Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania was officially formed on July 1, 2022 when Bloomsburg University, Lock Haven University, and Mansfield University integrated as a single, comprehensive university with multiple campuses to expand high-quality, affordable academic opportunities to support the needs of all learners.

Each campus brings a rich tradition of academic excellence and community engagement to the collective entity. Bloomsburg, founded in 1839, originally served as a literary institute before evolving into a comprehensive university. Mansfield, established in 1857, began as a seminary and grew into a pivotal educational institution known for its strong liberal arts programs. Lock Haven, founded in 1870, initially opened as a normal school and has since developed a reputation for its robust education and health sciences programs. Clearfield was established in 1989 as a branch campus of Lock Haven to expand higher education opportunities in a close-knit community of learners.

Together, these campuses form Commonwealth University, enhancing educational opportunities and fostering innovation across Pennsylvania.

Campus Evolution

Each campus of Commonwealth University has evolved throughout its history to meet the needs of students and the state of higher education. From humble origins, the campuses of Commonwealth U have grown to provide an integral role in driving local, regional, and global economies by fostering innovation, creating skilled workforces, and attracting investment.

  • Bloomsburg Academy (1839–1856)
  • Bloomsburg Literary Institute (1856–1869)
  • Bloomsburg Literary Institute and State Normal School (1869–1916)
  • Bloomsburg State Normal School (1916–1927)
  • Bloomsburg State Teachers College (1927–1960)
  • Bloomsburg State College (1960–1983)
  • Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania (1983-2022)
  • Commonwealth University-Bloomsburg (2022-present)
  • Central State Normal School (1870–1927)
  • State Teachers College in Lock Haven (1927–1960)
  • Lock Haven State College (1960–1983)
  • Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania (1983-2022)
  • Commonwealth University-Lock Haven (2022-present)
  • Mansfield Classical Seminary (1857-1862)
  • Mansfield Normal School (1862-1927)
  • Mansfield State Teachers College (1927-1960)
  • Mansfield State College (1960-1983)
  • Mansfield University of Pennsylvania (1983-2022)
  • Commonwealth University-Mansfield (2022-present)
  • Lock Haven University Clearfield Campus (1989-2022)
  • Commonwealth University-Clearfield (2022-present)
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Bloomsburg University history

Bloomsburg History

The origins of the Bloomsburg campus began in May of 1866 when the Board of Trustees of the then Bloomsburg Literary Institute decided to build a new facility and needed to select a site. The decision was made to buy three acres of land located at the east end of Main Street on the top of the hill. In June of 1866 the Board elected Henry Carver Principal of the Institute and authorized him to design a building for not more than $15,000. Carver served as the architect and general contractor for the new building. It became known as the chapel or Institute Hall, and was dedicated on April 4, 1867 just in time for the spring term.

Lock Haven University History

Lock Haven History

Lock Haven was established in 1870 as the Central State Normal School, with the mission to train teachers for Central Pennsylvania. Its program was in keeping with the traditions of the "Ecole Normale" schools of the First French Republic (1794) and the Pennsylvania Normal School Act of 1857. The first classes at the new school were held in May of 1877 and were taught in Price Hall, which built on the current site of North Hall, was a five story building overlooking the Susquehanna River. In 1888, Price Hall was destroyed by fire. In its place, a new school, which housed offices, classrooms, and residence halls, was built at the current site of Stevenson Library.

Mansfield University History

Mansfield History

Mansfield traces its heritage to 1857, when the Mansfield Classical Seminary opened. In 1862, Mansfield became a state normal school. In 1927, the institution was designated Mansfield State Teachers College, and in 1960, it broadened its degree offerings and became Mansfield State College. In 1983, the college became Mansfield University and a member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.