On June 20, 1867, at the urging of Civil War veteran and legislator Col. Thomas J. Majors, the state legislature established a teacher training school at Peru on the site of the former Mount Vernon Seminary. Called the Nebraska State Normal School, it was one of the first of its kind west of the Missouri River. The school’s purpose was to train young men and women “in the arts of teaching, and in all the various branches that pertain to a good common school education.” The curriculum would include instruction in the trades, agriculture, the law, and the rights and duties of citizenship. On October 24, 1867, when the first classes convened with thirty-two students, the campus consisted of sixty acres and a single building. During the next thirty-eight years, the school was the only teacher education institution in the state. As Nebraska’s population increased and additional state normal schools were established, the legislature expanded normal education from two to four years. In 1949 the school’s name was changed to Peru State Teachers College. It was renamed Peru State College in 1963.