As the comprehensive public college of southeastern Massachusetts, Bridgewater State College has a dual mission: to educate the residents of southeastern Massachusetts and the Commonwealth, and to use its intellectual, scientific and technological resources to support and advance the economic and cultural life of the region and the state.
Bridgewater State College is one of the oldest public colleges in America, founded in 1840 as Bridgewater Normal School. Daniel Webster, former U.S. President John Quincy Adams and the great educator Horace Mann were among the early supporters of the school. The first class, consisting of seven men and twenty-one women, met in the old town hall in Bridgewater with a single instructor, Nicholas Tillinghast. In 1846, thanks to the generous donations of a quarter-acre of land from a town resident and funds from the State Legislature, the college received its first permanent home on the present-day quadrangle. That was the first building in America constructed to train teachers. As the college and the country grew up together, Bridgewater graduates traveled all over America and as far away as Japan, establishing schools and colleges.
A four-year course of study was first introduced in 1866, and in 1921 Bridgewater was authorized to award the bachelor of education degree. In 1933, the name of the college was changed to Bridgewater State Teachers College, which it remained until 1960 when a full-fledged, comprehensive liberal arts curriculum was begun and the Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred. The college’s graduate school opened in 1937.
Today, full-time faculty number approximately 252 men and women, the Visiting Lecturers average approximately 235, the full- and part-time student body exceeds 9,000 students, and more than 100 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs are offered. Starting from a quarter-acre of land and a single building in 1846, the college has grown to 240 acres and 30 academic, administrative, and residential buildings, all of them wired for high-speed voice, video, and data transmission.
In September 1995, the college opened the John Joseph Moakley Center for Technological
Applications, establishing Bridgewater as among the leading pioneer institutions
in New England in education technology. Two years later, the MBTA completed
construction of its Old Colony Boston-Middleboro/Lakeville commuter rail line
station in the heart of the college campus, making Bridgewater more accessible
to students from throughout the region (more than 80 percent of the college’s
students come from this part of the Commonwealth). The college now extends
far beyond its campus with distance learning and a growing number of international
partnerships. These and other developments are representative of the college's
proud history and vision for the future.
Last Modified: April 29, 2011