Plymouth State University

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Plymouth State University
Seal of PSU
Motto Ut prosim (That I may serve)
Type Public
Established 1871
President Dr. Donald Birx
Provost Dr. Julie N. Bernier
Undergraduates 4,200
Postgraduates 2,500
Location Plymouth, New Hampshire, United States
Campus Rural
Colors Green & White
Nickname PSU
Mascot Pemi the Panther

Coordinates: 43°45′32″N 71°41′21″W / 43.75889°N 71.68917°W / 43.75889; -71.68917 Plymouth State University (PSU), formerly Plymouth State College, is a regional comprehensive university located in Plymouth, New Hampshire and part of the University System of New Hampshire.

Plymouth State University is a coeducational, residential university with an enrollment of approximately 4,200 undergraduate students and 2,500 graduate students. The school was founded as Plymouth Normal School in 1871. Since that time it has evolved to a teachers college, a state college, and finally to a state university in 2003.

It was founded as a teachers' college, and it still retains a distinguished teaching program/major to this day. Since that time however, it has diversified its academic profile, adding many new majors and fields of study. The school has become known in recent years for its meteorology program (Judd Gregg Meteorology Institute), which is considered one of the best in the eastern United States, and is also strong in business, visual and performing arts, interdisciplinary studies, and psychology. Also, new majors such as criminal justice and nursing have been added and other programs have increased their stature, especially the natural sciences with the creation of The Center for the Environment.

Plymouth State is one of 311 institutions of higher learning nationwide included on the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification. According to Carnegie, PSU was honored for "excellent alignment of mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement." Community service has long been a mainstay of the Plymouth State experience. The university’s motto, Ut prosim (That I may serve), underscores the values upon which the Plymouth State University mission is built. During the 2009–10 academic year, PSU students contributed approximately 220,000 hours to service.

The campus has grown substantially in recent years with the addition of the PSU Ice Arena and Welcome Center, the Museum of the White Mountains, Enterprise Center at Plymouth, and ALLWell North, a 107,600 square foot academic and athletics facility that includes a 200-meter indoor track. Langdon Woods, PSU's most recent residence hall, was one of the first collegiate residence halls in the U.S. to gain “Gold” certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. Robert Frost, America's Poet Laureate, lived and taught at Plymouth from 1911 to 1912. The university's campus newspaper, The Clock, was the first college newspaper in the nation to have a Sudoku puzzle.

Plymouth State gained national attention in 1985 when Sports Illustrated featured[1] PSU student and football player Joe Dudek as their favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Dudek, a running back for the Panthers, earned the attention for breaking Walter Payton's mark for career touchdowns.[2]


Rounds Hall
Rounds Hall and Clock Tower, 2013

Rounds Hall, with its iconic clock tower, was built in 1890 and named for Principal Charles Collins Rounds, who, as enrollment grew, strongly advocated for construction of a new classroom building. Today, Rounds Hall houses the University’s education departments, which prepare tomorrow’s leaders in early childhood, elementary, secondary, and special education, and social science department, which encompasses a wide variety of disciplines, including anthropology, political science, environmental planning and geography, and tourism management and policy.

Samuel Read Hall Building

In spring 1923, Plymouth Normal School opened Samuel Read Hall Dormitory, named for an innovative teacher educator who taught at Holmes Plymouth Academy in the late 1830s. More than 90 years later, the beloved ivy-covered building is a state-of-the-art facility focused on human and environmental health and housing the departments of Counselor Education and School Psychology and Nursing, as well as the Center for the Environment and Center for Rural Partnerships.

Harold E. Hyde Hall

Built in 1974, Hyde Hall is named for Plymouth State’s 10th president, Harold E. Hyde, whose 26- year tenure—from 1951 to 1977—was a period of tremendous growth for the institution in both number of students and in campus facilities. Today, Hyde Hall is home to distinguished academic programs, including the College of Business Administration and the Departments of Criminal Justice, Languages and Linguistics, Mathematics, and Psychology.

Boyd Science Center

Boyd Science Center is the heart of scientific research and study at PSU. The building, named for longtime science professor Robert L. Boyd, boasts state-of-the-art technology and equipment that enables students to conduct innovative research and explore the Earth and its atmosphere, from microscopic organisms to meteorological phenomena. Boyd is also home to the Mark Sylvestre Planetarium and the Judd Gregg Meteorology Institute, a resource for students in PSU’s undergraduate and graduate meteorology degree programs, the only such programs in New Hampshire.

Enterprise Center at Plymouth

The Enterprise Center at Plymouth (ECP) opened in 2013 as a collaboration between the University and the Grafton County Economic Development Council. The ECP serves as a business incubator and accelerator, assisting start-ups and existing businesses with professional services and resources, including PSU student interns, who are regularly recruited to work with local businesses. Located on the banks of the Pemigewasset River at the point where the two sides of campus meet, the ECP represents the strong bond Plymouth State has formed with the community.

Mary Lyon Hall

Built in 1916 and renovated in 2006, Mary Lyon Hall blends stately elegance with energy efficiency and is a favorite residence hall among students and alumni. In 2012, Mary Lyon was added to the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places, a fitting tribute to the University’s first residence hall and its rich history. Mary Lyon is home to PSU’s international programs as well as the Center for Student Success, which offers academic support programs, undergraduate advising, global education resources, and career services.

Hartman Union Building

The center of student life on campus, known as the HUB, is a multifunction building. It hosts functions and events, has administrative offices related to student activities, and contains a mail center, courtroom, computer clusters, workout facilities, and cafes.

Silver Center for the Arts

Built in 1956 and named for longtime Plymouth State president Ernest Silver, Silver Hall served as a physical education center, a music and theatre teaching and performance facility, and an assembly hall. Today, the Silver Center for the Arts supports PSU students in the study, performance, and appreciation of the performing arts, and is the major cultural arts center in central New Hampshire, featuring guest artists whose work reflects the best in American and world cultures.

The Silver Center is also the home of the New Hampshire Music Festival, which performs classical and pops concerts in the Hanaway Theater and chamber music concerts in Smith Recital Hall. The festival begins the week after the July 4th holiday and runs through the middle of August.

Draper and Maynard Building (D&M)

In the early twentieth century, the Draper & Maynard Building was home to premier sporting goods manufacturer Draper & Maynard Sporting Goods Company. Today it is home to PSU’s Department of Health and Human Performance, which is dedicated to training tomorrow’s health, wellness, adventure education, and athletic training professionals, as well as the Karl Drerup Art Gallery and the Department of Art, an innovative program that encourages the study of histories, theories, criticisms, and the creation of visual art and design.

Geneva Smith Hall
Grafton Hall


Ellen Reed House, home of the English Department faculty

The university offers BA, BFA, BS, MA, MAT, MBA, MS, and MEd degrees, the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS), and the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Learning, Leadership, and Community. Plymouth State is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the New Hampshire Postsecondary Education Commission, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Program-specific accreditations include the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) for undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, accounting, applied economics, management, and marketing; the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) for athletic training; the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for social work; the Society of Public Health Education and the American Association of Health Education (SOPHE/AAHE) for health education; and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) for the Master of Education in Counselor Education, including mental health counseling and school counseling concentrations.

The university currently has 19 academic departments. Within each department there are several different study options and degree programs. The most popular majors at Plymouth State are business and education. Other popular majors include physical education, health education, art, social science, psychology, and communication studies. In 2011, Plymouth State University added a BS in Nursing degree to its list of available programs of study.[3]


Plymouth State mascot

Plymouth State University's athletic teams are known as the Panthers. The athletic teams' colors are green and white. PSU competes in NCAA Division III Little East Conference (LEC) for most of its intercollegiate sports. It is most widely known for its successes in men's and women's skiing, football, basketball, and soccer, and women's field hockey, swimming and diving, and volleyball. The school's main rival is Keene State College, which also competes in the LEC. Every year the President's Cup is awarded to the school which has more victories in total sports competitions against each other.

Plymouth State University athletics mostly take place in the Physical Education (PE) Center which was opened in the Spring of 1969. Since that time it has undergone several expansions and renovations, and plans are now being developed to build a new, larger facility. Plymouth State varsity athletic teams have generally been quite competitive and excel in certain sports.

In 2008, the self-coached Men's Rugby club won the Division III national championship, defeating Furman University in the final.

The 1993 women's varsity tennis team claimed the Little East Conference championship and during the NEWITT (New England Women's Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament), the number 1 doubles combo of Laura Comi and Shea Hansen reached the semi-finals. Plymouth State Panther award winner Laura Comi (number 1 singles player from 1990–1993) holds the record of most wins in Plymouth women's tennis history with a season of 10-1. Comi was coached by Dave Webster.

In November 2008, the Plymouth Women's Volleyball team upset Colby-Sawyer College to claim the 2008 ECAC Division III New England Volleyball championship.

Museum of the White Mountains[edit]

The Museum of the White Mountains brings art, history, literature, science, tourism and more together to create an interdisciplinary understanding and experience of the White Mountains region – both physically and virtually.

Among the collections acquired by the museum are:

  • Archives and images, including rare glass-plate photographs, stereoscopic images, hotel ledgers, postcards and more donated by the late Dan Noel.
  • A comprehensive collection early and first edition as well as more recent books and guides about the region from John W. (Jack) and Anne H. Newton.
  • White Mountains art by women artists from Frances "Dolly" MacIntyre.
  • Images and collectables from the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel from Steve Barba.[4]

Notable people[edit]



  • Karl Drerup, professor of fine arts from 1948 to 1968; namesake of university's art gallery
  • Robert Frost, American poet; taught at Plymouth Normal School in 1911[5]


  1. ^ "SI Vault: December 02, 1985". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Reilly, Rick (December 2, 1985). "What The Heck, Why Not Dudek?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Plymouth State University Department of Nursing". Plymouth State University. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "About the museum". Museum of the White Mountains. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Robert Frost - A Chronology". Retrieved 2008-06-04. 

External links[edit]