125 years in the making

It began with a groundbreaking idea: provide an outstanding public educational opportunity for women that would have impact across the state. Make it affordable. Make it outstanding.

This was progressive. Don’t be misled by the sepia tone, the top hats, the corsets. The early leaders, faculty, students and staff were pushing the envelope.

Fact is, this campus community has been looking to the horizon from the very start. We have always strived for something greater, decade after decade – to transform our students and our community, to take creativity to new heights, to recognize and help fulfill the potential in every person, to serve our world. We are teachers and inventors, philosophers and researchers, historians and artists, entrepreneurs and scientists, performers and athletes, Olympians and Spartans.


For more than 125 years, we have been opening doors, breaking down barriers and taking Giant Steps in the pursuit of opportunity and excellence. And we are just getting started.

photo of Charles Duncan McIver and faculty of the State Normal Industrial School in 1893

Early faculty at the State Normal and Industrial School in 1893. On the first row: Viola Boddie and Florence Stone. On the second row: Edith McIntyre, Mary Petty, Dr. Anna M. Gove, Charles Duncan McIver and Lucy H. Robertson. On the third row: E.J. Forney, Maude Broadway, J.Y. Joyner, Melville Fort and P.P. Claxton. On the fourth row: Sue May Kirkland, Dixie Lee Bryant and Gertrude Mendenhall.

Campus Photographs

Did You Know?

The campus began on a 10-acre parcel, on what had been corn fields.

Then & Now

With one building in 1892 housing all campus classes and activities, the school year began with fewer than 200 students. This fall, the number is a hundredfold. The impact these 20,000-plus future alumni will have is great. Tally the ever-increasing number of graduates, year by year, and the impact is staggering.

Then and Now: Number of students in 1892 was 198, Today 20,000 plus.
Then and Now: Number of undergrad degree programs in 1892 was 3, Today 85 undergrad degree programs.
Then and Now: Number of master's degree programs in 1892 was 0, Today 74 master's degree programs.
Then and Now: Number of doctoral degree programs in 1892 was 0, Today 32 doctoral degree programs.

University Name

“Service” has been the campus motto since 1893.