Founders Day

The 157-year evolution of Salem State University reflects the growth of its mission to provide a high-quality, student-centered public education to those who will become the next generation’s leaders. As the university has grown, so, too, has its mission; critical components of its goal today are to serve as a resource to advance the region’s cultural, social and economic development and to prepare a diverse community of learners to contribute responsibly and creatively to our global society.

From its beginnings as a small teaching college for women to the large, diverse and comprehensive academic institution it is today, Salem State—while remaining true to the values of its founders—continues to seek a forward path, adapting to society’s changing needs while ensuring the intellectual and material well-being of the North Shore region of Massachusetts and beyond.

As we celebrate Founders Day this year, you're invited to reflect on some key moments of our history:


FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2012  






 On what date did SSC become SSU?

1. Salem State College became SSU on October 26, 2010.

2. Construction began on new Library and Learning Commons in 2010.

3. Stanley Building opened in 2011.

4. First class inducted into Civic Engagement Hall of Fame in 2011.

5. Salem State Series continues with Anderson Cooper and Bobby Valentine in 2012.

6. On April 20, 2012, Salem State celebrates community service day—please consider helping organizations in our local community!  







During which 1980s academic year did Salem State have a national championship basketball team?

1. The State College at Salem is named Salem State College in 1968.

2. O’Keefe Center is constructed in 1976.

3. Salem State Series begins with Gerald Ford in 1982.

4. Salem State Women's basketball team wins National Championship in 1985-86.

5. Bates Complex is constructed in 1990.

6. The academic building on Central Campus opened in 2003 and Atlantic Residence Hall opened in 2004.



Salem Teachers College and State College at Salem



In 1966, what amount of daily money meant that “students were living well”?  

1. Salem Teachers College becomes State College at Salem in 1960.

2. The Arts and Science Building (now known as Meier Hall) opens in 1964.

3. First Residence Halls open in 1966.

4. In 1966, polls determine that students are living well on $5 a day.

5. The Ellison Campus Center is built in 1966.


Archival image of Salem Normal School

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Celebrating the
Salem Normal School


Can you identify where the university’s first building opened in Salem?

Do you know what year Charlotte Forten entered the Normal School?  

1. Horace Mann created a laboratory of educational innovation that led to the development of the normal school and the institution that later became Salem State College.

2. In 1853, the state legislature voted to create a normal school for female students in Essex County. The newest normal school was no longer an experiment, but a known function of state government. The Board of Education chose Salem in June 1853. The Salem Normal school was originated entirely with public funds.

3. The original Normal School opened its doors on September 13, 1854 in the former Registry Building at the corner of Summer and Broad Streets. The Normal School moved to its current location in 1896 and became a four year school in 1921.

4. The tuition to the Salem Normal School was free, most texts were supplied and a special fund defrayed living expenses for students in need. The clear expectation was that all graduates would teach in primary and lower-level secondary schools in Massachusetts for at least three years to repay the state’s investment.

5. Charlotte Forten was the first African-American student at the Salem Normal School, entering the school’s second class on March 13, 1855. Although she came from a famous and wealthy abolitionist family in Philadelphia, she was excluded from public schools in Philadelphia and came to Salem’s integrated schools to complete her education at the age of 16.  

The above information was taken from “Salem Place, Myth, and Memory” edited by Dane Anthony Morrison and Nancy Lusignan Schultz, published 2004 by University Press of New England