Student Life

1845 - First fraternities, Beta Theta Pi and Chi Psi, established at Michigan. 1

1857 - First student newspaper, The Peninsular Phoenix and Gazetteer, published on the university campus. 2

1867 - First issue of The University Chronicle, a biweekly student newspaper, published. 3

1868 - First Senior Hop held in November. The last Senior Hop was in 1871.

1869 - The senior class begins the tradition of carrying class canes. It was customary for the seniors to begin carrying their class canes during the month of May preceding graduation. From 1934 the senior classes observed the tradition sporadically, and it more or less died out by the end of the 1930's.

1872 - First "J-Hop" held as the juniors revive the class dance tradition the seniors abandoned the previous year.

1879 - First sorority, Eta chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, established at Michigan.

1880 - Organization and incorporation of the University Musical Society/Choral Union.

1884 - University of Michigan Men's Glee Club formally organized, although unofficial men's singing groups may have performed as early as 1846.

1890 - Michigan Daily begins publication. 4

1891 - University RECORD established.

1896 - University of Michigan Marching Band organized by a student director and begins playing at football games.

1896 - Professor Thomas Clarkson Trueblood forms the Central Debating League for the purpose of encouraging intercollegiate debating among the major universities. Michigan, Chicago, and Northwestern were the first members of this league.

1897 - Michiganensian begins publication. 5

1900 - "In 1900, when interdepartmental rivalry ran high among the students, the "Lits" [Literature students] raised the class banner, flaunting the numerals of the class, to the top of the University flagpole. The enraged "Laws" [Law School students] enlisted the aid of a sharpshooter from the West, who brought the emblem down at the second shot. During the early 1900's, the practices of haircutting, face-painting, house-raiding, kidnapping - particularly of officers of the rival classes - were common." Read more about student traditions and rivalries. (from The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey, p. 1775)

1902 - Girls' Glee Club founded. The Club came in and out of existence until it was finally discontinued in 1953.

1904 - Michigan Union established for male students, alumni, faculty, and regents. Present-day Michigan Union building dedicated in 1920. 6

1904 - First "Cap Night" celebrated on June 11, later to be abolished in 1934. 7

1905 - Student Council established. 8

1906 - Cosmopolitan Club founded. 9

1908 - Michigan Union Opera, later renamed MUSKET (Michigan Union Show, Ko- Eds Too), begins performances. 10

1909 - Alpha Phi Alpha established on April 10 and is the earliest known UM African American fraternity.

1919 - The Michigan Union building is opened as a gathering place for men only. 11

1921 - Joseph Bursley becomes the first dean of students. 12

1921 - Delta Sigma Theta Sorority founded on April 7 and is the earliest UM African American sorority.

1927 - "Freshman Week" established as a period of preparation for student life for incoming students.

1934 - After a long established tradition, Senior Swing-out activities celebrating the first wearing of the cap and gown are discontinued.

1954 - The all-male student council is replaced by the student government council, a co-ed student legislature.

1962 - Tom Hayden, '61, member of Students for Democratic Society (founded by Hayden in 1961), drafts the Port Huron Statement, which brought national prominence to SDS. 13

1963 - Coeducational dormitories are approved beginning with the fall term, and a single director of residence halls is appointed to administer both men's and women's housing. 14

1964 - Richard Cutler becomes Vice President of Student Affairs on December 1 and establishes the Office of Student-Community Relations, eliminating the positions of Dean of Men and Dean of Women. 15

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. 16

1965 - Vietnam protests occur during Homecoming.

1967 - Students stage a sit-in against classified research at the Administrative Office Building. 17

1971 - First "Hash Bash" held on the Diag (April Fools' Day). 18

Additional Sites of Interest

Student Life and Organizations - A historical account from The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey

Early Student Rules at UM - Rules adopted for University of Michigan students in 1837


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:

1. 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.

2. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

3. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

4. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

5. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

6. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

7. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

8. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

9. Bentley Vertical File FImu/F23, 1906 Michiganensian

10. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

11. A Chronology of UM Buildings", and The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey

12. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

13. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

14. A Book of Days (see no. 1), and The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey

15. The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey, "The History of Student Affairs/Student Services 1954-1984" by Edward C. Salowitz, and "Ominum Gatherum - Student Affairs"

16. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

17. A Book of Days (see no. 1)

18. A Book of Days (see no. 1)