Letter from the Editor: Celebrating 120 Years of the Foghorn

Dear Readers, 

We are pleased to share with you our special 120th anniversary edition of the San Francisco Foghorn. 

The Foghorn is one of the oldest institutions on the Hilltop. According to USF archivist Annie Reid, the Gleeson Library Archives have a substantial gap in their printed materials collection during the early 1900s, likely due to their destruction in the 1906 earthquake and fire, and the subsequent relocations of the University campus. 

The earliest campus newspaper in the archives goes back to 1926 and was called “The Ignatian,” a name which you will notice was borrowed from USF’s literary magazine. According to USF Historian Emeritus Alan Ziajka in his 2004 book, “Legacy and Promise: 150 Years of Jesuit Education at the University of San Francisco,” the paper began publishing as “The San Francisco Foghorn” in 1928 — 95 years ago. 

The San Francisco Foghorn arrived at a starting year of 1903 based on the volume and issue numbers that are printed on each issue’s front page. In 2003 the Foghorn published its 100th volume and celebrated 100 years of the Foghorn. Despite the gaps in the archives, we are keeping with that tradition and celebrating 120 years of reporting the stories of life at USF.

In this special anniversary issue, you’ll be taken back in time to learn what the culture of USF and of the Foghorn was like in every decade since the 1950s.  

Since its inception, the Foghorn has been a channel for understanding events happening on campus, in San Francisco, and around the world. 

Throughout the history of the paper, Foghorn reporters have interviewed members of the Rolling Stones and the rapper and actor Common, attended the second March on Selma, covered the 1960 Winter Olympics, and even interviewed United States Presidential candidates. 

This anniversary edition features some of the most well-known figures who once churned out the paper  — Warren Hinckle, one of the founders of gonzo journalism; Pierre Salinger, President John F. Kennedy’s press secretary, Gordon Bowker, co-founder of Starbucks, and Carl Nolte, the author of the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Native Son” column. Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, a former Foghorn photography editor, was part of a team of Washington Post reporters and photojournalists who were awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Jan. 6 Insurrection. 

On behalf of the entire editorial team, I want to thank all of the Foghorn alumni who spoke with us for this issue. We also extend thanks to USF archivist Annie Reid along with her predecessors at Gleeson Library. This anniversary edition would not be possible without their meticulous preservation work.

The authors of the oldest surviving USF newspaper in the archives wrote,“this publication, being a student product, will have to be sustained by student cultivation; let us hope that cultivation will be unanimous and whole-hearted.” Our hope is that for the next 120 years of the Foghorn, student journalists will continue this mission with their whole hearts.  


Megan Robertson 


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