|Our History Through the
Nearly one hundred years have
passed since Western Connecticut State University began as Danbury State
Normal School, a small institution dedicated to preparing students to
teach in the state’s public schools. Its first century has seen the
evolution of the school’s outward character from humble but proud
small-town educational enterprise to respected university, member of the
Connecticut State University System, committed to providing opportunity
through education to all who enter its doors.
The Connecticut legislature approved plans for the opening of the Normal
School in 1903. In September 1904, thirty-seven students were enrolled
at DNS (all were young women, although the school was officially
co-educational). Largely the daughters of hatters, factory workers,
machinists and other laborers, many were the first in their families to
attend an institution of higher learning.
In its first hundred years, the school has transformed itself many
times. Reclassified a teachers college in 1937, it prepared women and
men to teach in both elementary and high schools. Twenty-two years
later, in 1959, it was renamed Danbury State College and was able to
offer a variety of degree programs in addition to those in the field of
education. In 1967, as Western Connecticut State College, it
demonstrated a greatly increased geographic outreach. But the most
significant role of all was embraced in 1983 when this college joined
with the other former state teaching schools to become a branch member
of the Connecticut State University System.
Today, WestConn is a university that
encourages its students to pursue individual interests ranging from
those in the liberal arts, to nursing, to criminal justice, to business.
It is a diverse academic community still dedicated to training teachers,
but also to the educating of future business leaders, scientists,
nurses, scholars, artists—and more. As it did originally as Danbury
Normal School, this proud university remains committed to affording an
excellent education to those who have chosen to become part of its
ongoing success story.
Please join us in celebrating our past by
viewing this pictorial history of Western Connecticut State University.