The State Normal School of Cheney becomes the Eastern Washington College of Education on March 3, 1937.

  • By Jim Kershner
  • Posted 9/12/2007
  • Essay 8284

On March 3, 1937, the school known for nearly 50 years as the State Normal School at Cheney acquires the new name of Eastern Washington College of Education upon the signing of a state measure. All three State Normal Schools are now officially colleges, a point of tremendous pride to the students and faculty at the Cheney school. The name will be changed again in 1961 to Eastern Washington State College and in 1977 to Eastern Washington University.

The State Normal School at Cheney had been primarily a school for training teachers, and it granted teaching certificates but not full bachelor's degrees. The status of the school first changed in 1933 when the school was granted the right to award degrees and then in 1934 when the school became fully accredited by the Association of Colleges.

Yet it was the change of the name that cemented the school's news status. According to school historian Cecil Dryden, the new name "gave a feeling of elation to individual students, to the faculty, and to the administration."

"It was a name which announced to the world that Cheney Normal had arrivedĀ -- at long last!" (Dryden).

Sources: Cecil Dryden, Light for an Empire: The Story of Eastern Washington State College (Cheney: Eastern Washington State College, 1965).

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