One hundred and fifty years ago, in February of 1870, the citizens of Shippensburg invited Pennsylvania state superintendent of public instruction James Wickersham to visit in an effort to encourage him to consider the town as the location for a new normal school.

Wickersham responded with a letter (pictured above) to original Shippensburg University Trustee, J.A.C McCune, accepting the invitation.

During the meeting, Wickersham assured the town’s people that he considered Shippensburg “the most desirable” of all possible locations in the Cumberland Valley for a normal school. With this encouragement, a group committed themselves to creating a normal school and began to raise funds for the project. In 1871 the cornerstone was laid in Old Main, marking the ceremonious start of what would become Shippensburg University.

Shippensburg University is preparing to launch a yearlong 150th celebration in 2021, honoring the 1871 establishment of the then Cumberland Valley State Normal School.

“As we plan for this monumentus anniversary, we encourage everyone to get involved and take part in celebrating all that Shippensburg University has accomplished,” said Dr. Kim Garris, vice president for external relations and communications and vice-chair of the 150thplanning committee.

Faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members should stay tuned as details and events are released for the yearlong celebration.