Charles F. R. Bellows (1832-1907) was the first head of Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute in Mount Pleasant (1892-96). Born in Charlestown, New Hampshire in 1832, his family moved to Climax, Michigan in 1837. He received a second class teaching certificate from Michigan State Normal School in Ypsilanti (now Eastern Michigan University) in 1855 and later a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan. In 1867, he entered the faculty of the Michigan State Normal School, where he was a professor of mathematics (1867-91) and acting principal (1870-71). Bellows left Ypsilanti in 1891 and agreed to be the founding principal of the Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute University in June of 1892.
For the first year (1892-93), the Institution held classes in the Carpenter Building in downtown Mt. Pleasant. Bellows surveyed the future location of the campus and was involved in the construction of the original Main Building (where Warriner Hall stands today), which opened in September of 1893. During his tenure, Principal Bellows organized a separate Conservatory for Music through his own funds, which became incorporated into the Normal in 1900. He continued to teach as a professor and spoke to teacher groups throughout the State. Under principal Bellows, Central was known by three different names - Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute (1892-93); Central Michigan Normal School (1893-95); and finally Central State Normal School (1895-1927) after the State Board of Education took over governance of the School. Principal Bellows also led an advertising effort for the School in order to gain more students.
In 1896, Principal Bellows resigned from Central. He returned to Ypsilanti in 1902 to join the faculty of the State Normal School.