisola, Head of Department
    • Film-Video Major
    • Media Studies Major

There has been a new joint program that combines both the Film-Video major with the Mechanical Engineering major from the Penn State College of Engineering. Students enrolled in this major are classified as Film Engineers. Currently only one student is enrolled in this new program.

  • Journalism - [3], Russ Eshleman, Interim Head of Department
    • Broadcast Journalism Option
    • Digital and Print Journalism Option
    • Photojournalism Option
  • Telecommunications - [4], Matthew Jackson, Head of Department

Graduate programs[edit]

  • Ph.D. in Mass Communications [5]
  • M.A. in Media Studies [6]
    • Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate Degree -- 5 year program for students to earn a B.A. and M.A in Media Studies
    • JD-MA Joint Degree -- In collaboration with Penn State Law, students can earn a J.D. and M.A. in Media Studies
    • Master of Professional Studies in Strategic Communications -- online only
    • Information and Communication Technologies for Development Intercollege Minor


The Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications dates back to 1914, when the first journalism course was offered at Penn State. Though the Department of Journalism was first founded in 1930 under the School of Liberal Arts, initial course offerings eventually led to the establishment of the School of Journalism in 1955. This new school brought together the advertising program, which dates back to 1936, and the journalism program to form what would become the School of Communications in 1985.

Joining the advertising/public relations and journalism programs to form a more comprehensive communications school were programs in film-video, media studies and telecommunications. The film-video program, originating in the College of Arts and Architecture, and the media studies program, previously a communications studies major housed in the College of Liberal Arts, were both introduced at Penn State in the 1960s. The telecommunications major was also born in the College of Liberal Arts, dating back to the mid-1970s.

After its establishment in 1985, the School of Communications was then upgraded to the College of Communications in 1995, followed by the departmentalization of the college in 2000. On April 21, 2017, the college was renamed the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, after acclaimed writer, producer, director and alumnus Donald P. Bellisario committed $30 million to support students and faculty in the college and establish the Donald P. Bellisario Media Center, set to open in Fall 2020. The Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications is now recognized as the largest accredited mass communications program in the United States.


Student Organizations[edit]

The Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications is home to more than forty media opportunities and student organizations, both on and off campus. [7]. These include, but are not limited to CommAgency [8] CommRadio [9] and Centre County Report [10].


The Bellisario College has state-of-the-art facilities, located in several buildings on the University Park campus. These facilities boast television and radio studios, an equipment room and film shooting space at Innovation Park, as well as a smaller equipment room and writing labs in the Carnegie Building.

The Bellisario College is in the midst of a building project that will bring its many facilities under one roof in the core of the University Park campus. The Bellisario Media Center [11] is scheduled to open in Fall 2020.


The Bellisario College has some 27,000 alumni. A short list of the program’s more prominent graduates includes:

  • Donald P. Bellisario, creator of award-winning and popular television series
  • Eric Blume, senior vice president, Comedy Central
  • Marc Brownstein, president and CEO, The Brownstein Group
  • Ben Feller, managing director, Mercury Public Affairs
  • Michael Fimognari, cinematographer
  • Ellyn Fisher, vice president of PR and social media, The Ad Council
  • Ann Gerhart, reporter for The Washington Post and Laura Bush’s biographer
  • Jayne Jamison, senior VP/publisher, O, The Oprah Magazine
  • Greg Harriott, Academy Award-nominated cinematographer
  • Don Roy King, director, “Saturday Night Live”
  • Eric Leven, visual effects supervisor
  • Paul Levine, novelist and TV writer
  • Mark Lima, vice president-news, Fusion
  • Patrick Mairs, editor/producer, The Associated Press
  • Addie Manis, vfx producer
  • Erin McMullen, manager, programming and acquisitions, Fox Sports
  • Nina Jack, producer, “Better Call Saul”
  • Mary Beth Long, foreign policy expert, entrepreneur, government official
  • Kirk Petruccelli, production designer
  • Rich Russo, director, Fox Sports
  • Lisa Salters, reporter, ESPN/ABC
  • Michael Signora, vice president of football communications, NFL
  • Chris Smith, creative group head, The Richards Group
  • Lara Spencer, co-host, “Good Morning America”
  • Ron P. Swegman, angler, artist and author
  • Tom Verducci, award-winning writer and reporter, Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated
  • Daniel Victor, staff editor, The New York Times
  • Andrew Kevin Walker, screenwriter (“Se7en”)
  • Michael Weinreb, author
  • Linda Yaccarino, chairman, advertising sales and client partnerships, NBCUniversal
  • Adam Yesner, Emmy Award-winning writer, “The Ellen Degeneres Show”

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°47′47″N 77°51′54″W / 40.79647°N 77.86487°W / 40.79647; -77.86487