April 3 was a significant day in Eastern’s history. On April 3, 1882, the Benjamin P. Cheney Academy opened its doors to more than 200 students.
Benjamin Cheney, a railroad industrialist and visionary, donated $10,000 to build the teacher’s academy that became EWU. Annual tuition in 1882 was $30, and the first class graduated in 1888.
The academy became the State Normal School at Cheney in 1889, the same year in which Washington was given its statehood.
By the time it became Eastern Washington College of Education in 1937, Eastern was already a fully accredited four-year, degree-granting institution, offering majors in numerous subjects.
The campus grew rapidly in size and program offerings in the decades following World War II. In 1961, the name was again changed, this time to Eastern Washington State College. It was increasingly evident that the region needed professionals in many fields; in response, Eastern added a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Finally, in 1977, the State Legislature changed the school's name to Eastern Washington University, and academic departments were grouped into schools and colleges.