Brian Lamb's Alma Mater Names a School After Him

Purdue University is naming its school of communication after C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, an alumnus.

"The Brian Lamb School of Communication is to honor one of Purdue's most outstanding alumni and a Lafayette native," Purdue President France A. Córdova said in a release. "Brian Lamb's conception of C-SPAN was groundbreaking three decades ago, and he continues to be a leader in public affairs programming. The university has an incredible partnership with Brian, thanks to his interactions with our students today and his selection of Purdue Research Park as the home of the C-SPAN Archives. This naming is an opportunity for Purdue to celebrate Lamb's career as well as encourage today's students to dream big."

The new school, currently the Department of Communication, is housed in the College of Liberal Arts. The naming, which will go into effect July 1, was approved Friday (April 8) by Purdue's Board of Trustees during its meeting on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

The Brian Lamb School of Communication is home to 974 undergraduate majors, 120 graduate students and 34 full-time faculty members. The six areas of graduate study and research are health communication; interpersonal communication; media, technology and society; organizational communication; public relations/issue management; and rhetorical studies.

"My early interest in broadcasting was nurtured in Lafayette, by high school teachers, by a number of local business people and by professors at Purdue. Likewise, C-SPAN's board of cable executives has always urged our network to be involved with education and young people," Lamb, the C-SPAN chairman and CEO, said in the release. "This new school deepens C-SPAN's involvement with Purdue students and creates opportunities to encourage new generations of communication majors to take risks and try new things."

Lamb earned his bachelor's degree in speech in 1963 and received an honorary doctorate from Purdue in 1986. He founded C-SPAN in 1977, and the network's initial telecasts of the U.S. House of Representatives commenced in 1979.

Today there are three C-SPAN networks offering around-the-clock coverage of the political process.

Lamb has long been involved with Purdue and the College of Liberal Arts. In 1987 he designated Purdue as the original home of the C-SPAN Archives, which records, indexes and archives all C-SPAN programming for historical, educational and research uses.

Now located in the Purdue Research Park and operated and entirely funded by C-SPAN, the archives records, stores and makes accessible every C-SPAN program aired since 1987, totaling more than 160,000 hours. All programs are digital and can viewed for free at The video library is a recent recipient of a Peabody award.

Robert X. Browning, an associate professor of communication and political science, is the C-SPAN Archives director.
In 2006 Lamb served as moderator for the Richard G. Lugar-Purdue Summit on Energy Security, and in 2008 he served as moderator for the Global University Convocation during the Purdue presidential inauguration. In 2009 he visited the dean of liberal arts' undergraduate class that highlights influential college alumni. This year he has been instrumental in working with Ambassador Carolyn Curiel to organize a class, "Washington D.C. Practicum 2011," for Purdue students in Washington, D.C., said Howard Sypher, the communication professor who currently leads the department and will lead the new school.

Purdue's communication program has had six students intern at the company, and 12 current or former C-SPAN employees are Purdue graduates. This summer, Purdue's Silver Twins and real twin sisters, Sara and Chellie Zou, will intern at C-SPAN in Washington, D.C. Sara is studying political science, and Chellie is studying communication. They are from Elkhart, Ind.

Before C-SPAN, Lamb was publisher of The Media Report, Washington bureau chief for CableVision magazine, freelance reporter for United Press International Audio and public affairs officer in the Navy for the Pentagon.

Lamb also served as a military social aide for the White House under President Lyndon B. Johnson and as the media and congressional relations director for the Office of Telecommunications Policy during the Richard Nixon Administration.

In 2007 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was named Washingtonian of the Year. In 2003 he was awarded the Freedom of Speech Award, the National Humanities Medal and the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award. Purdue's College of Liberal Arts honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987.