The school was founded in 1887 as Morehead Normal School, a church-supported teacher-training school. It was taken over by the state in 1922. The school's name changed as its mission broadened--to Morehead State Normal School and Teachers College in 1926, Morehead State Teachers College in 1930, Morehead State College in 1948 and Morehead State University in 1968.
Nearly 50,000 persons have received degrees from MSU. Nearly 80 degree programs are available on the two-year, four-year and graduate levels through four colleges (Caudill College of Humanities, College of Business, College of Education, and College of Science and Technology). Recently the Institute for Regional Analysis and Public Policy (IRAPP) also joined as one of the MSU degree options. Two-thirds of the faculty hold doctoral degrees. MSU supports its missions of teaching, applied research and public service through an annual budget of more than $92 million. MSU has claimed the state's best computer-student ratio in its computer laboratories, as well as requiring students to purchase approved laptops. The campus is ranked among the safest in the nation.
MSU is a charter member of the Ohio Valley Conference in NCAA Division I and sponsors 18 intercollegiate sports for men and women. The football Eagles compete in the Pioneer Football League of the Football Championship Subdivision. The coed cheerleading squad has won 17 national championships and the all-woman squad has six national titles.