August 16, 1890: Salem Academy in Harrison County Changes Name to Salem College

Aug 16, 2019

On August 16, 1890, Salem Academy in Harrison County changed its name to Salem College
Credit E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On August 16, 1890, Salem Academy in Harrison County changed its name to Salem College. The academy had opened its doors a year earlier with the help of the Seventh-Day Baptist denomination. One of the school’s founders was Jesse Randolph, the grandfather of future U.S. Senator and Salem alumnus Jennings Randolph.

It started with a single building on Main Street in Salem, which was in the heart of an oil boom at the time. Around 1900, a drunken mob with torches tried to burn down the college, but the school’s president backed down the rioters with a pistol and a shotgun.

Salem College flourished from the 1920s to early 1970s, adding a downtown Clarksburg campus. Dormitories and other buildings were built at Salem in the 1960s and early ‘70s.

In 1989, Salem College affiliated with a Japanese university and changed its name to Salem-Teikyo University. Many new students enrolled from Japan and other foreign countries. Students could also take a semester of European Studies at sister campuses in Berlin and the Netherlands.

Salem disaffiliated with Teikyo in 2000 and is now called Salem University.