The technology, infrastructure, and policy of keeping human beings connected is the work of the J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems (ITS).
Housed in the Scripps College of Communication, the school provides the college with a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) touchstone. In the Shannon-Weaver model of communication, developed in 1948 at Bell Laboratories, the process of communication is defined by the basic “sender—message—channel—receiver” concept. The concept can be applied across the Scripps College’s six schools; but, like the McClure School, it has its roots in the early science of telephony.
In 1981, the McClure School’s namesake and champion, J. Warren McClure (BSCO ’40), made a $600,000 commitment to the school and began making generous annual gifts to support students, faculty, research, visiting professionals, laboratory equipment, and travel.
“Thanks to this generous support, we’ve been providing a world-class education for aspiring ITS professionals for nearly four decades,” said Hans Kruse, McClure School director.
By the time he passed away in 2004, McClure had contributed more than $1.8 million to the McClure School, almost $750,000 of it to the J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunications Endowment Fund, which provides essential support for the labs where students get hands-on experience every year. The balance—more than $1 million—supports the McClure Professorship and a Teaching Excellence Fund.
“Our students get good jobs in the industry because they learn from experienced faculty and because they’re using the same equipment they will find in the workplace,” said Kruse. “Maintaining this level of quality is important to these students’ futures, as well as the school’s—the McClure endowments make that possible.”
McClure, who lived before the age of the internet and the iPhone, probably could not have imagined 3D printing or the Internet of Things in 1981. While the first mobile phone call had been made in 1973 and the first mobile phones went on sale in the United States in 1983, most callers were tethered to corded phones in the early 80s. But—thanks to McClure’s generosity and his vision for the future of telecommunications—high-tech labs and high-touch teaching live on in the school that bears his name.