The University of Southern Maine, also referred to as USM, is a multi-campus public comprehensive university of higher education. The institute was originally founded in 1878 as Gorham Normal School and merged with the University of Maine at Portland to become the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham. Finally, it was renamed as University of Southern Maine in 1978. Since its inception, USM functions as a major educational instrument in the overall development of economic, civic, and cultural life in southern Maine. The University has three primary campuses in Portland, Gorham, and Lewiston.