The Communication Program at Spalding University was founded in 1972 by Sr. Mary Ransom Burke as the Communication Arts Program. Full-time faculty members in the first years of the program included Sr. Mary Christopher Baseheart and Sr. Miriam Corcoran, along with a part-time faculty that included Carl Bramel and others. In the early years of the program the primary emphasis of the undergraduate courses was on broadcasting and film studies. The earliest graduates of the program were George Ann Berry '75, JoAnne Hohman '75, and Jewell Duke '75.
By the end of the 1970s Professor Iverson Warinner had been hired to redesign and revise the program and, by the early 1980s, theatre, film, broadcasting, advertising, public relations and general communication emphases were available. The first graduates under this new program were Janet Lynn Bogusz '84, Cynthia Marie Bridwell '84, Jose Eduardo Buitrago '84, Liusa Marie Essenprreis '84, Kathleen Ellen Goode '84, Sherry Gale Holt '84, Jean M. Horn '84, Christina Dawn Lindquist '84, Franklin Ray Lloyd, Jr. '84, Geoffrey Todd Schackert '84, Rick A. Shrout '84, and Ronna Rene Zinser '84. A few years later the first graduates of the Weekend College major in Communications included Anita Miles Cary '86 and Debra M. Harley '86.
Professor Warinner would remain in charge of the program until 1997, and, during his leadership, the program grew dramatically. By 1986 the Communication Program, which had been renamed again, had a general communication track and an organizational communication track, and the program had 75 majors, with a substantial number of those students in the Weekend College program of Spalding University. A mandatory internship for all Communication students was required. Full-time faculty during the 1980s and 1990s included Dr. Judy McCormick, Dr. Leigh Anne Howard, and Dr. Lori Byers, and the part-time faculty included Charlotte Hammett Hubrich and Eddie Kennedy.
From 1997-2000 Dr. Leigh Anne Howard was the director of what was by then the Communication Studies Program, which included two other full-time faculty members, Professor Warinner and Dr. Lori Byers. During this time an external review of the program was completed by Dr. Raymie McKerrow of Ohio University, and the undergraduate major was revised to include a general communication track and a professional communication track. After the departure of Dr. Howard and Dr. Byers in 2000, Professor Warinner became program director for one year, in 2000-2001. By 2001 there were over 100 majors in Communication Studies, with those majors divided evenly between the Day and Weekend Colleges. In addition to Charlotte Hammett Hubrich and Eddie Kennedy, the part-time faculty by this time included Merle Bachman, Megan Burnett, Sylvia Bruton, and Winnie Spitza.
In recognition of the growth of the Communication Studies major, the Department of Communication Studies was created in August 2001. (Previously the Communication Studies Program had been part of the Department of Humanities.) Dr. Brian McGee was the chair of the new department, and Dr. Deborah Socha McGee also joined the faculty. In Spring 2003 the most significant restructuring of the university in several decades led to the creation of the College of Business and Communication, beginning with the 2003-2004 academic year. This college, composed of the School of Business and the School of Communication, enrolled over half of the undergraduate students of the university in its accounting, business administration, and communication majors. Dr. Brian McGee served as chair of the School of Communication from 2003-2004, with Dr. Deborah Socha McGee and Professor Iverson Warinner continuing as full-time members of the School of Communication faculty. An interdisciplinary master's degree in Business Communication, jointly sponsored by the School of Business and the School of Communication, was first offered in the 2003-2004 academic year. Following the departure of Dr. Brian McGee and Dr. Deborah Socha McGee in 2004, Professor Jeffrey Bile and Ms. Melissa Chastain joined the COM faculty.
Today, Communication remains one of the largest undergraduate majors at Spalding University. The school's graduates have a strong placement record and a distinguished tradition of local, national, and international service. Also, the school continues to offer courses in Theatre Arts and has sponsored popular Theatre Arts travel courses to New York City.