Whittemore Library
Request More Information
Apply Now

College Timeline | University Presidents | Historical Tour of the College | History of the College Seal | Framingham Footprints

Portrait of Cyrus Peirce Cyrus Peirce, July 1839 - July 1842 and September 1844-May 1849

Cyrus Peirce was prepared for college at Framingham Academy. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School. Following his graduation, he served first as a pastor and then as a teacher. Horace Mann, the state's first Secretary of Education, had the opportunity to gauge the merits of many teachers but was most impressed with Peirce after observing him as headmaster of Nantucket High School. Mann persuaded Peirce to accept the challenge to establish, at Lexington, the first experimental normal school in the Commonwealth and in the country. The many responsibilities encompassed by his position forced him to resign due to poor health in 1842. After two years of rest, he was called to return to his position. In 1845 the state legislature declared the Commonwealth's normal schools an unqualified success. They legally became State Normal Schools entitled to regular and ongoing budgetary support. Peirce resigned for the second time, due to poor health, in July 1849. During his terms as Principal enrollment grew from twenty-five in 1840 to one hundred and three in 1849. His parting remark to his class each day reflected his basic philosophy, "Live to the Truth." The words remain as the College's motto today.

Portrait of Samuel May Samuel J. May, August 1842 - September 1844

An abolitionist and South Scituate Unitarian minister, Samuel May, was selected by the Massachusetts Board of Education to replace the ailing Cyrus Peirce as Principal of the Normal School at Lexington.  Born in Boston, he attended Harvard and graduated in 1817.  He subsequently became a teacher and pastor in Connecticut and Massachusetts churches, before taking over as principal.  A doubling of enrollment during May's tenure led to the relocation of the school to West Newton and the hiring of new faculty.  May departed the Normal School upon the return of Peirce as principal, and relocated to Syracuse, N.Y.  There he worked in a Unitarian church and continued to work for the abolitionist cause.  He was also a staunch advocate for women's rights, education reform, Native American rights, and the temperance movement.

Portrait of Eben Stearns Eben S. Stearns, May 1849 - September 1855

Eben Stearns also had theological training, but pursued a career as a professional educator.  He was appointed Principal of the Normal School at the age of thirty.  Stearns had formerly been employed at a high school for women in Newburyport where he had started a teacher-training program.  Although Cyrus Peirce had established very high standards for the Normal School, Stearns raised the standards even further.  Admission requirements were tightened, the number of terms was increased from three to four, and advanced courses for graduates were introduced.  In 1850, Stearns began to award diplomas to stress professionalism.  Enrollments at the school continued to increase, causing the legislature to appropriate funds for a new facility and the move to Framingham was made in 1853.  In 1854, Stearns resigned to take another position.  Several faculty members left at the same time and the school's enrollment dropped from 154 students in 1853 to thirty in 1854.

Portrait of George Bigelow George N. Bigelow, September 1855 - July 1866

George Bigelow was the first layman to fill the role of Principal of the Normal School.  Bigelow added new courses and increased the content in existing courses.  Advanced training in foreign languages as well as in English literature, modern history, and higher mathematics were added for the graduate students.  Student enrollment, which previously had been on the wane, began to increase, slowly at first, and then more rapidly due to the demand for teachers during the Civil War.  In 1864, the Principal and six assistants were teaching 173 women.  George Bigelow became gravely ill in 1865.  Miss Annie Johnson became Acting Principal until her appointment as Principal in 1866.

Portrait of Annie Johnson Annie Johnson, July 1866 - August 1875

The school's Board of Visitors kept careful watch during Annie Johnson's administration because of concerns that a woman was unfit to be appointed as Principal.  Johnson, who had been educated by her father and his colleagues at Bowdoin College, began teaching at fifteen and had taught every grade through high school before coming to the Normal School.  The Board of Visitors had nothing but praise for Johnson's administration.  the growing need for high school teachers in the Commonwealth caused the Board of Education to institute an additional two-year advanced supplemental course of study.  Studies in Latin, French, higher mathematics, ethics, natural sciences and English literature were covered in the advanced program.  During Johnson's administration, the school building was remodeled.  Steam heat, a third floor library, and a two-room model school were added.  Two acres of land were purchased to build a boarding house next to the school to provide low cost living accommodations for the students, principals, and teachers.  Annie Johnson resigned in 1875 to assume the position of principal at Bradford Academy. 

Portrait of Ellen Hyde Ellen Hyde, September 1875 - September 1898

Ellen Hyde, a graduate of the Normal School in 1862 and former senior assistant to Annie Johnson, was appointed Acting Principal and later Principal.  During her tenure the importance of student teaching was recognized, once again.  The model school was renamed the practice school and it grew in size and conception from two rooms to nine grades.  During Hyde's administration, the physical facilities, too, grew.  May Hall was built to replace Normal Hall.  A second boarding house, Crocker Hall, was built.  It burned down one year later, but was rebuilt.  Availability of water for the school buildings had always been a problem.  The town of Framingham ran waterlines to all the buildings.  A plant for heating, ventilating and lighting Crocker and May Halls was built behind May Hall.  The Board of Education prescribed courses of study at all the normal schools.  Beginning in 1893, high school diplomas were required for admission.  The Glee Club was formed.  The Normal School at Framingham was selected as the site the Boston Normal School of Household Arts.  Ellen Hyde resigned in 1898.  The students and alumnae held her in such esteem that she was permanently appointed President of the Alumnae Association and the Association established a scholarship in her name.

Portrait of Henry Whittemore Henry Whittemore, September 1898 - September 1917

Henry Whittemore was appointed the next Principal of the Normal School.  A Dartmouth graduate, he served in the Civil War, taught in the public schools, and had most recently been the Superintendent of Schools in Waltham.  Whittemore was an administrator first and a teacher second.  He brought knowledge of the needs of public schools, administrative skills, and contacts with him.  During his administration, the school underwent a number of changes.  Wells Hall was constructed; it housed a gymnasium with showers, a room for the kindergarten, a sloyd (carpentry) practice area, additional laboratories, and a large drawing room.  Tunnels were constructed between Crocker, May, and Wells Halls to carry electrical wires and drainage pipes from one building to another.  There was an increased emphasis on sports and exercise.  The Household Arts program was extended to three years.  In an effort to accommodate the increasing popularity of this program, the Board of Education considered eliminating the Elementary program at Framingham.  However, through the efforts of the Alumnae Association, the Elementary Department remained.  Normal Hall burned.  Two houses in the area were rented until housing was available again.  An acre of land was purchased and Peirce Hall was erected.  Land was purchased for Dwight Hall in 1914.  A summer canning school was instituted, and the federally funded Vocational Education program in Home Economics Education was established at Framingham. 

Portrait of James Chalmers James Chalmers, Ph.D., September 1917 - September 1930

James Chalmers was a divinity graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, with a Ph.D. from Eureka College.  Prior to coming to Framingham, he taught English at Ohio State University, served as President at Wisconsin State Normal School and South Dakota State College, and was appointed Superintendent of Schools in Fitchburg.  During his tenure, Horace Mann Hall was completed and student enrollment continued to grow.  Chalmers also worked to increase faculty salaries to be commensurate with the other normal schools.  The positions of registrar and dean of women were added during his administration.  Framingham Normal School was granted the power to award a bachelor of science degree to students completing four years of study.  The depression had begun as Chalmers planned to leave and enrollments began to decline.

Portrait of Francis Bagnall Francis A. Bagnall, September 1930 - September 1936

A graduate of Wesleyan University, Francis Bagnall, was a former Superintendent of Schools in Adams and principal of Hyannis State Normal School.  In 1931, the transition of the Elementary Department from a two-year curriculum to a four-year college curriculum began.  From 1934 on it was possible to earn a bachelor of science degree in Education.  In the early thirties, too, the names of the Massachusetts Normal Schools were changed to State Teachers Colleges.  The executive heads' titles were changed from principals to presidents.  A student fee schedule was instituted.  In 1935, May Hall was the scene of a fire and resulting in water damage.  Crocker Hall was condemned as a fire hazard during the same year.  Mr. Bagnall resigned to assume a position as an educational policy consultant in Washington.

Portrait of Martin O'Connor Martin F. O'Connor, Ed.D., September 1936 - March 1961

Martin F. O'Connor was a graduate of Boston College and Harvard University.  He had served as headmaster of the Roberts School in Cambridge and a lecturer on Elementary School Education at Boston College before assuming the presidency of Framingham State Teachers College.  In 1937 Dwight Hall, a new administration and classroom building, was completed.  The legislature recommended that the Food and Nutrition major be dropped from the curriculum because their graduates did not go into teaching; however, students and alumnae protested, so the proposal was dropped.  The name of the College's Household Arts Department was changed to the Home Economics Department in 1949.  Due to the population explosion following World War II, an Intensive Teacher Preparation Program was initiated in the summer of 1955 to address the shortage of teachers in elementary schools.  The Division of Continuing Education was formally established in 1956.  In 1959, the College was allowed to award the B.A. degree.  The name of the College was changed to the State College at Framingham in 1960.  During President O'Connor's tenure enrollments went from 506 students to 632 full-time students.  President O'Connor retired in 1961.   

Portrait of D. Justin McCarthy D. Justin McCarthy, March 1961 - August 1985

A graduate of Bridgewater State College and Harvard University, Justin McCarthy first served as a public school teacher and administrator, then as Dean of the University of Maine at Farmington and a faculty member of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  Prior to accepting the appointment at Framingham, he was Director of State Colleges for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  In 1961, Framingham was authorized to grant the master of education degree.  In 1964, thirteen men were admitted to the all-female college.  During this period, the number of majors offered grew to twenty-seven and enrollment increased from 632 to 3200 students, with adults returning to college on a full-time basis.  The faculty of forty-five in 1961 grew to 140 in 1985.  

Portrait of Paul Weller Paul F. Weller, Ph.D., 1985-1995

Paul F. Weller joined Framingham State College as its twelfth President in August 1985.  Dr. Weller received his B.S. in chemistry with honors from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Cornell University in 1962.  After four years as a research chemist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, he embarked on a career of teaching and administration in the field of higher education.  He served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.  Under Dr. Weller's leadership, Framingham State College increased and strengthened the cultural and artistic programs on campus.  In particular, the Arts and Humanities Program brought a series of outstanding speakers to the campus, enriching student experiences and drawing members of local communities to share these resources as well.  Under his direction and with his support, programs were developed to serve an increasingly diverse student body, including international exchanges of students and faculty.  The McAuliffe/Challenger Center was also established during his tenure.

Portrait of Raymond Kieft Raymond N. Kieft, Ed.D., 1996-1999

Raymond N. Kieft came to Framingham in July 1996.  He was previously president of Mesa State College in Colorado and had held several executive positions in the Colorado State College's system.  He held an Ed.D. in Mathematical Analysis from the University of Northern Colorado, an M.S. in Mathematical Analysis from Colorado State University, and a B.S. in Mathematics and Chemistry from Calvin College.  He was formerly a professor of mathematics.  During Dr. Kieft's tenure the state gave approval for the construction of the new Athletic Center at the College.  Marked advances were made in the use of instructional technology and in development.  The current mission statement, which emphasizes the three priority areas of teacher preparation; nutrition, dietetics and food technology; and advanced technology, was adopted during his presidency.  He resigned from the College in April 1999 to take up a senior position with the Colorado Board of Higher Education.

Portrait of Helen Heineman Helen L. Heineman, Ph.D., 1999 - 2006

Helen L. Heineman was the fourteenth President and the first woman to hold the title of President.  She twice served as Interim President, in 1996 and in 1999, before being unanimously selected as President by the Board of Trustees in September 1999.  Dr. Heineman graduated from Queens College in 1958 as class valedictorian with a B.A. in English.  She then earned an M.A. in English from Columbia University in 1959 and a Ph.D. in English from Cornell University in 1967.  She is the author of several books on Victorian literature, including Mrs. Trollope: The Triumphant Feminine in the Nineteenth Century.  Dr. Heineman was formerly Provost and Academic Vice President at Framingham State College.  She joined the English Department faculty at the College in 1974 and went on to become the department chair.  She has also been a member of the faculty of the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.  In accepting the appointment as President, Dr. Heineman expressed her pleasure at being the first faculty member to hold the position, and pledged her commitment to faculty and students during her term of office.

President Flanagan Timothy J. Flanagan, Ph.D., 2006 - 2013

Dr. Flanagan became President of Framingham State College in August of 2006, having previously served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the State University of New York College at Brockport.  Prior to that, Dr. Flanagan served on the faculties of Marshall University, the State University of New York, and Sam Houston State University.  He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Albany State University.  During Dr. Flanagan’s tenure as president, the college underwent a sustained period of growth and development.  Framingham State developed new academic programs, strengthened faculty development, and increased enrollment, diversity, selectivity, and graduation rates.  Dr. Flanagan also oversaw Framingham State’s transition from a college to a university.  In August 2013, Dr. Flanagan resigned as President to assume the role of President of Illinois State University.

President Cevallos Dr. F. Javier Cevallos, Ph.D., 2014 - Present

Dr. Cevallos was born in Cuenca, Ecuador.  His family moved to Puerto Rico when he was 14.  From Puerto Rico, he moved to Illinois where he earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne.  Dr. Cevallos began his career in education in 1981 as an assistant professor of Spanish at the University of Maine at Orono.  From there he moved to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he was promoted to associate professor in 1988 and then to full professor in 1992.  In 1996, he was selected as a Fellow by the American Council on Education, spending his fellowship at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.  Prior to his appointment as President of Framingham State University, Dr. Cevallos has served as President of Kutztown University, a position which he has held since 2002.  Dr. Cevallos has become the 16th President of Framingham State.

Framingham State University

100 State Street

PO Box 9101

Framingham, MA 01701-9101


Phone: 508-620-1220