Plymouth State University celebrated 200 years of higher education Dec. 8 at the Lamson Learning Commons with a history lesson, a musical re-enactment of the legislation that was passed to begin the school and dedication of a plaque. PSU President Sara Jayne Steen told the assembled faculty, staff and townspeople that the town of Plymouth and surrounding communities have always been supportive of higher education.
“We’re celebrating a community partnership in the best and highest sense,” Steen said.
Patrice Scott of the Plymouth Board of Selectman noted townspeople have always sensed the importance of education.
“That’s something the people of Plymouth have always understood,” said Scott. “Training teachers is very important.”
Spurred by a petition from the town of Plymouth, the New Hampshire State Senate and House of Representatives passed legislation Dec. 7, 1808 to incorporate an institution of higher learning. The school opened as Holmes Plymouth Academy, the region’s first institution of its kind.
The Academy was opened thanks to the generosity of Colonel Sam Holmes, who donated $500 from his Revolutionary War pension. The school managed to weather hard financial times, but eventually closed. However, on March 15, 1871, it reopened as a public institution called Plymouth Normal School, the first in the state. Eventually it became Plymouth Teachers College and then Plymouth State College and was finally incorporated as Plymouth State University in 2003.
Local citizens and PSU faculty and staff dressed in period costume at the event and portrayed the original signers of the charter. Steen and Malcolm “Tink” Taylor of Holderness, who dressed as Colonel Sam Holmes, unveiled the plaque commemorating the 200-year legacy of higher education in the Plymouth region. The plaque will be placed in Lamson Library.
For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or Bruce Lyndes