With roots reaching back to the formation of public education in West Virginia, the institution now known as Fairmont State University has been led by distinguished principals and presidents.
Founded in 1865, two years after the state was admitted into the Union, what is today Fairmont State University was first established as the West Virginia Normal School at Fairmont - a private institution dedicated to educating teachers. The West Virginia Normal School at Fairmont was purchased by the state to become the Fairmont State Normal School, which made training more readily available to the public. In early 1917, the school moved from its location on Fairmont Avenue to its grand new hilltop location on Locust Avenue, the building now called Hardway Hall. In the 1930s, the West Virginia Legislature changed the institution's name to Fairmont State Teachers College, a title that would change once more in 1943-1944 to Fairmont State College. Gov. Bob Wise signed an historic bill on April 7, 2004, changing Fairmont State College’s name to Fairmont State University.