BSU was founded in 1919 and opened under the name Bemidji State Normal School. The first President Manfred Deputy was appointed to run the new institution and the first class consisted of 38 students. The name was later changed to Bemidji State Teachers College, then shortened to Bemidji State College, and finally in 1975, it was changed to its current name Bemidji State University. During the 1998–99 academic year, the Board of Trustees recommended changing the name of the university to Minnesota State University–Bemidji, to reflect a change toward unification within the newly formed Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System after other larger institutions had done so. Prominent vocal and written opposition from students, alumni, and local Bemidji residents forced the board to withdraw the recommendation to change the name. Current enrollment is about 5,300 students, with students from 44 US states and 40 countries.