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History of Bemidji State University

In 1919, Bemidji Normal School began its first regular school year with 38 students. The school was chartered by the Minnesota State Legislature in response to a growing need for public school teachers, and teacher training was its primary curriculum. Then, in a pattern familiar to American higher education, in 1921 Bemidji Normal became Bemidji State Teachers College, offering a four-year degree.

Reflecting ongoing changes in the curriculum, the school was renamed Bemidji State College in 1957. In 1975, in recognition of its growing role as a multi-purpose educational institution, it became Bemidji State University. BSU now hosts more than 5,300 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers majors in an expanse of baccalaureate fields of study as well as master of arts and master of science degrees. Some of its degree programs and research activities are unique in the state.

Bemidji State Today

While the name and curriculum of the institution have changed through the years, the primary focus has not: Bemidji State University serves the people of its region and state. From its inception, BSU's first responsibility has been to provide quality educational opportunities to the citizens of northern Minnesota. Still, over the decades Bemidji State University has attracted more and more students from throughout the state, the region, the country, and other nations. Recognizing the importance of global education, the University encourages international students to study and live at BSU and is increasing student opportunities to study and live abroad. Expansion of its online course offerings enables BSU to serve more students living outside the area.