Mayville State University: educating leaders since 1889.

Since its establishment through the state constitution in 1889, Mayville State University is one of North Dakota's original colleges. Teachers Colleges (then called "Normal Schools") had grown rapidly since their introduction into the field of American higher education soon after the Civil War. The Legislature of the Dakota Territory had moved toward the establishment of colleges for teacher education three times, but none of these efforts bore fruit for the people of the area, which later became North Dakota.

The North Dakota Constitutional Convention of 1889 located sites for the nine original state institutions and funded them by a land grant, leaving organization to the First Legislative Assembly. The normal school to be established at Mayville was awarded 30,000 acres in the land grant.

Classes of the Mayville Normal School began in 1890, with funds for a building ("Old Main") provided by the Second Legislative Assembly in early 1891, where classes were initially held in 1893. Since then, Mayville State has steadily grown and progressed. In 1925, the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) authorized Mayville State to grant a Bachelor of Arts in Education. The Mayville Normal School thus became a "teachers college," providing general education and offering a four-year degree. Successive additions strengthened the curriculum and, as enrollment grew, new buildings appeared.

In 1948, the B.A. in Education became a B.S. in Education and the first non-teaching Bachelor of Arts was offered in 1961. In 1973 and 1982, the college established programs in business administration and computer studies respectively. In the early 1980's, the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of General Studies became available.

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved Mayville State University’s request to offer a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in the fall of 2016, and classes in the program began in the fall of 2016. This is Mayville State’s first master’s degree program. Classes in the Master of Education program were first offered in January of 2022, and Master of Science in Nursing program was launched in April of 2020.

The institution's present name, Mayville State University, was approved by the legislature in 1987.