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

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.

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