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Salem State College

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Salem State College

Salem State University
File:Salem State University logo.svg
Established 1854
Type Public
Endowment $16 million
President Patricia Maguire Meservey
Provost Kristin Esterberg
Academic staff 533
Undergraduates 7,763 (5,894 full time)
Postgraduates 2,362 (343 full time)[1]

Salem, Mass., USA
42°30′11″N 70°53′34″W / 42.503113°N 70.892643°W / 42.503113; -70.892643Coordinates: 42°30′11″N 70°53′34″W / 42.503113°N 70.892643°W / 42.503113; -70.892643

Campus suburban, 115 acres
Former names Salem Normal School,
State Teachers University at Salem,State University at Salem,Salem State University
First-time degree seeking freshman 1,226
Colors Blue and Orange          
Nickname Vikings

Salem State University is a four-year public University located in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem State University, established in 1854 as Salem Normal School, is located approximately fifteen miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. Salem State enrolls over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 27 states and 57 foreign countries. From 1968 to 2010 the institution was named Salem State College. As of 2010, Salem State enrolled 5,894 undergraduate and 343 graduate, full-time students. The university offers Bachelor and Masters Degrees in the Arts and Sciences, Masters of Business Administration, and Post Masters Certificates in more than 40 academic disciplines. In addition, the university also offers Continuing Education courses for credit and non-credit.


Salem State University was founded in 1854 as the Salem Normal School under the guidance of Horace Mann. The Salem Normal School holds the distinction of being the fourth normal school to open in Massachusetts, and only the tenth to open in the United States. Initially, the school was a two-year, post-secondary educational institution reserved for women. In 1892 the school became co-educational by enrolling its first group of male students that September.

In 1896 the school relocated to its current location in south Salem (to the building known today as the Sullivan Building). A few years later the Horace Mann Laboratory School was opened. With the construction of a more formal campus, the school was able to lengthen its curriculum to a four-year study program in 1921; allowing the institution to offer bachelor degrees. The first bachelor degree programs to be offered were in the fields of education, English, history and mathematics. In 1932, the school was renamed Salem Teachers College.

In 1960 the school was renamed State College at Salem, and shortly thereafter in 1968 the school was renamed to Salem State College. Under the leadership of President Frederick Meier, the physical campus developed quite rapidly during the 1960s with the construction of new academic buildings, the institution’s first residence halls and a student union. Throughout the 1970s the school continued to expand its physical campus by constructing a new library, the O’Keefe Athletic Center, and by purchasing the land for what is today know as south campus.

In the mid-1990s, under the leadership of President Nancy Harrington, the college moved forward with purchasing a 37.5 acre industrial site on Loring Avenue. That site, which is today known as central campus, houses the Bertolon School of Business and two residence complexes among many other prominent facilities at the university.

By the late-1990s, the college began moving forward in gaining the accreditation necessary to become a university. On July 26, 2010 Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a bill that changed the name of institution to Salem State University. The name change became official on October 26, 2010. Currently, the university is in the process of constructing a new library and learning commons to be named in honor of State Senator Frederick E. Berry as well as a new fitness center at the O’Keefe Center.

Upgrades to the Campus at Salem State University

  • 2005
    • Salem State University redevelop the Alumni field.
  • 2008
    • Salem State University constructed a new baseball field.
  • 2010
    • Construction of a $57.5 million, 525-student residence hall on Central Campus at Salem State University opened. [1]
  • 2013
    • Salem State University campus - Construction announcement of a $36 to $42 million residence hall for 350 to 400 students. A construction start in the spring of 2014 is the goal and to have the new residence hall open in 2015. [3]
    • Salem State University campus - $74 million, 122,000-square-foot library at . [4] The new library will have more than 150 public computers and 1,000 seats of study space, from tables and desks to lounge chairs scattered throughout the building. Salem State University campus - $15 million 40,000-square-foot, two-story, glass-walled facility at the existing athletic O’Keefe Center complex. The new fitness facility will provide—in addition to more exercise equipment, two basketball courts, a yoga studio, and a conference/lecture hall that can accommodate an audience of 1000—a place where students can gather.
    • Salem State University opened a Center for [5]
    • In August of 2013, Salem State University announced official plans to construct a parking garage for 800 automobiles that will be located on either the north or central campus. The estimated cost of the new parking garage will $16 million dollars and will be the first parking garage on the campus of Salem State University.[7]
    • In October of 2013, Gov. Deval Patrick has earmarked $32.9 million to upgrade science labs at Salem State University in the coming fiscal year.


Salem State University is divided into five unique campuses totaling a land-mass of 115 acres with approximately thirty-three buildings.[1] The main campus (north campus) is located about a mile south of downtown Salem at the intersection of Lafayette Street and Loring Avenue. Within short walking distance from north campus is central campus, south campus, and the Richard O'Keefe Athletic Center. The university also operates a maritime facility at Cat Cove on the Salem harbor; located a mile north of the main campus.

North Campus

North campus is the largest of the five campuses. The majority of the university's arts and science programs are housed within the two academic buildings on north campus; the Edward Sullivan Building and Frederick Meier Hall. A focal point of north campus is the George H. Ellison Campus Center which houses the career and counseling centers as well as a number of student organizations.[8] The new library will have more than 150 public computers and 1,000 seats of study space, from tables and desks to lounge chairs scattered throughout the building.

Central Campus

Central campus is the second largest of the five campuses. The Bertolon School of Business, the music department, and the communications department are all housed in the one academic building on central campus; the Classroom Building. Sophomore, junior and senior resident students are housed on central campus in two newly constructed residence halls. A focal point of central campus is the university's Enterprise Center (small business center). Other facilities on central campus included the campus bookstore, the admissions center, the recital hall, and the university's new baseball field and tennis courts.

South Campus

South campus houses the university's College of Health and Human Services. The School of Nursing, the School of Social Work, and the criminal justice department are housed in the two academic buildings on south campus; the Kevin B. Harrington Building and the Academic Building. Junior and senior resident students are housed on south campus in the Bates Residence Complex. Other facilities on south campus included the Alumni House and the Center for International Education.

Richard O'Keefe Athletic Center

The O'Keefe Center houses the university's athletic department. Facilities include Twohig Gymnasium, Rocket Ice Arena, Alumni Field, the wellness center and two swimming pools. The university is in the process of constructing a 40,000 square foot addition to the O'Keefe Center; new facilities will include a new gymnasium and wellness center. Construction is schedule for completion in September 2013.

Cat Cove Maritime Facility

Salem State operates a maritime facility at Cat Cove on the Salem harbor. The facility is used to provide interactive, hands-on educational experience for students majoring in marine biology. In the past, Cat Cove has been used to study local shellfish.


Salem State University athletic teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Vikings are a member of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).

Student life

Students have an opportunity to participate in more than sixty student organizations encompassing a range of different interests and topics. Student organizations are divided into distinct categories: academic affiliated groups, interest groups, performance groups, programming oriented groups, religiously affiliated groups, social and cultural groups, student governing groups, and student media groups. Student organizations are financially supported through a mandatory student fee of $30.00 per semester overseen by the Student Government Association, Inc. Undergraduate students are elected to the Student Government Association for one-year terms through an election process during the spring semester. The majority of student organizations are housed in the George H. Ellison Campus Center on north campus.

Academic affiliated groups

Accounting Association; American Advertising Federation; American Marketing Association; Biological Society; Chemistry Society; Computer Programming Club; Criminal Justice Academy; Earth Science Association; Economics Club; English Society; Finance Association; French Club; Future Educators of America; Historical Association; Honors Program Advisory Council; International Business Club; Italian Club; Philosophy Club; Political Science Academy; Pre-Law Society; Public Relations Student Society of American; Salem Geographical Society; Sociological Society; Student Action Resource Team; Spanish Club; Sport and Movement Science Club; Student Nurses Association

Interest groups

Fitness and Nutrition Club; Grandma's Third Leg; Intercultural Leadership Program; Juggling Club; MassPIRG; Sci-Fi Fantasy Club; Students of Salem for Peace

Performance groups

Music Society; Repertory Dance Theater; Student Theater Ensemble; Urban Arts Theater

Programming oriented groups

Amnesty International; Campus Educators on Sexual Assault; Chess Club; Community Service Club; Game Club; Program Council; Scuba Club; Student Commuter Association; Ultimate Frisbee Team; Student Veteran Organization

Religiously affiliated groups

Campus Hope; Catholic Student Community; CRU

Social and cultural groups

African Student Union; Asian Students Association; Florence Luscomb Women's Center; Hispanic-American Society; International Students Association; Multicultural Student Association; The Alliance

Student governing groups

Residence Hall Association; Student Government Association

Student media groups

The Log – student newspaper; WMWM 91.7 – student radio station; Red Skies - online literary magazine


The university is led by an eleven member Board of Trustees. The governor appoints nine trustees to five-year terms, renewable once. The Alumni Association elects one trustee for a single five-year term and the student body elects one student trustee for a one-year term.[3]

The university's annual operating budget for fiscal year 2010 was approximately $130 million; 40% of this coming from state appropriations. The Salem State University Foundation's endowment market value is in excess of $16 million at the end of fiscal year 2010.[1] The university has an important economic impact on the city of Salem, being its second largest employer. The college generated more than $376 million in economic spending in Massachusetts in fiscal year 2006. Salem State University creates jobs for 3,459 Massachusetts residents, including 593 in Salem and 1,978 throughout Essex County.[1]

Speaker series

The Salem State University Speaker Series was established in 1982 as one of the first high profile speaker series in the country. Former President of the United States, Gerald Ford was invited to speak at the university as the series' first guest. Since the conception of the Speaker Series, the university has hosted renowned leaders, activists and celebrities to share their stories with Salem residents and the surrounding North Shore community. Recent past speakers have included former Presidents of the United States, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush; Congressman John F. Tierney; television host and comedian, Jay Leno; head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick; baseball legend, Cal Ripken Jr.; award-winning actor and director, Robert Redford; and poet, Maya Angelou.

Notable alumni


  • Henry Bertolon (1974) – CEO and founder of NECX
  • Dennis Drinkwater (1967) – president and founder of Giant Glass Company, Inc.

Creative & performing arts


  • Charlotte Forten Grimké (1856) – anti-slavery activist, educator, first African-American teacher to travel south during the American Civil War
  • Nancy Harrington (1960) – 12th president of Salem State University (1990–2007)

Government & politics



External links

  • Official athletics website

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