General University Timeline
1817 - Legislative act establishes the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania.
1817 - The Reverend John Monteith appointed the first president of the Catholepistemiad. Fr. Gabriel Richard is appointed vice-president and is the only other member of the faculty.
1817 - The "Temple of Wisdom" seal is adopted for the University, but no proof exists of it ever being struck.
1821 - The university adopts the official name of "The University of Michigan" and reorganizes to form a board of twenty-one Trustees, including the Governor (chosen from the faculty).
1837 - Michigan joins the Union as the 26th state on January 26. 1
1837 - Ann Arbor chosen as permanent site for the University of Michigan by a March 20 state act. 40 acres are given to the University by the Ann Arbor Land Company.
1837 - First meeting of the board of regents in Ann Arbor on June 5. The board itself was established by a state act on March 18, 1837.
1837 - The state legislature authorizes the University to establish a Cabinet of Natural History, and in 1882 a new building and a formal museum organization are provided.
1838 - the first book purchased by the UM library was a copy of J.J. Audubon's Birds of North America. In 1838 the Regents authorized $970 for its acquisition. 2
1840 - Four identical houses built for professors, one will later (in 1852) become the president's house, the oldest existing structure on campus today and the first building in Ann Arbor to have indoor plumbing. 3
1841 - University's first year of classes in Ann Arbor; the student body consists of six freshmen and one sophomore taught by two professors. 4
1841 - Mason Hall, the first building, is completed. 5
1843 - The first out-of-state and foreign students enroll; out of a class of 53 students, four were from other states and one was from Canada. 6
1845 - First commencement held at the First Presbyterian Church; the graduating class consists of eleven men. 7
1852 - Henry Philip Tappan inaugurated as first president of the university.
1857 - First student newspaper, The Peninsular Phoenix and Gazetteer, published on the university campus. 10
1863 - Erastus Otis Haven inaugurated as second president of the university. 11
1867 - Maize and azure blue adopted as class colors by a student committee and become official school colors in 1912 by action of the regents.
1869 - Henry Simmons Frieze, professor of Latin, became President pro tempore of the University until 1871. 12
1869 - Michigan establishes the nation's first university-owned hospital. 13
1870 - Michigan becomes the first American university to admit students upon graduation from approved high schools rather than examination, and to institute a system of approval of high schools for purposes of regulating the privilege of such certification. 14
1871 - James Burrill Angell inaugurated as third president of the university. 15
1876 - First PhD's are conferred. 16
1880 - Organization and incorporation of the University Musical Society/Choral Union. 17
1880 - First University Museum building erected (later the Romance Languages building). The New Museums building was erected in 1928.
1880 - Henry S. Frieze as acting president until 1882 while President Angell is on diplomatic missions. 18
1885 - First commencement for all schools and colleges of the University to be held on the same day. Until then, various schools and colleges held independent exercises.
1887 - Henry S. Frieze as acting president until January 1888 while President Angell is on diplomatic missions. 20
1891 - University RECORD established
1894 - Literary Class of '94 is the first to wear academic gowns at a Michigan commencement. 23
1894 - First issue of the Michigan Alumnus magazine published.
1894 - Summer courses given for the first time
1897 - Michiganensian (the UM yearbook) begins publication. 24
1897 - The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan founded. 25
1897 - Harry Hutchins becomes interim president until 1898 while President Angell is serving as an envoy in Turkey. 26
1902 - Michigan Law Review first published. 28
1904 - Michigan Union established for male students, alumni, faculty, and regents. Present-day Michigan Union building dedicated in 1920. 29
1907 - Lawrence C. Hull, '05 is the first Rhodes Scholar chosen from Michigan. 30
1908 - Michigan Union Opera, later renamed MUSKET (Michigan Union Show, Ko- Eds Too), begins performances. 31
1910 - Harry Burns Hutchins inaugurated as fourth president of the university. 33
1911 - University of Michigan Extension Service, a division of the University's Academic Outreach Program, is established. 34
1911 - "Varsity" written by Earl Moore, '12, and J. Fred Lawton, '11.
1913 - Museum of Zoology becomes an independent unit, headed by Alexander Ruthven. (it began unofficially in 1903)
1917 - A central corresponding committee of alumnae is established, which in 1920 changes its name to the Alumnae Council of the Alumni Association. 37
1919 - The Michigan Union building is opened as a gathering place for men only. 38
1922 - Museums of Anthropology and Paleontology established.
1924 - Lawyer's Club completed.
1925 - Alfred Henry Lloyd serves as acting president from February through September after the death of President Burton.
1925 - Clarence Cook Little inaugurated as sixth president of the university.
1928 - University Museums building completed 44
1929 - Affiliation of the Ann Arbor School of Music with the University of Michigan. The school comes under the complete jurisdiction of the university in 1940, with Earl Moore as director. 45
1929 - On May 24 the Regents vote to change the date on the UM seal from 1837 to 1817. 48
1930 - Middle English Dictionary moves to UM.
1930 - Founding of The University of Michigan Press.
1935 - The university mandates the preservation of state and university history with the establishment of the Michigan Historical Collections (now The Bentley Historical Library). 50
1936 - International Center established with J. Raleigh Nelson as director. 52
1946 - The Museum of Art is established in Alumni Memorial Hall. 54
1946 - Willow Run airport is acquired by the University of Michigan.
1948 - UM's radio station WUOM goes on the air. Radio broadcasting began on the campus with student broadcasts in 1923. 55
1954 - Thomas H. Weller, '36, M.S. '37, is the first Michigan graduate to receive a Nobel Prize. 57
1955 - North Campus recognized as a campus geographic area. 58
1956 - Flint College offers University of Michigan instruction, with David French as resident dean. 60
1957 - Undergraduate Library (Shapiro) built by Albert Kahn Associates. 61
1959 - Dearborn Center opens, headed by University Vice President William E. Stirton. 62
1960 - On October 14 John F. Kennedy announces the concept of the Peace Corps during a presidential campaign stop on the steps of the Michigan Union. 63
1964 - President Lyndon Baines Johnson delivers his "Great Society" address to a crowd of more than 80,000 people gathered for spring commencement in Michigan Stadium on May 22. 64
1965 - Regents approve a merger of the Michigan League and Michigan Union, thus establishing a University Activities Center (UAC). Both buildings become open to all students. 65
1965 - Astronaut Edward H. White, MSE AA '59, Hon ScD '65, becomes the first American to walk in space during the Gemini Four mission commanded by James A. McDivitt, BSE AA '59, Hon ScD '65. 66
1967 - The university celebrates the sesquicentennial of its original establishment in Detroit with the theme "Knowledge, Wisdom, and the Courage to Serve." 67
1968 - University Events Building constructed (renamed Crisler Arena in 1970). 68
1970 - Eight story addition (the south building) added onto the Graduate Library. 70
1971 - Astronauts David R. Scott, '49-50, Alfred M. Worden, MA '63, and James B. Irwin, M.S. '57, travel to the moon aboard Apollo 15. 71
1971 - Power Center for the Performing Arts built. 72
1973 - Bentley Historical Library building, home of the Michigan Historical Collections, completed. 73
1974 - Gerald R. Ford, '35 sworn in as the 38th President of the United States. 74
1977 - "Let's Go Blue" written by Joseph Carl, a tuba player in the hockey pep band. 75
1979 - Allan Frederick Smith serves as interim president following President Fleming's resignation. 76
1980 - Gerald R. Ford Library completed. 77
1982 - Marine Col. Jack R. Lousma, BSE '59, Hon ScD '73, commands third flight of the U.S. space shuttle Columbia. 79
1983 - Alumni Center dedicated. 80
1986 - The new University Hospital and A. Alfred Taubman Health Care Center opened (built by Albert Kahn Associates). 81
Mary Sue Coleman
1987 - The University celebrates the sesquicentennial of its establishment in Ann Arbor. 82
1988 - Robben Fleming serves as interim president following President Shapiro's resignation. 83
1988 - James Johnson Duderstadt inaugurated as eleventh president of the university. 84
1996 - Homer S. Neal serves as interim president following President Duderstadt's resignation. 85
1996 - Lee C. Bollinger inaugurated as twelfth president of the university. 86
2002 - B. Joseph White serves as interim president after President Bollinger's unexpected resignation. 87
2002 - Mary Sue Coleman inaugurated as thirteenth president of the university and the first woman president. 88
Additional Sites of Interest:
Buildings and Campus Artwork - Histories and online reference sources for University of Michigan campus buildings and artwork
Notable Faculty and Alumni - Lists of awards, research advances, and honorary degrees
UM Presidents - Biographical materials, dates of service, photos, etc.
The sources most frequently consulted for the timeline include The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey and The Proceedings of the Board of Regents. If any of the listed events on this page seem to be incorrect, or if you think an event should be added, please send the new information to the Bentley Reference Staff and provide citations for the sources where the new information was found.
All citations were taken from The University of Michigan, An Encyclopedic Survey Unless otherwise noted with a footnote below:
2. "The Historical Record." by Patricia S. Whitesell. The University Record, June 11, 1997: http://www.umich.edu/~urecord/9697/Jun11_97/history.htm
4. A Book of Days (see no. 7) and Michellaneous. [written by Jim Albright, designed by Tom Reineri]. Ann Arbor, Mich., Student Alumni Council, c1981.
7. Michellaneous. (see no. 4), and A Book of Days: 150 Years of Student Life at Michigan. [researched and compiled by Nancy R. Bartlett, Kathleen A. Koehler ; edited by Noreen Ferris Wolcott ; designed by Kathleen S. Horn]. Ann Arbor, Mich. : Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, c1987.
9. Chemical Laboratory page, History and Traditions: Plaques and Markers, First Medical Buildings, http://www.umich.edu/pres/history/markers/firstmed.html, and The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey
10. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
11. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
13. A Book of Days (see no. 7), and The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey
14. "School Accreditation": http://www.soe.umich.edu/dewey/accrediation/, and The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey
15. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
16. "UM - International History: An Outline," and The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey
17. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
21. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
22. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
23. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
24. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
25. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
27. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
28. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
29. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
30. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
31. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
34. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
36. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
37. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
38. The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey, and "A Chronology of UM Buildings": http://bentley.umich.edu/uarphome/archt.htm#1910
39. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
45. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
46. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
48. Michigan Alumnus, June 1, 1929
49. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
51. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
52. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
53. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
54. UM Museum of Art History: http://www.umma.umich.edu/about-umma/, and The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey
55. The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey, and WUOM Bentley Finding Aid
56. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
57. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
58. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
60. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
61. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
62. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
63. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
64. A Book of Days (see no. 7), and Robert M. Warner. The Anatomy of a Speech: Lyndon Johnson's Great Society Address, December 1978
65. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
66. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
67. A Book of Days (see no. 7), and Ann Arbor News, sesquicentennial special edition, March 4, 1967
69. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
71. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
74. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
75. Michellaneous. (see no. 4)
77. "A Chronology of UM Buildings", and "History of the Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum": http://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/library/history.asp
78. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
79. "Friday Focus: The Right Stuff" by Adam Zuwerink, The Michigan Daily, November 20, 1998: http://www.pub.umich.edu/daily/1998/nov/11-20-98/news/news20.html
80. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
81. A Book of Days (see no. 7)
82. A Book of Days (see no. 7)