Salem State University

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Salem State University
Salem State University logo.svg
Former names
Salem Normal School, Salem Teachers College, Salem State College
Endowment$18,203,193 (2014)[1]
PresidentJohn Keenan
ProvostDavid Silva
Academic staff
756 (full- and part-time)
Undergraduates7,664 (5,894 full time)
Postgraduates1,637 (343 full time)[2]
Location, ,
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
Campussuburban, 115 acres
ColorsBlue and Orange          
AthleticsNCAA D-III (MASCAC, LEC, CHC,) [3]

Salem State University is a 4-year public University located in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem State University, established in 1854 as Salem Normal School, is located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. In 1932 the institution was renamed Salem Teachers College, and from 1968 to 2010 it was known as Salem State College. As of 2013, Salem State enrolled 7,664 undergraduate and 1,637 graduate, full- and part-time students, from 27 states and 57 foreign countries. 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 is the fourth normal school to open in Massachusetts, and only the tenth to open in the United States. Initially, the school was a 2-year, post-secondary educational institution reserved for women. In 1898, 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 4-year study program in 1921. The first bachelor's degree program was in commercial education. In 1932, the school was renamed Salem Teachers College.

In 1960, the school was renamed State Teachers' 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 known as South Campus.

In the mid-1990s, the college moved forward with purchasing a 37.5-acre industrial site on Loring Avenue. The site was formerly home to a lightbulb plant owned by the General Telephone & Electronics Corporation, formerly Sylvania Electric Products. When GTE decided to exit the electrical equipment market, they sold off their former factory to Salem State. That site, is today known as Central Campus. It houses the Bertolon School of Business and three residence complexes: Viking Hall, Marsh Hall and Atlantic Hall.

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.


Edward Sullivan Building at the intersection of Lafayette Street and Loring Avenue.

Salem State University is divided into six unique campuses totaling a land-mass of 115 acres with approximately thirty-three buildings.[2] 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, the School of Social Work, 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.[4] Freshman resident students are housed on north campus in two identical freshman residence halls. Other facilities on north campus include the university's main dining complex, the Mainstage Auditorium, the Horace Mann Laboratory School.

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. Freshmen, sophomores and transfer students reside in Marsh Hall, Sophomores and juniors reside in Viking Hall and junior and senior students reside in Atlantic Hall. 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 baseball field and tennis courts.

South Campus

South campus houses the university's College of Health and Human Services. The School of Nursing 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.

School of Social Work

The Salem State School of Social Work is located at 297 Lafayette St., just a short walk from North Campus. It is a former synagogue purchased by the University in 2014, and houses many of the classes for the School of Social Work.

Richard O'Keefe Athletic Center

The O'Keefe Center houses the Sport and Movement Science department and the university's athletic department. Facilities include Twohig Gymnasium, Rockett Ice Arena, Alumni Field, the Gassett Fitness Center, and the swimming pool.

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[edit]

There are more than sixty student organizations on campus, which 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

Greek Life

The first fraternity was established at Salem State in 2011.[5] There are now four on campus: ΦΣΣ-Phi Sigma Sigma sorority; ΘΦΑ-Theta Phi Alpha sorority; ΣΑΕ-Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity; ΑΣΦ-Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity

Interest groups

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

Performance groups

Salem State SSockapella, 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, Rugby Football Club

Religiously affiliated groups

Campus Hope; Catholic Student Community; Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru); Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life

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; Sunrise Movement Salem

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.[6] In 2017, the university's trustees selected John D. Keenan as the 14th president of the university. He began in this position in August 2017, with a formal inauguration in January 2018.[7]

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.[2] 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.[2]

Speaker series[edit]

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.[8] 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; quarterback of the New England Patriots, Tom Brady; baseball legend, Cal Ripken Jr.; award-winning actor and director, Robert Redford; and poet, Maya Angelou.

Notable alumni[edit]

Creative and performing arts[edit]


  • Charlotte Forten Grimké (1856) – anti-slavery activist, educator, first African-American teacher to travel south during the American Civil War
  • Ida M. Eliot (1867) - educator, philosopher, writer
  • Salem Derby - High School Health/Gym teacher

Government and politics[edit]




  1. ^ "Salem State University". U.S. News & World Report.
  2. ^ a b c d "Facts & Figures". Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Campus Center". Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  5. ^ Nick Kapteyn, "New frats, sororities try to change their images," The Boston Globe, February 15, 2015. Retrieved Dec. 24, 2017.
  6. ^ "Board of Trustees". Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  7. ^ John Laidler, Keenan to be inaugurated as Salem State president, The Boston Globe, January 11, 2018.
  8. ^ UPI Archives Nov. 5, 1982

External links[edit]