The 100-year transformation of the University of Memphis from a small teacher-training school to a major metropolitan research university is chronicled in Campus History Series: University of Memphis. The West Tennessee Normal School was established in 1912 to provide high school diplomas and teacher credentials to predominately female students. In 1925, the school dropped its high school classes and became the West Tennessee State Teachers College. The institution became a full liberal arts college, Memphis State College, in 1941. Huge gains in postwar enrollment pushed the institution toward university status, which was achieved in 1957. Memphis State University experienced rapid growth, expanding from barely 6,000 students to over 22,000 as the baby boomers came of age. Then, in 1994, signaling its growing stature as a major metropolitan university, the institution was renamed the University of Memphis.
Author Bio: Dr. Beverly Bond is associate professor of history and director of the University of Memphis’s interdisciplinary program in African and African American studies. Dr. Janann Sherman is professor and chair of the history department at the University of Memphis. Frances Wright Breland is currently pursuing her doctorate in history at the University of Memphis with a concentration in women and gender history.
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