History and Past Presidents

The following is a timeline of major news and events at Framingham State University over the past 180+ years. 

1839 Normal School opens in Lexington with Cyrus Peirce as principal. Model School opens in a single room.

1840 First class of twenty-five women graduate, including Mary Swift Lamson, teacher to Laura Bridgeman and a founder of the YMCA in Boston (1867); and Rebecca Pennell Dean, first woman professor in the U.S. (Antioch, 1853).

1842 Samuel J. May becomes principal and conducts the first survey of schools hiring Normal graduates.

1844 Normal School moves to West Newton and Cyrus Peirce returns as principal.

1845 Designated State Normal School.

1849 Eben Stearns is appointed principal.

1850 First printed diplomas are issued. Lucretia Crocker, first woman supervisor of the Boston Public School (1876-1886) graduates.

1853 Normal School moves to present site on Bare Hill in Framingham. The motto "Live to Truth" is inscribed in black and gold lettering in the new building. Anna C. Brackett, first woman named as principal of a normal school (1861) graduates.

1854 Model School is closed.

1855 George Bigelow is named principal.

1868 Annie Johnson is named principal, the first woman to serve as head of a Massachusetts Normal School.

1867 Model school is re-established, the only one in the state, and Maria Eaton, first professor of Chemistry at Wellesley College (1877) graduates.

1869 First expansion of campus with construction of a boarding hall. Advanced course for high school teachers and principal authorized.

1875 Ellen Hyde, class of 1862, is named principal.

1881 Olivia Davidson, co-founder with Booker T. Washington (and later his wife) of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, graduates.

1886 Crocker Hall is built and named in honor of Lucretia Crocker.

1888 Ellen Hyde and the students have electricity installed in the dormitory at their own expense.

1889 May Hall (named for Abby May, first woman to be named Official Visitor to Framingham for the Board of Education) is completed and opened in time for the Semi-Centennial Celebration.

1890 Water from South Framingham Water Company introduced to all the buildings, ending chronic water shortage problems.

1893 High School diploma required for admission to the Normal School, the culmination of a long effort by Johnson and Hyde.

1896 The children of Framingham Center Village are assigned to the Normal School Practice School. Portia, daughter of Booker T. Washington, lives with Mary C. Moore (class of 1872 and teacher) and attends the Normal Practice School. Power plant constructed.

1898 Boston Normal School of Cookery is transferred to the Framingham Normal School and the Household Arts Department is established. Henry Whittemore is named as principal. The Advanced four-year program is closed.

1899 First Household Arts students graduate.

1900 On the occasion of its bicentennial, the Town of Framingham adopted its town seal, which, in recognition of the College's importance to the Town, included an image of May Hall.

1901 Tunnels constructed between Crocker and May for electrical wires and drainage pipes.

1902 Wells Hall constructed (razed 1962).

1908 The Quill, forerunner of the Dial Yearbook is published.

1909 Senior Class day initiated.

1914 The old dormitory, Normal Hall, burns and construction begins on a new dormitory to be named for Cyrus Peirce.

1917 James Chalmers is appointed principal.

1920 Horace Mann Hall is completed. Practice School becomes Training School.

1922 First Bachelor of Science in Education degrees are awarded. Library collection is organized under the Dewey decimal system by a professional librarian.

1926 First official Dean of Women, Edith A. Savage, is appointed.

1930 Francis A. Bagnall is named is appointed principal.

1932 The Normal School name is changed to State Teachers College at Framingham. Bagnall's title is changed to President. First issue of the Gatepost is published.

1934 First May Day celebration.

1935 Martin F. O'Connor is appointed president.

1936 New seal, incorporating old, is designed for the College. Dwight Hall is completed.

1938 First senior investiture ceremony. Hurricane severely damages Crocker and May Halls.

1939 Centennial is celebrated. Martin F. O'Connor composes the Framingham State College hymn for the celebration.

1942 College is accredited by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

1949 Household Arts changed to Home Economics.

1955 Gym and auditorium added to Dwight.

1956 Division of Continuing Education is established.

1959 College empowered to grant Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Bement Hall adjacent to Horace Mann Hall purchased for dormitory.

1960 School officially receives title of State College at Framingham.

1961 D. Justin McCarthy is appointed president. Authorization is granted to award the Master of Education degree.

1962 Dedication of O'Connor Hall. Beginning of new degree programs in English and History. Bement Hall becomes the President's House.

1963 Completion of Mary Hemenway Home Economics and Science Building.

1964 Male students are enrolled for the first time. The 125th Anniversary is celebrated.

1968 Dorothy Larned Residence Hall is completed. Master of Science in Education approved.

1969 Henry Whittemore Library is completed. College acquires the Ecumenical Center. M.A. and M.S. degrees are approved.

1970 Christa Corrigan McAuliffe, Challenger astronaut, teacher and native of Framingham, graduates.

1972 A new and expanded curriculum is adopted, offering a wide range of liberal arts and sciences programs.

1973 New buildings for the campus: Corinne Hall Towers, Linsley Hall, Foster Hall, and Hemenway Annex.

1974 The College establishes a strong partnership with the new Danforth Museum, Framingham, after playing a significant role in the Museum's foundation.

1976 Justin McCarthy College Center is completed.

1983 Renovation of May Hall.

1985 Paul F. Weller is appointed president.  The Arts & Humanities Series is initiated, bringing a wide range of speakers and artistic performance to campus.

1986 The Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Center for Teaching Excellence is established in order to continue the educational mission of Christa McAuliffe.

1989 College celebrates its 150th Anniversary.

1996 Raymond N. Kieft is appointed president.

1997 The Marion Scherner Leonhard Multimedia Lab opens.

1998 The first technology classrooms, with distance-learning and state-of-the-art instructional technology capabilities, open.

1999 Helen L. Heineman is appointed first woman President. New athletic facility is under construction. Ecumenical Center is undergoing restoration.

2000 The renovated Ecumenical and Cultural Center opens.  The Town of Framingham is awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Administration degree to mark the occasion of the Town's tercentennial and the special relationship between the College and the Town.

2001 The new Athletic and Recreation Center opens.

2002 Kiplinger Magazine ranks Framingham State College as one of the top 100 public colleges in the United States, and one of the top five public colleges in New England. Framingham State College becomes the first public college in New England to require wireless laptop computers of incoming students.

2003 College celebrates 150 years in Framingham.  The Arthur M. Doyle Technology Center is dedicated.

2006 Dr. Timothy J. Flanagan is appointed the 15th President of Framingham State College.

2008 The college celebrates ten years of offering online educational programs.

2010 Framingham State College becomes Framingham State University.

2011 North Hall, a 410 bed residence hall, opens along State Street, across from Corinne Towers Hall.

2012 The Power Plant is converted from fuel oil to natural gas, reducing the University’s carbon footprint by 30 percent. A new planetarium opens at the McAuliffe Center.

2013 Construction workers break ground on a new science wing behind Hemenway Hall.

2014 Framingham State celebrates its 175th Anniversary. Dr. F. Javier Cevallos is appointed as the 16th President of Framingham State University.

2015 Construction workers break ground on a new residence hall on Maynard Road.  Hemenway Laboratories, a four-story structure opens, adding 16 new labs for biology, chemistry and food science, complete with the latest equipment and safety features.

2016 West Hall, a 316 bed residence hall, opens off Maynard Road.  The Warren Conference Center and Inn, located on 65 acres in Ashland, was acquired by the Massachusetts State College Building Authority on behalf of Framingham State University. It is utilized to support athletic programs, academic offerings, and the development of a new hospitality major. The Conference Center & Inn hosts corporate events and social gatherings throughout the year. The site also includes hotel accommodations and several conference rooms. 

2017 In May, Framingham State University was designated as a Smithsonian Affiliate by the Smithsonian Institution. At the time, Framingham State was one of just six Smithsonian Affiliates in Massachusetts and the only one located at a university. The designation provides the University with many benefits, including access to a wide array of historical resources and traveling exhibits. FSU was admitted into the affiliation program due, in part, to the historical value of the University’s own collections, including the Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Archives.

2018 The Danforth, an independent museum and studio art school founded in 1975, merged with Framingham State University, with plans to reopen the museum and school in a renovated space in the Jonathan Maynard Building at 14 Vernon Street.

2019 The Danforth Art Center at Framingham State University opens.  The museum is located on the second floor of the Maynard Building and features six exhibition spaces, including one devoted to the Danforth’s exceptional Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller collection. The museum features changing exhibitions from its Permanent Collection and other historic and contemporary art works, with a special emphasis on regional artists. The third floor of the building is the new home for Danforth’s community art classes, while the first floor serves as a space for some of Framingham State University’s art courses.

2020 North Hall is rededicated as Mary (Miles) Bibb Hall, in honor of Mary Elizabeth (Miles) Bibb, a pioneering abolitionist and the first African American graduate of Framingham State University, Class of 1843. The decision to rename this building in her honor was driven by a petition signed by more than 100 Framingham State students in 2018 who sought to recognize her outstanding legacy.

2021 Framingham State partnered with Framingham Public Schools and the National Center for Teacher Residencies to develop a new residency program that guides applicants from bilingual and underrepresented backgrounds toward teaching careers at the early, elementary or secondary level. A teacher residency program is a hands-on learning experience that embeds a candidate in a school district with a professional mentor and academic coursework that is directly related to their classroom experience. It is similar to the model used in the medical profession.

2022 Dr. Nancy S. Niemi is appointed as the 17th President of Framingham State University.