There are many noteworthy dates in Northeastern's history, but the turning point for our University was its transition from the Cherokee National Female Seminary to Northeastern Normal School nearly 100 years ago. This significance of this milestone is rooted in the institution's historic link to the Cherokee Nation. The story of NSU actually began in 1851 with the dedication of the Male and Female Cherokee National Seminaries at Park Hill. When the Female Seminary burned to the ground on Easter Sunday 1887, the Cherokee Council chose to rebuild on a 40-acre site north of Tahlequah. Two years later, on May 7, 1889, dedication ceremonies were held for the new Cherokee Female Seminary, the building that is the centerpiece of today's main campus. Classes were held at the Female Seminary until the Oklahoma legislature authorized the state to purchase the facility from the Cherokee tribal government on March 6, 1909.
Through the decades, NSU has played a key role in the area's history and development. Today, NSU is a comprehensive regional university and the fourth-largest public four-year institution of higher learning in Oklahoma, with academic emphases in business, technology, social sciences, mathematics, sciences, optometry, education, language, and the arts. The main campus in Tahlequah and branch campuses in Muskogee and Broken Arrow provide outstanding educational and cultural opportunities for nearly 9,000 students and the citizens of eastern Oklahoma. Almost 29 percent of NSU's student population are self-identified American Indians, and each year the institution graduates the highest number of American Indians among public four-year institutions nationwide. NSU faculty and staff are committed to preparing students to succeed as global citizens by providing exceptional undergraduate and graduate degree programs, along with the professional Doctorate of Optometry.