Today, Shepherd University is recognized for its outstanding programs in liberal arts, business administration, computer and natural sciences, and professional studies. In 1871, the school opened its doors to 42 students who were guided under the leadership of its first principal, Joseph McMurran. The West Virginia Legislature passed an act in February 1872 to establish a branch of the state normal school for teacher training at Shepherd. Teacher education remained the cornerstone of Shepherd University for more than a century. This pictorial history presents how academics, athletics, and student life transformed over the decades to educate a diverse student body in more than 60 undergraduate programs and five graduate programs.