As part of the open house held by the Illinois Tech University Archives and Special Collections on Thursday, October 18, TechNews was given a very endearing opportunity to gaze upon a surviving copy of the very first issue of TechNews, known at the time as Armour News, from April 9, 1928.
At the time, Illinois Tech existed as the Armour Institute of Technology, offering classes in engineering, chemistry, architecture, and library science out of Main Building and Machinery Hall. It wasn’t until 1940, with the merger of Armour Institute and Lewis Institute, that the Illinois Institute of Technology was officially created. It is likely that this happened around the same time that Armour News rebranded itself from Technology News, abbreviating to the now-familiar TechNews.
The front page of our first issue is adorned with campus headlines such as “Berry, Marshal, Announce Plans for Junior Week” and “Initiations, Pledges Mark Activities of Many Fraternities.” However, much of the front page is also dedicated to celebrating the launch of the new publication, with headlines such as “New Publication At Armour Tech Makes Its Debut,” “Second Issue of News Is Scheduled for April 20,” and “Faculty Members Enthusiastic Over New Publication.”
This last article particularly embodies the spirit of excitement over the newspaper, quoting an individual identified as Dean Palmer as addressing the newspaper staff and saying “to you to whom we are indebted for the inception of the idea, may you continue to think, plan, dream, and have faith in your dreams, for out of dreams grow great things. May the ultimate fruition be success that will be measured by the benefits it confers.”
The article “New Publication At Armour Tech Makes Its Debut” details the process undertaken to make Armour News (and therefore TechNews) a reality, as “the climax of a long series of plans and attempts to found a newspaper at the Armour Institute of Technology.” This five-page long first issue was printed as “an experiment to demonstrate, both to the executive council and faculty, and to the students of the Institute, that a newspaper is not only desirable, but also a possible feature of the student life at this college.” After 90 years of uninterrupted TechNews publications, it is very heartwarming to see the sentiments that birthed this paper and reflect upon them today.
However, my most heartwarming feeling came from reading the “Greeting to ‘The Armour News’” prominently featured at the top of the front page of this first issue from Armour Institute President Howard M. Raymond, reproduced here:
“The establishment of this student newspaper is just another significant illustration of the spirit of progress at Armour. It is my earnest wish that its standards will be in keeping with that of our other publications, of which we are so proud. Whether or not there are enough happenings of note to furnish material for a weekly newspaper is the problem before us, and if the supply justifies the effort of publication, then all honor to the Board of Editors who have the success of this venture at heart.
To print a worthy and interesting news sheet commensurate with the standards to which we are accustomed is a responsible undertaking, and I wish here to assure the members of the staff that they shall have the heartiest cooperation of the authorities of the Institute In this new but justifiable student enterprise.
I shall keep a copy of this issue in the archives of the Institute along with our prized first editions of Institute publications.
My best wishes to ‘The Armour News.’ May it have the loyal support of the student body and be as good as the best.
Howard M. Raymond
President of the Armour Institute of Technology”
Whether or not TechNews lives up to the legacy and sentiments of its founding is not for me to say. I leave that judgment to our faithful readers.
Photo by Ethan Castro (He/him)