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National High School Institute


The National High School Institute at Northwestern University was established in 1930. The first journalism institute was held the summer of 1934 on an entirely experimental basis and without benefit of university financial backing. William R. Slaughter served as director and Floyd G. Arpan as assistant director. In 1935 the second edition of the institute was also under the direction of these two men, Mr. Slaughter serving as acting director but being primarily concerned with the direction of the journalism summer school. With the death of Harry F. Harrington of the Medill School of Journalism in September, 1935, Mr. Slaughter took over the acting leadership of the school and relinquished his connection with the institute, Mr. Arpan becoming director. Northwestern University also agreed at this time to take over the financial backing of the institute since it was found that the institute was a good new student project as well as an excellent publicity medium for Northwestern University in the high schools about the country. It was decided at this time to combine the journalism institute with the two institutes in dramatics and debate which were being offered by the School of Speech. Mr. Arpan was placed in general direction of the publicity for all three institutes. Eventually the National High School Iinstitute offered programs in business, debate and public speaking, education, engineering, music, electronic communications media, communication studies, and communicative disorders. Participants live in University dormitories and take courses taught by Northwestern University faculty, faculty from other institutions, and working professionals.

In 1959, Professor Ben H. Baldwin took over the directorship of the journalism institute, and served for ten years until 1967. In 1967, Division Director and Assistant Professor Raymond C. Nelson became responsible for the journalism institute.

The Medill School of Journalism’s division of the Institute is traditionally a five-week course for high school students which touches on almost all phases of journalism, including reporting, creative writing, contemporary thought, feature writing, editorial writing, news editing and layout. The program consist of lab sessions, lectures and seminars, workshops, field trips, panel discussions, film clinics and evaluations by staff members. Informal parties, a traditional “Chicago Night Out” and an awards night banquet form part of the social phase of the institute.

NHSI students have been known as “Cherubs” since the 1930s when Ralph Dennis, Dean of the School of Speech and founder of the program, admitted that “cherubs they ain't.”

For a brief history of the program, see: Lynn Miller Rein, Northwestern University School of Speech: A History (Northwestern University, 1981), pages 231–234.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

National High School Institute Photographs

Identifier: 21/1
Abstract This collection consists of photographs from the National High School Institute (NHSI) summer programs in Business, Education, Engineering, Journalism, Music and Speech at Northwestern University. The bulk of the photographs date from the years 1950-1970. There are class photographs for many of the years. There are also photographs of students in the classroom, in laboratory settings, and on trips into the city of Chicago.
Dates: 1930s-1970s