The Iowa State University, founded in 1847, by the beginning of the 20th century came to be considered one of the finest universities in the nation, and the best in the Midwest. On 26th September, 1919, at 18 years of age, George Gallup was enrolled in its College of Liberal Arts. On 1 February 1923 Gallup graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts degree. During that year, the university had inaugurated its School of Journalism, and Gallup, who had not yet turned 22, was offered a teaching position there. He accepted it, at the same time continuing his studies at the university’s graduate college, majoring in August 1928 with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the fields of psychology and economics.
The University of Iowa has published a newspaper since 1868. Renamed The Daily Iowan in 1901, it became the first daily student newspaper in the Midwest. Initially it had no permanent manager or editors, being run on the principle “make it or break it”. In his memoirs George Gallup explains that this meant that the editor and the general manager undertook covering all running costs and eventual losses themselves, but in case of success, all the returns would be theirs. Few students were willing to accept the job on such risky terms, but George Gallup was not afraid to take it.
By 1923, Gallup had devised and implemented an ambitious plan to transform the The Daily Iowan from a modest student paper into a full-scale urban daily, with himself as Chief Editor. Combining coverage of local events with nation- wide news, the paper attracted a rapidly expanding readership. Accordingly, the volume of advertisements grew too, and the paper became quite profitable.