Peru State College
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History and Heritage

Peru State College History Gallery Show


An Introduction To Peru State College

Peru State College was founded in 1867 as Nebraska’s first college and was the third teacher education institution established west of the Missouri River. For more than a century, thousands of people have crossed the Campus of a Thousand Oaks to become teachers and leaders in Nebraska and throughout the nation.


The people of Nebraska have made the facilities of the College available to students at a minimum personal cost. The taxpayers of the state bear the major portion of the cost of educating the College’s students.


Peru State College admits all graduates of accredited Nebraska high schools and qualified out-of-state and international students. The philosophy of the College is that each person is entitled to the opportunity to succeed at the collegiate level. All who have the ability and the willingness to work will have an excellent chance to succeed at Peru State College.


The College believes in academic excellence, in opportunities for personal growth, and in student self-determination consistent with the principles of a democratic society. Administrative intent is to involve students in decisions that affect them. The College’s educational experience is designed to enable students to learn, to equip themselves for meaningful careers, and to be productive members of society. Peru State College students have the opportunity to know their instructors well and to be working partners with the staff and other students. Living and working with others offer many opportunities for friendship, growth, and personal development.


The College’s faculty and staff are here to serve you. We welcome the opportunity to assist you in realizing your personal, educational, and career objectives.



In 1867, the same year that Nebraska became a state, the new state’s legislature established a training school for teachers at Peru. The school actually began on December 2, 1865, when its predecessor, Mount Vernon College, was organized by a group of early settlers who resolved to place the school under the “care and management of the Methodist Episcopal Church.”


Colonel T.J. Majors, a leader during the Civil War and a state legislator, proposed that the school be made into a state university. Although the offer was rejected, the state legislature, on June 20, 1867, did accept the school as a “normal school” several months before the state university was established. For the next 38 years, the Peru school was the only teacher education institution in the state.


As Nebraska’s population increased, the legislature extended the normal schools from two-year to four-year institutions and authorized them to grant the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Education, Bachelor of Science in Education, and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Education. At the same time, the name of the school waschanged from State Normal School to State Teachers College.


When the United States entered World War II, the College trained officers for the armed forces. The first of an eventual 500 men in the Navy’s V-12 program arrived on campus July 1, 1943. The College operated an accelerated program for both civilian students and naval trainees.


In 1949, the legislature authorized the Nebraska State Colleges to confer the Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1963, Peru’s name was changed to Peru State College. The Bachelor of Science degree was authorized in 1965.


Emerging from its role as a single-purpose teachers college, the College is now a regionally accredited state college offering a wide variety of programs to meet the changing needs of southeast Nebraska and beyond.