The Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has been providing professional development and informational programming for Madison Wisconsin area journalists for more than 20 years.
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Madison’s history with SPJ goes back almost to the beginning of the Society of Professional Journalists, although its early years are associated with the student chapter of SPJ.
SPJ began in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, a journalism fraternity, at DePauw University. The University of Wisconsin was the 9th chapter to affiliate, during 1911-1912. The second national Sigma Delta Chi convention was held in Madison in May, 1913. The Madison chapter president, Chester C. Wells, was elected national president at that convention, and graduated in June.
Chester Wells served Sigma Delta Chi for only a few months. He contracted a throat infection, was hospitalized, and died unexpectedly on September 1, 1913. To this day, the Wells Memorial Key, is the highest honor that SPJ bestows on a member.
While the student chapter of SPJ still exists at the UW-Madison, at some times more active than others, the Madison Professional Chapter was organized in 1993. The first president was David Stoeffler.