Travel through a timeline of Southern history, from our earliest years as a small teacher-training school to the full comprehensive university of today

An Enduring Legacy

Life began for Southern Connecticut State University on September 11, 1893, when three teachers and 84 students met at the old Skinner School in New Haven to create a two-year teacher training program, New Haven State Normal School.

By 1937, Southern had grown into a four-year college with the power to grant bachelor's degrees. It became a fully fledged university in 1983, fueling Connecticut’s economy with graduates from its schools of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Health and Human Services and Graduate Studies.

Join us this fall as we celebrate the past and look forward with anticipation to the continued evolution of this vibrant institution of more than 10,200 students and 85,000 alumni.

September 11, 1893

  • Opening day for New Haven Normal School.
  • Arthur B. Morril is principal.


New home of a more modern Normal School located at 2 Howe Street opens doors.


The class of '25 forms a permanent New Haven State Normal School Alumni Association.


  • Normal School becomes “The New Haven Unit of the Teachers College of Connecticut.”
  • Normal School becomes a college.


  • The Teachers College of Connecticut becomes New Haven State Teachers College.
  • Principal Engleman becomes first President Engleman


The Teachers College celebrates its 50th anniversary with a GOLDEN JUBILEE celebration.


The groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Crescent Street campus


New Haven State Teachers College Owl


Southern Connecticut State College


Celebration of the opening of John Lyman Auditorium and 75th anniversary of the college


Five new dormitories are dedicated: Wilkinson Hall, Chase Hall, Hickerson Hall, Farnham Hall, and Schwartz Hall.


Dedication of the Hilton C. Buley Library


John Crosby, '74, most decorated student athlete in the history of Southern athletics, competes as a member of the U.S. Olympics men's gymnastics team.


Nursing department graduated its first class.


The college opens its day classes to part-time students and allows full-time students to take classes in the evening.


Founders Gate is installed between Lyman Auditorium and Engleman Hall. It serves as a commencement day landmark and remains one of the modern campus' reminders of the college's rich history.


Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Jennings science building


Southern Connecticut State University College becomes Southern Connecticut State University


Board of Governors for Higher Education accredits Southern's School of Business Economics, allowing undergraduates in the school to receive a degree in business, rather than in business economics.


American College Theater Festival selects “No, No, Nanette,” a glitzy musical produced by Southern’s Crescent Street Players as one of the six best shows presented by New England colleges and universities.


Southern's soccer team celebrates its third NCAA Division II championship.


Admissions House moved from Seabury Hall to Farnham House.


Colin Powell is the inaugural speaker for the Mary and Louis Fusco Distinguished Lecture Series


Southern celebrates the groundbreaking for a new state-of-the-art, $36.5-million-dollar student center.


The Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D.) is the first doctoral program in university history


President Norton becomes first female president of SCSU.


NCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Champions


Southern launches its Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing, the first of its kind in the state.


Southern Connecticut State University's School of Business building opens.


Groundbreaking for the new academic and laboratory science building


Jesse L. "Jess" Dow, founder of the intercollegiate athletic program at Southern, is inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.


Swimming sensation Amanda Thomas wins the 200-yard individual medley for the third year in a row, ending her college career with four national titles and 18 All-America honors.


The largest private gift in Southern's history endows the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies and its cutting-edge environmental research.


Bigger, better and busier than ever, an expanded, renovated Buley Library opens its doors as the academic heart of campus


Southern and England’s Liverpool John Moores University partner for a Trans-Atlantic Alliance that is unique in American higher education.


Alumna Jahana Hayes ’05, is named National Teacher of the Year. Southern grads also receive eight top state educator awards, including superintendent, principal and counselor of the year.


Southern’s University choir adds to its growing list of international appearances by performing in Greece, thanks to support from the Stutzman Family Foundation


Construction begins on the new Barack H. Obama Magnet School on campus — a unique lab school partnership with the New Haven school system

Presidents of Past & Present

"Otus" the Owl Through the Years

In 1948 students at New Haven State Teachers College, as Southern Connecticut State University was then known, proudly cheered for the basketball and football teams, which were commonly referred to as “The Educators” and, to a lesser degree, “The Teachers.” But by the early 1950s, fans were lauding the athletics exploits of “The Owls.”

A small news item, which appeared on the back page of the March 1951 edition of the Alumni News Bulletin, heralded the change: “TC [Teachers College] has a brand-new official mascot, a wide-eyed owl, complete with TC sweater, and the traditional volume tucked under one wing.

Previous Owls (1962 - 2018)

Otus the Owl through Southern's history

New Owl (2018)

New Otus the Owl

Circa 1952: Take one set of wings and a painted hat-box. Voila! Meet the New Haven State Teachers College owl.

1964: The owl strikes a relaxed pose during the early Beatles era.

1978: Spreading his fabric wings at a basketball game.

1988: The owl lost his feathers, but gained a fine suit of faux fur.

1991: Big beak equaled big attitude as the owl adopted a more aggressive look.

1999: Soft and cuddly again ruled the day.

2008: The friendly raptor was a big hit on Bring Your Child to Work Day.

2009: A contemporary Otus mixes and mingles.

2011: Still cuddly

2018: The new Otus combines the contemporary mascot mix of cuddliness and aggression