Salem State University (SSU) is an institution that has continually transformed itself since its founding as a normal school inspired by the ideas of Horace Mann, known as the “father of American public education.” This comprehensive four-year public university in Massachusetts boasts a long history as an innovator in the field of education. Founded as Salem Normal School, it was the fourth such institution in Massachusetts, and the tenth in America. It welcomed its first class in 1854 and its first Black graduate, the abolitionist, educator, writer, and women’s rights activist, Charlotte Forten, received her degree in 1856. The institution’s original motto, Progredi, “progress,” underscores its evolution from Salem Normal School in 1854 to Salem Teachers College in 1932 to Salem State College in 1960 and, most recently, to Salem State University in 2010. SSU’s commitment to both institutional and social progress drives it to fully embrace the transformations brought by each new chapter in its history.
Today, Salem State serves 6,686 full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, representing 37 states and 48 nations, in addition to Massachusetts and the USA. Located 15 miles from Boston in the historic city of Salem, in Essex County, SSU offers 31 baccalaureate majors and 39 master’s degrees. With more miles of coastline than the state of New Hampshire, Salem is located in the region of Massachusetts known as the North Shore. An integral part of the greater Salem community for 167 years, the university has over 65,000 alumni, approximately 80% of whom are Massachusetts residents, and 67% live within 30 miles of campus.