Fenn College & Cleveland State University
Cleveland State University’s historical roots go back to the 19th century, when the Cleveland YMCA began to offer free educational courses to immigrants and others lacking access to higher education. By 1923 the program had become a college-level private institution of 2,500 students, eventually named Fenn College. Fenn was renowned for its pioneering work in establishing internships with local businesses, providing students with practical experience, professional contacts, and affordable education.
In 1964, Fenn College became Cleveland State University, incorporating its infrastructure, programs, and faculty. Today, the university maintains Fenn's legacy through over 250 partnerships with local businesses, schools, hospitals, and other institutions. With 40 buildings on 85 acres in downtown Cleveland, CSU offers over 1,000 courses in 200 fields of study, continuing to provide accessible and quality education. The iconic Fenn Tower still stands as a reminder of the early years when Fenn College was affectionately known as the "Campus in the Clouds."
A brief history of Cleveland State University
Browse historical photos of Fenn College and Cleveland State University
Historical photos, video, oral histories, exhibits and more information about Fenn College from Cleveland Memory, Cleveland Historical, and beyond.
- Founders & Distinguished Faculty:
CSU's Archivists interview faculty and administrators of early Fenn College.
- Women of Fenn:
Interviews with pioneering women who were students of Fenn in the 1930's through the 1960's.
- CSU 50: Oral History Interviews
from CSU's institutional repository, EngagedScholarship
- A College Meets a Challenge, (video) c. 1960
- Cleveland State University Archives Photo Collection
- "Fenn College On-Line":
A vision of what an early Fenn College Web site might have looked like had the Internet been around in the 1960's.
- Fenn College, Part 1: Early History (video)
- Fenn College, Part 2: Campus in the Clouds (video)
Cleveland State University archivist William Becker describes the early history of Fenn College in 2010. From the CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
- Fenn College from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
- Fenn College (print book, 2005), by William Becker
- Fenn Hall, by Jim Dubelko for Cleveland Historical
- The Law Library at the CSU College of Law
- Cleveland-Marshall College of Law by Jim Dubelko for Cleveland Historical
HISTORICAL PHOTOS & VIDEO
Cleveland State University
Historical photos, video, oral histories, exhibits and more information about Cleveland State University from Cleveland Memory, Cleveland Historical, and beyond.
- CSU 50: Oral History Interviews:
Interviews with select alumni, trustees, faculty, and other friends of Cleveland State University, conducted in 2014 by staff at the CSU Center for Public History and Digital Humanities in coordination with the Office of the President and Office of Alumni Affairs on the occasion of CSU's 50th anniversary. (from CSU's institutional repository, EngagedScholarship)
- Post-1964 images from the Cleveland State University Archives and CSU Theatre History Photo Collections
- Cleveland State University: Neighborhood Survey
729 photos from a structural survey and building inspection of surrounding downtown neighborhood properties contracted by trustees of the newly established Cleveland State University in 1965.
- The CSU Theatre History Collection
Photos, programs, press releases and posters from student drama productions at Cleveland State.
- A Brief History of Cleveland State University
- Cleveland State University, by Joseph Wickens for Cleveland Historical
- CSU Student Center by Jim Dubelko for Cleveland Historical
- The Law Library at the CSU College of Law:
Read about how the Cleveland Law School, founded in 1897, and the John Marshall School of Law, founded in 1916, evolved into today's Cleveland State University College of Law.
HISTORICAL PHOTOS FROM THE CSU ARCHIVES & ELSEWHERE