As California expands with the Gold Rush and a divided nation fights the Civil War, SJSU begins to make its mark as Minns' Evening Normal School, training teachers first at its location in San Francisco and then in San Jose. While inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison move the world forward with communication and light, the Normal School graduates its first students.

SJSU Facts: 1857 to 1879

George Minns

1857 - Minns' Evening Normal School is established in San Francisco. Principal George W. Minns presides over the first graduates of the Normal School. He believes that a good teacher should try "to elevate his whole school to a high standard of moral excellence."

Normal School graduates

1862 - Minns' Evening Normal School becomes a California State Normal School and has 54 graduates -- all women -- of a three-year program.


1872 - Charles Edwin Markham, author of "The Man with the Hoe," graduates. The poem became internationally famous and Markham became the school's best-known 19th century graduate. Published in 1899, the poem is written in response to a painting by French artist Jean-Francois Millet and speaks of a world moving into a new century and a time of rapid change.