From its inaugural class of 57 students, Frostburg State University has grown to a present day enrollment of more than 5,600 students.

The campus was once limited to Old Main, a single building that housed classrooms and a library. It has now grown to more than 30 facilities, including residence halls, the Lewis J. Ort Library, the Harold J. Cordts Physical Education Center, the Lane University Center, the Performing Arts Center and classroom buildings that include the Compton Science Center and the Catherine R. Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology, all situated on 260 beautiful acres.

Opened in 1902 as State Normal School No. 2, the University owes its existence to the tenacity of J. Benson Oder, editor of the Frostburg Mining Journal, and the citizens of Frostburg who, in spite of political barriers, raised funds and purchased the site on which Old Main, the University’s first building, is located.

Principal Edmund Dandridge Murdaugh and three faculty instructed the first Normal School class; in addition, the other faculty taught 151 children in the Model School. The Normal School students, who were high school students having to meet no requirements other than age (girls, 16; boys, 17), had but one two-year course of study: elementary education. The curriculum consisted of Latin, mathematics, history, rhetoric and literature, natural and physical sciences, drawing, music, calisthenics, psychology, philosophy of education, philosophy of school management, pedagogy, observation, practice work and primary manual training.

Over the years, the name of the institution has reflected the changes in the scope of its educational mission. In 1935, State Normal School No. 2 became State Teachers College at Frostburg, a four-year college that offered a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. In 1963, the name became Frostburg State College, and finally in 1987, with the strong support of the local civic and business community, became Frostburg State University, an indication of its growing resources, diversity and excellence in educational opportunities for the region and the state.

In 1988, FSU became a constituent institution of the University System of Maryland, comprised of 12 of the state’s 14 public institutions.

 Frostburg State University continues its pursuit of excellence, a tradition that now spans more than a century.

Frostburg's Presidents:

1902 – 1909

Edmund D. Murdaugh

1909 – 1912

Reginald H. Ridgely

1912 – 1916

Edward F. Webb

1916 – 1917

C. L. Staples


 Patrick O’Rourke

1918 – 1923

James Widdowson

1923 – 1945

John Dunkle

1945 – 1954

Lillian C. Compton

1954 – 1964

R. Bowen Hardesty

1965 – 1969

John Morey

1969 – 1985

Nelson Guild

1986 – 1991

Herb. F. Reinhard, Jr.

1991 – 2006

Catherine R. Gira

2006 – 2015

Jonathan C. Gibralter

2016 –  

Ronald Nowaczyk


1898   The Maryland General Assembly and Governor Lloyd Lowndes authorized State Normal School #2 and $20,000 for a building. Frostburg townspeople, most of them coal miners, raised more than enough money to buy the two-acre Beall’s Park for the location.

1900   Old Main, the first campus building, was completed.

1902   Fifty-seven students attended the first classes of the State Normal School at Frostburg on September 15, 1902. We offered a two year program of elementary school teacher training.

1904   Our first commencement. Students received a diploma and a lifetime teaching certificate.

1913   The Model School began operating in its new building. This was our first campus training school which allowed student teachers to work directly with children in the classroom. It was located where the Guild Center is now.

1919   Frost Hall opened as our first residence hall.

1931   Our teacher training program expanded from two to three years, and then from three to four years in 1934.

1935   Our name changed to State Teachers’ College at Frostburg, and the first four-year degree students graduated with Bachelors in Science in Elementary Education.

1945   Lillian C. Compton took the helm as Frostburg’s first female president.

1946   We offered our first liberal arts junior college program. This degree was discontinued in 1960 when four year programs replaced it.

1949-50        We celebrated our 50th Anniversary Year!

1960   Frostburg State Teachers College gained the right to confer the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Master of Education.

1961   Our first black student, Leon Brumback, graduated.

1963   In July, we became Frostburg State College.

1964-79        We experienced significant growth during these fifteen years. Our campus gained six residence halls and eleven other buildings, including the Chesapeake Dining Hall, Framptom Hall, Fine Arts, Dunkle Hall, Lane Center, the Lewis J. Ort Library, the Cordts P.E. Center, Hitchins Administration Building and the Stangle Service Building.

1971   We offered our first Master of Science degree, specializing in Management. This degree was replaced by the MBA in 1989.

1987   Under the leadership of President Herb. F. Reinhard, Jr., Frostburg State College became Frostburg State University in July.

1988   We joined the University System of Maryland, which is comprised of 11 of the State’s 4-year institutions and two research institutions. We also opened the FSU Hagerstown Center, which later joined the new USMH. 

1990   The Frederick MBA program opened. 

1991   Dr. Catherine Gira became Frostburg’s second female president. 

1994   The Performing Arts Center was completed. On April 24, The Joffrey Ballet performed in the new Center to commemorate its opening, 37 years after they debuted on our campus. 

1998   We celebrated our Centennial Anniversary with a year-long series of events. 

2000   FSU was the first-ever recipient of the Corporation for National Service’s Higher Education Award for Leadership in National Service. 

2003   The Compton Science Center reopened after a complete renovation, and the Edgewood Commons complex began housing students in its on-campus private apartments. 

2005   FSU began offering programs at the new University System of Maryland at Hagerstown.

2012   We offered our first doctorate degree.