DSU Centennial Celebration

DSU Centennial - 1918-2018 

Dickinson State Normal School was established in 1918. Its primary purpose, originally, was to prepare teachers for rural schools in southwestern North Dakota, which, during the second land boom, had a burgeoning population. First president Samuel T. May, however, saw the school as the educational center for the community as well as a teacher’s college and offered adult education courses in a variety of subjects. He also held courses in Americanization and citizenship, courses that were sponsored by the U.S. Government and required for immigrants seeking citizenship.

During its first summer session in 1918, the Normal School had 104 students and classes were held at Dickinson High School because the fledging normal school had no buildings. By the following summer, 200 were enrolled. In 1919, approximately 60 acres of land was secured on Signal Butte, then northwest of town. The following year, in 1920, the school held its first graduation, with 18 students completing their degrees.

Dickinson State Normal School Campus, 1926 

The first two buildings to appear on campus were the heating plant and a dormitory, both built in 1921-22. The dormitory was named Stickney Hall after Dr. Victor Stickney, a beloved Dickinson physician and major supporter of the college. During the 1921 and 1923 Legislative sessions, a total of $300,000 was appropriated for a classroom and administrative building. The building was completed in 1925 after two years of construction. It was referred to simply as the main building, but was later named May Hall after the school’s first president.