Glenville State college was founded in 1872 to serve the higher education needs of Central West Virginia. Glenville State College has gained wide recognition for its teaching excellence. By 1910, the College enrollment had exceeded the population of Glenville and grew into a full four-year college by 1931. Teacher preparation continued to be the central mission as over the years, the campus became known as "the Lighthouse on the Hill" for both the quality of the teaching and the quality of Glenville State graduates. Today, Glenville State still maintains a strong focus on teacher preparation, while offering additional degree programs in relevant areas that support the needs of the workplace in the 21st century.
Glenville State College has over thirty active Student Organizations in the campus community. These groups include professional organizations, Greek organizations, special interest groups and honorary societies.