During the La Verne Magazine’s more than 30-year existence, the student-produced publication has reached deep into its mother community and discovered the qualities that make the city of La Verne unique. Its colorful pages have taken readers on backyard adventures, conversations with vibrant personalities, journeys through time capsules, and investigations into current issues. From the beginning, the publication has sought to reach the community and tell its story. George Keeler, first editor of La Verne Magazine, predominant chief adviser for the past 30 years, and current chair of the Communications Department, writes in the founding December 1976 issue, “We present to you the first issue of La Verne Magazine – a magazine written for the city of La Verne, dedicated to help you understand and participate in your community. We hope that our magazine will lead you to the best in La Verne and be a welcome member of your family.”
Taking pride as the first city magazine written and produced by college journalism students, La Verne Magazine was marked as a success by the community and its surrounding cities. Hailed for its eye-catching cover shots and in-depth stories, the publication has complemented the city’s praise with numerous awards from the industry. The magazine, much like the city that inspired it, has grown and matured over the years, but stayed true to its roots.
Issues in the 1970s dived head first into the city examining every facet of La Verne life. The magazine reminisced on the past and looked to the future. Contrasting stories from the days of Lordsburg to the growth spurt of houses, the magazine tracked a small town’s progression from a citrus empire to a mini-metropolis.
“It was exciting to be on the ground floor when the magazine began,” says Randy Miller, a writer and photographer on the magazine’s first staff and editor from December 1977 to June 1978. “It got students off campus and brought the community to life.”
The 1980s brought a tide of change as La Verne Magazine expanded its coverage to surrounding communities. As writes Charles Bentley in his December 1980 “From the Editor” column, “The time has come for La Verne Magazine to grow, to recognize the new expanding community around it and to reach for its entire audience, not just a part of it. La Verne is a city made up of youth and experience, of newcomers and old hands, of innovation and tradition.” With its expansion, the publication followed its readers to San Dimas, Pomona, Claremont, Montclair and beyond.
In the ‘90s, readers joined La Verne Magazine on local weekend adventures, special interest pieces, themed issues and a day in the life of La Verne residents, young and old. During this time, the publication began to resemble how many would recognize it today.
At the turn of this century, the magazine found distinctive personalities to profile and unique insights into La Verne’s businesses, history and local events that added to the city’s layers of character. La Verne Magazine, today, has continued to expand, but still brings the story back home.
Moving with technology, La Verne Magazine was first posted to the Web in 1997. The magazine’s Web site was redesigned 10 years later as a senior project.
Miller, the current chief adviser for the magazine, says the publication has always been and will continue to be a reflection of La Verne’s personality. Mirroring the generations before it, La Verne Magazine’s future will continue broadening its horizons, creating innovative design and bringing in more variety.
Today, La Verne Magazine is a professional, four-color publication with a subscription base of individuals, companies and businesses. The magazine has not only taken readers on spectacular journeys, but its staff of students as well. Students gain a real-world perspective on magazine production, participating in every facet including writing, editing, photography and layout. La Verne Magazine takes the students’ experiences outside the classroom and into the community.
“Stories in the La Verne Magazine have truly come down and touched cords in the community,” says Bentley, current public relations director for the University of La Verne. “The city of La Verne and the University have grown together; and the magazine created the words of the city’s history.”