Celebrating 175 years of excellence

Bloomsburg University 175th Anniversary

Celebrating 175 years of excellence


Bloomsburg University's 175 Anniversity Celebration
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Landmark Years

1866 – Land acquired; Henry Carver named principal
1869 – Became State Normal School of the 6th District
1926 – Enrollment of 712 students (earliest record available)
1927 – Became Bloomsburg State Teachers College
1960 – Became Bloomsburg State College
1964 – Enrollment of 2,592 (first year master’s-level classes were offered)
1983 – Became Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, part of Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education; enrollment of 6,316
2003 – First doctoral program approved, doctor in clinical audiology
2007 — Academic Quadrangle completed as final phase of major campus construction/renovation project
2010 – Enrollment of 10,091 students

Bloomsburg University marks a milestone in 2014 — 175 years of providing outstanding educational opportunities. From our beginnings in 1839 as a Literary Institute to educate local youth to today’s Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, a leader in higher education throughout the commonwealth, our institution has transformed over the decades to meet the changing needs of students from the region and beyond.

Previously known as the Bloomsburg State Normal School, Bloomsburg State Teachers College and Bloomsburg State College, our institution counts approximately 63,000 living alumni, one-third of whom earned degrees in education, and more than 85,000 alumni overall.

The year, 2014, is a time to celebrate our history and our future. Special activities and events include:

  • Special 175th Anniversary Merchandise at the University Store
  • Bloomsburg University 175 calendar, January
  • 175, online BU history game, January
  • Special issue of Bloomsburg: The University Magazine featuring 175 Reasons to Celebrate Bloomsburg University, February
  • 20th Annual Sankofa Conference with keynote speaker Stephen A. Smith, Feb. 23
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program with guest speaker Myrlie Evers-Williams, Feb. 25
  • College of Liberal Arts’ Taste of the Arts, March 8
  • Husky Student Leadership Conference, March 8
  • Anniversary-related exhibits in Andruss Library, March and October
  • Graduate Commencement in Mitrani Hall, May 9
  • Undergraduate Commencement on the Academic Quad, May 10
  • Alumni Weekend, May 16 to 18
  • AASCU summer celebration series
  • Athletic Hall of Fame induction, Sept. 12
  • Celebration of BU Athletics, Sept. 13
  • Faculty Lecture Series: Blair Staley, professor of accounting, October
  • Book release, updated BU history by Robert Dunkelberger, university archivist, October
  • Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra, with Wynton Marsalis, Oct. 10
  • Homecoming, Oct. 10 to 12
  • President’s Gala, Oct. 11
  • Nnenna Freelon in The Clothesline Muse, Oct. 25
  • Faculty Lecture Series: Michael Shepard, professor of environmental, geology and geological sciences, November
  • Faculty Lecture Series: Barb Wilson, professor of exceptionality programs, November
  • Shaping Sound, featuring stars of So You Think You Can Dance, Travis Wall and Nick Lazzarini, Nov. 9
  • The Illusionists: Witness the Impossible, Nov. 22
  • From America's Got Talent: Forte, Dec. 6
  • Winter Commencement, Dec. 11 to 12

An academy grows into a university

An academy “to teach the youth the elements of a classical education” was established in Bloomsburg in 1839. The academy continued until 1856 when it was reorganized as Bloomsburg Literary Institute. A building — now known as Carver Hall in memory of Henry Carver, the first principal — was erected in 1867 and, today, is the university’s landmark and home to offices of the president and provost.

In 1960, the school’s name was changed to Bloomsburg State College. Authorization was received to grant a bachelor of arts for liberal arts programs in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences and mathematics. Graduate study leading to a master of education was inaugurated. A doctoral program in clinical audiology, in conjunction with Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was approved in 2003.

The institution’s current title, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, was officially adopted when commonwealth legislation established the 14-member State System of Higher Education on July 1, 1983. James McCormick, BU’s president at the time, became the System’s first chancellor. David L. Soltz became BU’s 18th president in January 2008.