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PERSPECTIVES AND VISIONS: 
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LOWELL'S COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
 
The University of Massachusetts Lowell College of Education began as the State Normal School, Lowell, established by an Act of Legislature and approved on June 6, 1894.  It was the tenth (including State Normal Art School, Boston) and 
last State Normal School in Massachusetts.

     The term "normal" is derived from the French. Napoleon called France's schools for the preparation of secondary school teachers L'Ecole Normale Superieure.  Charles Brookes, an American education visionary who had visited Europe to study teacher preparatory programs, heard the term applied to Prussia's teacher preparatory schools.  Brooks is credited with having introduced the term to America.  The name implies a "model" to be copied and an "ideal" toward which to aim.

     In Lowell, the school was built at the corner of
Broadway and Wilder Street, a site selected by the
State Board of Education and purchased by the City.  The school opened to pupils on October 4,  1897, while the building was still in the hands of the contractors.  Classes met in four rooms on the Wilder Street side of the unfinished structure.  Dedication Exercises took place on June 15, 1898, slightly over eight months after opening.  Combined with the dedication was the graduation of teachers from the kindergarten class that had been received from the city training school into the Normal School at its opening.  Diplomas were presented by Mrs. Kate Gannet Wells of the State Board of Education.
 

"Each student had passed hours of challenging entrance examinations, written and oral, in English literature, Latin, French  or German, History, Science, Drawing, and Music.... The two-year teacher preparation course required a liberal education obtained in 'the people's college:' the nineteenth-century high school.  After passing those exams, tuition was free to residents of Massachusetts, and thirty dollars for others."
 

To Enrich and To Serve


Frank F. Coburn, a strong advocate for the location of the school in Lowell and the then current principal of Lowell High School, was appointed by the State Board of Education to be the school's first principal.

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