An informal history of the University of Michigan, as shaped by students, faculty, staff and alumni through the decades.

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  • 1817

    • Bates Street
      The University erects its first building, a two-story structure on Bates Street in Detroit.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Catholepistemiad
      The University is founded in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, by Augustus Woodward, Rev. John Monteith and Rev. Gabriel Richard.
    • Treaty of Fort Meigs
      Native American tribes cede land to the new “college in Detroit,” or the University of Michigania. The treaty also calls for the University to admit and educate Native students.
      Potawatomi Chief Metea
  • 1818

    • Teaching Hire
      Hugh M. Dickie begins work as the University’s first instructor, teaching high school-age students in a classical academy setting.
  • 1825: Settlers flood Michigan
  • 1827

    • Woodward's Death
      Augustus Woodward, the eccentric Michigan Territory judge who conceived the idea of the University, dies in Florida at age 52.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1832

    • Cholera Victim
      Gabriel Richard, a French Roman Catholic priest and one of the University’s founders, succumbs to a cholera epidemic sweeping Detroit.
  • 1835

    • Voter Support
      Michigan voters ratify a state constitution that includes support for a state university.
  • 1837: Michigan becomes a state
  • 1837

    • First Librarian
      The Board of Regents elects the Rev. Henry Colclazer, a Methodist minister, to be the first librarian of the University.
    • New Hire
      George Palmer Williams, professor of natural philosophy, joins a branch school of the University and later will move to Ann Arbor to teach the first class of students in 1841. He remains on the faculty until 1875.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Tree Town
      Ann Arbor is selected by the Michigan Legislature as the home of the University, prompting a move from Detroit.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1838

    • First Professor
      The influential botanist Asa Gray is appointed the first member of the faculty. He resigns two years later before ever teaching a class.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Library First
      The Library purchases its first book: J.J. Audubon’s Birds of America.
      U-M Special Collections Library
  • 1840

    • First House
      The President’s House opens as one of four faculty residences; today it is the oldest building on campus.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1841

    • Dust & Ashes
      Patrick Kelly is appointed the first custodian and is known to students as the “Professor of Dust and Ashes.”
    • First Students
      Six young men enroll in the first collegiate classes taught in Ann Arbor. They are Judson D. Collins of Lyndon Township, Merchant H. Goodrich of Ann Arbor, Lyman D. Norris of Ypsilanti, George Edgar Parmelee of Ann Arbor, George Washington Pray of Superior Township, and William B. Wesson of Detroit.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • LSA is Born
      The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts is established as the first college of the University.
    • New Professor
      Joseph Whiting, a graduate of Yale University, is appointed professor of Greek and Latin languages at an annual salary of $500. He joins George Palmer Williams as the faculty who teach the incoming class.
      Image: Department of Classical Studies
  • 1842

    • Activism First
      Students present their first-ever petition to the Board of Regents, asking for greater access to the campus library.
  • 1845

    • Class of '45
      Twelve men comprise the University’s first graduating class.
    • First Frats
      The first fraternities at U-M - Beta Theta Pi and Chi Psi – are established.
  • 1846

    • Je Suis Fasquelle
      Louis Fasquelle, a professor of French and native of France, becomes the first foreign-born member of the faculty. French becomes the first modern language taught at the University.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1848

    • Habla Espanol
      The first course in Spanish is offered.
  • 1850

    • Medical Education
      The Medical School opens as the University’s second academic college with more than 100 students.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1852

    • President Tappan
      Henry Philip Tappan, a philosophy professor at the University of the City of New York, is named the first president of the University of Michigan.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Psych 101
      The first classes in psychology are taught. Today psychology is among the most popular academic majors.
  • 1853

    • Diversity First
      Samuel Codes Watson, a medical student, becomes the first known African American student admitted to U-M. He transfers in 1856 before graduating.
  • 1854

    • Advancing Science
      With gifts from Detroit business leaders, the Detroit Observatory is built expressly for scientific study, helping to transform U-M into one of the first U.S. research universities.
    • Ag School
      The University appoints the state’s first professor of agriculture, balking at legislative plans for a separate agricultural college in East Lansing.
    • Birth of Engineering
      Alexander Winchell teaches "Strengths of Materials,” the University's first engineering class and the first metallurgical course in the country.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1856

    • Laboratory Milestone
      The University becomes the first in the country to build a chemical laboratory for students and faculty.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1857

    • Engineering Honor
      The University awards its first engineering degree to William Vandersan Snyder.
    • First Newspaper
      The first student newspaper, The Peninsular Phoenix and Gazetteer, is published.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1858

    • Art Exhibit
      The University puts its art collection on display for the first time, using space in Mason Hall as a museum.
    • Deep Roots
      Students designate the Tappan Oak, a young tree on the Diag, in tribute to President Henry P. Tappan. The tree stood on the northwest side of Hatcher Graduate Library until 2021, when it was removed because of decay.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Denied Admission
      Twelve women attempt to enroll, but are denied admission by the Board of Regents based on their gender.
    • Professor White
      Andrew Dickson White joins the faculty, where he remains for five years before leaving to become co-founder and first president of Cornell University.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1859

    • Glee
      The Men’s Glee Club is formally organized and today is the oldest student organization at U-M.
    • Master's Degree
      The University awards its first master of science degree to student Devolson Wood, who then joins the faculty.
    • Studying Law
      The Law School is founded.
  • 1860

    • Cricket, Anyone?
      Cricket becomes the first organized sport played on campus with the founding of the Pioneer Cricket Club.
  • 1862

    • Nydia
      The University receives its first significant work of original art, the marble sculpture Nydia that remains on display at the Museum of Art.
      Image: U-M Museum of Art
  • 1863

    • President Haven
      Erastus O. Haven becomes the University’s second president, and will later lead Northwestern University and Syracuse University.
    • Racial Rejection
      Alpheus W. Tucker, an African American medical student, was told by faculty that "for the peace and harmony of the institution" he should leave U-M because of his skin color. He later earned his M.D. from the Iowa College of Physicians and Surgeons.
    • Tappan's End
      The Board of Regents fires U-M's first president, Henry P. Tappan, shocking students and the Ann Arbor community.
      Tappan in studio Tappan in a photographer’s studio near the end of his presidency.
  • 1865: U.S. abolishes slavery
  • 1865

    • War Hero
      Alumnus Byron M. Cutcheon receives the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Civil War. He returns to campus after the war and graduates from the Law School. He later serves on the Board of Regents and is elected to Congress.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1866

    • ‘Best Education’
      The Atlantic Monthly boasts the University of Michigan “offers to thousands, free of expense, the best education this continent affords.”
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Play Ball
      Baseball begins competitive play and becomes the first varsity sport.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1867

    • Maize and Blue
      Students adopt “azure blue and maize” as the school colors.
  • 1869

    • U Hospital
      U-M becomes the first university in the nation to own and operate its own hospital. The 20-bed facility is in the residence of a former professor and has no operating rooms or wards.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1870

    • Ben Franklin Arrives
      Students from the Class of 1870 purchase a pewter statue of Benjamin Franklin for the campus, where it remains for some 30 years until destroyed by weather.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • First Women
      Madelon Louise Stockwell breaks the gender barrier at U-M when she is admitted in February; 33 more women join her in September.
      Images: Bentley Historical Library
    • Gabriel Hargo, Esq.
      Gabriel Franklin Hargo becomes the University’s first African-American graduate when he earns a law degree. He is only the second black man in the country to receive a law degree.
  • 1871

    • First Alumna
      Amanda Sanford is the first woman to graduate from U-M, earning a medical degree.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1872

    • Arbor Day Roots
      J. Sterling Morton, a member of the Class of 1854, originates a tree-planting celebration in Nebraska called "Arbor Day." Today, Arbor Day is celebrated globally.
      Image: Nebraska State Historical Society
    • First from Asia
      Saiske Tagai of Japan becomes the University’s first Asian student and studies literature and then medicine.
    • M.D. First
      W. Henry Fitzbutler, the son of a slave, becomes the first African-American to graduate from the Medical School. He later establishes the Louisville National Medical College to train black physicians.
      Image: University of Louisville
  • 1875

    • Punky Retires
      Professor George P. Williams, known as “Punky” and a member of the faculty since the first students enrolled in 1841, retires.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Teaching Dentistry
      The University is the first state university in the nation to open a college of dentistry.
      Image: U-M School of Dentistry
    • Teaching Homeopathy
      U-M opens a Homeopathic Medical College and operates it until 1922.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1876

    • Architecture Giant
      William LeBaron Jenney, who will design America’s first skyscraper, teaches U-M’s inaugural architecture classes.
    • Club First
      The Quadratic Club, the first all-women’s society, is formed.
    • Diversity Pioneer
      Mary Henrietta Graham becomes the first known Black woman admitted to the University. She graduates with a Ph.B. in 1880.
    • First Doctorates
      The University awards its first Ph.D. to William Henry Smith and Victor Vaughan.
    • Pharmacy Expands
      The College of Pharmacy opens, eight years after beginning as an academic department.
  • 1877

    • Doctor Barbosa
      Jose Celso Barbosa becomes the first Puerto Rican student to enroll and receives a medical degree in 1880.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Legal Genius
      Clarence Darrow enrolls in the Law School and attends for a year. He goes on to become one of the greatest trial lawyers in American history.
    • Teaching Botany
      Alumna Louisa Reed Stowell becomes the first female instructor and teaches microscopical botany for 12 years. She is not, however, considered a member of the faculty.
  • 1879

    • First Notes
      The first professor of music, Calvin B. Cady, is appointed, and music classes begin a year later.
      Image: University Musical Society
    • Reaching the Poor
      President James B. Angell delivers a seminal address in which he proclaims, "(I)t is of vital importance, especially in a republic, that the higher education, as well as common school education, be accessible to the poor as well as the rich."
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Touchdown, Michigan!
      Irving Pond scores the first touchdown in U-M history against Racine. He is later known for designing the Michigan Union and Michigan League with his brother, Allen.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1880

    • UMS Begins
      The University Musical Society is formed under the leadership of Professor Henry Frieze.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1881

    • Into the Woods
      Michigan becomes the first university in the country to teach a course in forestry.
  • 1882

    • Baseball Pioneer
      Moses “Fleetwood” Walker becomes the first African-American student to play baseball at Michigan.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Wellesley Leader
      Alumna Alice Freeman becomes the first woman to receive an honorary degree in the same year she is named president of Wellesley College.
      Image: Library of Congress
  • 1883

    • Doctor Mayo
      Dr. William Mayo earns his medical degree and goes on to become co-founder of the Mayo Clinic.
      Image: Wellcome Library, London
    • Scientific Club
      Faculty form the Scientific Club, a dinner club that continues to this day.
  • 1884

    • Out of Africa
      John Mavuma Nembula becomes the first native African student to enroll. He comes from Zululand in Natal – today’s South Africa.
    • Professor Dewey
      John Dewey joins the Philosophy Department as an instructor and begins to shape the modern foundation of understanding and teaching psychology.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1885

    • Doctoral First
      June Rose Colby becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. when she receives a doctorate in literature. She also holds U-M bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Med School First
      Sophia Bethena Jones becomes the first African-American woman to receive a medical degree.
  • 1886: Statue of Liberty dedicated
  • 1886

    • Hurrah
      Alumnus Charles Mills Gayley writes the lyrics of “The Yellow and the Blue.”
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1887

    • Economics Pioneer
      Henry Carter Adams joins the faculty from Cornell University and transforms the study of economics.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1890

    • Doctor Gray
      Ida Gray becomes the first African-American woman in the country to graduate in dentistry when she receives her D.D.S. from U-M.
    • Football First
      George Jewett becomes the first African-American to play varsity football for Michigan.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Making Headlines
      The Michigan Daily begins publishing.
    • Women's League
      Women students form the Michigan League as a social organization.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1891

    • Campus News
      The University Record, the faculty and staff newspaper, makes its debut.
    • Training Nurses
      Nursing education begins with the founding of the University of Michigan Training School for Nurses.
  • 1892

    • Campus GOP
      The College Republicans form during a national conference on campus that attracts Ohio Gov. William McKinley, future president of the United States.
    • Welcoming Chinese
      The first Chinese students at Michigan are Mary Stone and Ida Kahn.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1893

    • Harvard First
      Alice Hamilton receives her medical degree and goes on to become the first woman on the faculty of Harvard University.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1894

    • Alumni News
      The Michigan Alumnus begins publishing and is the nation’s first monthly magazine for college alumni.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1895

    • Corporate First
      The Detroit pharmaceutical firm Parke, Davis & Co. becomes the first corporation to donate money for student scholarships.
  • 1896

    • Band Formation
      The male-only Michigan Marching Band forms and begins performing at football games.
    • Faculty First
      Eliza Mosher becomes the first woman faculty member. She also is dean of women.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1897

    • Ensian Debuts
      The Michiganensian yearbook first appears.
      Image: Michiganensian
  • 1898

    • Atomic Discovery
      Professor Moses Gomberg synthesizes the elusive compound tetraphenylmethane and discovers the existence of an “organic free radical” — a highly reactive collection of atoms.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Diag Flagpole
      At a cost of $375, the University purchases the flagpole of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and installs it on the Diag.
    • Endowed Chair
      Dr. Elizabeth Bates, who has no ties to Michigan, endows the first professorship, citing in her will the University’s commitment to educating women.
    • Hail, Hail
      Student Louis Elbel writes “The Victors” after a rousing U-M football victory over Chicago.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1899

    • Clerkships
      The Medical School introduces the clinical clerkship – a breakthrough made possible by the fact U-M owns its own hospital.
    • Stearns Collection
      Frederick Stearns donates an eclectic collection of more than 900 musical instruments. Today’s Stearns Collection has grown to 2,500 instruments and is the largest assemblage of instruments at any North American university.
  • 1900

    • ‘Most Striking’
      President James B. Angell calls the growing number of women attending college “one of the most striking educational facts of our time.”
    • Advancing Research
      Faculty establish the all-male Research Club to foster and advance research on campus.
    • Launching AAU
      U-M becomes a founding member of the Association of American Universities, formed by the leading Ph.D.-granting institutions of the day.
  • 1901

    • 501-0
      The football team wins its first national championship - and the first for any Michigan team - after outscoring its opponents, 501-0.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1902

    • Colored Students Club
      Black students form the Colored Students Club, a mutual aid society to provide books, housing and medical care to low-income African-American students.
    • Law Review
      The Law School publishes the first issue of Michigan Law Review.
    • Research Club
      Female instructors create the Women’s Research Club, having been excluded from the Research Club established two years earlier.
    • Rosy Finish
      U-M plays in the first Rose Bowl and defeats Stanford, 49-0.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1903: First powered flight
  • 1903

    • Michigan Jug
      A water jug left behind at a Michigan-Minnesota football game evolves into the Little Brown Jug and one of the oldest trophies in the game.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • SNRE Roots
      The University establishes a Department of Forestry, which over a century evolves into the School of Natural Resources and the Environment.
  • 1904

    • Tow Tank
      A 300-foot long naval architecture tow tank is built into the West Engineering Building - the first such tank built and owned by an educational institution.
      Image: College of Engineering
  • 1905

    • Women’s Sports
      Students form a Women’s Athletic Association, with baseball, hockey and basketball teams.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1907

    • The Arb
      Alumni Walter and Esther Nichols offer the University 27 acres between the Huron River and Geddes Avenue for use as a botanical garden.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1908

    • Deaf Dentist
      George Gregor William Andree becomes the first deaf person in the country to earn a D.D.S.
  • 1909

    • Angell Legacy
      James Burrill Angell concludes 38 years as U-M president, an untouched record for leading the University.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Epsilon Begins
      Alpha Phi Alpha becomes the first African-American fraternity on campus.
    • Wooing Wilson
      The Board of Regents unsuccessfully lobbies Woodrow Wilson, president of Princeton University, to lead U-M.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1910

    • Honoring Alumni
      Alumni Memorial Hall, home of the Museum of Art, opens to honor those killed or wounded in the Civil War, Mexican-American War and Spanish-American War.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Menorah Society
      Jewish students form their first student organization, the Menorah Society.
    • President Hutchins
      Law School Dean Harry Burns Hutchins is the first graduate of the University to be named its president.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Rankings First
      The University is featured in a landmark book, Great American Universities, which highlights the country’s top 14 institutions.
  • 1911

    • Baseball Pioneer
      Branch Rickey graduates with a law degree. Later, as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, he brings Jackie Robinson into baseball and integrates the sport.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Varsity
      Student Earl Moore and alumnus J. Fred Lawton write the words and music for “Varsity,” and dedicate the song to Coach Fielding Yost.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1912

    • Skin Care
      U-M establishes the nation's first Department of Dermatology.
    • Teddy Talk
      Several thousand people mob the local train station for a five-minute March appearance by former President Theodore Roosevelt, who says, "Makes me feel as if I were coming to Ann Arbor during football season."
  • 1913

    • Cancer and Genes
      Pathologist Aldred Warthin becomes one of the first researchers to establish that cancer can be hereditary.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Grad School
      The Rackham School of Graduate Studies is established, more than 20 years after the University first creates a department of graduate studies.
    • Hill Debut
      The first concert is held at Hill Auditorium when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs for May Festival.
      Image: University Musical Society
  • 1914

    • Hillel Roots
      Jewish students found the Jewish Student Congregation; the group evolves into University of Michigan Hillel.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Math Ph.D.
      Suzan Benedict becomes the first woman to earn a U-M Ph.D. in mathematics.
    • Policy Wonks
      The University establishes an Institute of Public Administration, which evolves and becomes the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy in 1999.
    • Sky Pioneers
      U-M becomes the first university to offer courses in aeronautical engineering.
  • 1915

    • Taft Visits
      Former President William Howard Taft tells a crowd of 3,000 at Hill Auditorium that he supports the idea of a League to Enforce Peace.
    • Women’s Dorms
      The first residence halls for women – Martha Cook and Helen Newberry – open.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1916

    • Angell Funeral
      Thousands of mourners form an unbroken line from campus to Forest Hills Cemetery to mark the passing of former President James B. Angell.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1917

    • Barbour Scholars
      Regent Levi Barbour endows a scholarship program for young women from Asia and the Middle East. Originally designed for undergraduates, the Barbour Scholarship Endowment now funds scholars from the region who are enrolled in any U-M graduate program.
    • Daily Chief
      With her male colleagues at war, Mildred C. Mighell becomes the first female student to be managing editor of the Michigan Daily.
    • Over There
      Enrollment drops as hundreds of students leave campus to serve in World War I.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1918

    • African American Physicist
      Elmer Samuel Imes earns a Ph.D. in physics, the first for an African American man at U-M and second in the nation.
      Image: University of Buffalo
    • German Purge
      Plummeting enrollment and anti-German sentiment leads to a purging of faculty in the German Department.
    • Housing Soldiers
      The unfinished Michigan Union is turned into a barracks and mess hall to accommodate the Student Army Training Corps during World War I.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1919

    • Caruso Performs
      The great tenor Enrico Caruso performs at Hill Auditorium, singing “Vesti la giubba” and other arias.
      Image: University Musical Society
    • Union Opens
      The Michigan Union opens its doors as an exclusive men’s club, with women admitted only through a side door.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1920: Women win voting rights
  • 1920

    • Ancient Finds
      U-M’s Papyrology Collection – the most extensive in North America – begins with batches collected in Egypt by faculty member Francis Willey Kelsey.
      Image: Advanced Papyrological Information System
    • President Burton
      Marion L. Burton leaves the presidency of the University of Minnesota to become the fifth president of the University of Michigan.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1921

    • Delta Sigma Theta
      Delta Sigma Theta becomes the first African-American sorority on campus.
    • Jewish Sorority
      Alpha Epsilon Phi becomes the first Jewish sorority on campus.
    • Robert Frost
      U-M recruits poet Robert Frost with its new fellowship in creative arts, and he teaches for several years.
      Image: New York Public Library
    • Teaching Teachers
      The School of Education is founded.
  • 1922

    • Peony Collection
      The famous W.E. Upjohn Peony Garden of Nichols Arboretum begins with a gift of peonies from alumnus William Upjohn, founder of the Upjohn Company.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1923

    • Clements Opens
      The William Clements Library, designed by architect Albert Kahn, opens its doors for the study of American history and culture with its extensive collections.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Saarinen Arrives
      The acclaimed architect Eliel Saarinen accepts a teaching appointment as a visiting faculty member in the creative arts.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Track Titans
      The men's track and field team wins its first national championship.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Yost Debuts
      Today's Yost Ice Arena opens as an all-purpose fieldhouse.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1924

    • B-School
      U-M establishes a school of business, one that grows into the Ross School of Business and one of the top programs in the country.
    • Honoring Academics
      The first Honors Convocation is held, with President Marion L. Burton as the speaker.
    • Olympic Gold
      Student William DeHart Hubbard becomes the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal with victory in the long jump at the Summer Olympics.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1925

    • President Little
      University of Maine President Clarence C. Little, a cancer researcher, is named U-M’s sixth president.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Race Relations
      Students form the Negro-Caucasian Club, believed to be the first interracial student organization in the country.
      Image: Michiganensian
  • 1926

    • Faculty Honor
      Chemist Moses Gomberg delivers the inaugural Henry Russel Lecture, considered the University's highest honor for a senior faculty member.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Greenland Research
      Geology Professor William H. Hobbs sets sail for a three-month University expedition to Greenland to explore polar wind patterns.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Training Librarians
      Library science begins and grows to become the School of Information in 1996.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1927

    • Pedestrians Only
      The advent of automobiles – and crashes – prompts President Clarence C. Little to ban students from having cars.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • The Big House
      Michigan Stadium opens with seating for 84,401 – more than any college stadium in the country.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1928

    • Ginling College
      Barbour scholar Wu Yi-Fang earns her Ph.D. and goes on to become the first woman college president in China as leader of Ginling College.
      Image: Guangzhou Daily
    • IM Building
      U-M becomes the first university in the nation to build an intramural sports building for students.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1929

    • Animal House
      The University opens a small zoo – with bears, raccoons, porcupines and, yes, a wolverine – next to the Ruthven Exhibit Museum. It closes in 1962.
    • League Opens
      Funded largely by donations from women, the Michigan League opens its doors, with certain areas reserved strictly for women.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • New Birth Date
      Regents agree to change the University's founding date from 1837, when U-M opened in Ann Arbor, to 1817 and its establishment in Detroit.
    • Physics Giants
      The University holds a summer symposium on nuclear physics, beginning an annual tradition that lasts for 12 years and attracts the world’s top physicists, including Enrico Fermi and J. Robert Oppenheimer.
    • President Ruthven
      Alumnus and longtime faculty member Alexander G. Ruthven is named U-M’s seventh president just weeks before the stock market crash.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Regent Cram
      Alumna Esther M. Cram becomes the first woman on the Board of Regents when she is appointed by Gov. Fred W. Green.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Segregated Housing
      African-Americans successfully quash University plans to develop separate student housing for black women.
  • 1930

    • Big Screen
      Michigan Stadium becomes the first stadium in the country to install electronic scoreboards.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Hopwood Gift
      Funded by alumnus Avery Hopwood, the Hopwood Awards debut with cash prizes for aspiring writers, poets and playwrights.
  • 1931

    • TCAUP Roots
      The College of Architecture is established and evolves into today’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
    • Woman Botanist
      E.K. Janaki Ammal, a Barbour Scholar, becomes the first Indian woman in the country to earn a doctorate in botany with her D.Sc. from Michigan.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1932

    • Two-Dollar House
      In the throes of the Depression, students lease a house on Ann Street and call it the "Michigan Socialist House," the first in a system of cooperative houses that continues today. It also was called the "Two-Dollar House" for its cost of room and board.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1933

    • Islamic Art
      The University becomes the first in the country to establish a chair in the history of Islamic art, appointing the Turkish scholar Mehmet Aga-Oglu.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Plane Genius
      Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, designer of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, stealth Lockheed Blackbird and other innovative aircraft, earns a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering, followed a year later with a master’s.
  • 1934

    • Civil Engineering First
      George Maceo Jones earns a Ph.D. in civil engineering, a first for an African American man in the United States. He also holds U-M bachelor's and master's degrees.
    • Golf Champs
      The men's golf team wins its first national championship, and repeats the achievement a year later.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Legal Splendor
      The Law Quad is dedicated after more than 10 years of building a complex that mirrors the architecture of Oxford and Cambridge universities.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Public Health First
      Paul Bertau Cornely becomes the first African American in the country to earn a Ph.D. in public health. His doctorate is in addition to bachelor's and medical degrees from U-M.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Racial Protest
      Students protest the treatment of African-American football player Willis Ward, benched by Coach Harry Kipke when opponent Georgia Tech refuses to compete against a black player.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1935: Thousands flee Dust Bowl
  • 1935

    • American Studies
      U-M establishes the nation’s first program in American studies.
    • Future President
      Gerald R. Ford graduates; in 1974, he becomes the 38th president of the United States.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Humanitarian
      Raoul Wallenberg earns a U-M degree in architecture; a decade later, he is credited with saving nearly 100,000 people from the Holocaust.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1936

    • Burton Tower
      The bells of Burton Memorial Tower ring for the first time.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • IT Giant
      Claude Shannon, the father of information theory, graduates.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Rackham Building
      Construction begins on the Rackham Building, which opens two years later and houses the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1938

    • A Career Begins
      Playwright Arthur Miller graduates with a bachelor’s degree in literature.
      Image: Michigan Photography
    • Campus Icon
      The Rackham Building opens it doors as a home for the graduate school.
    • River Rat
      Botany Professor Elzada Clover becomes the first woman to successfully navigate the Colorado River.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Winged Victory
      Michigan’s famed winged helmet makes its debut in a football game against Michigan State.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1939

    • "60 Minutes" Star
      Mike Wallace, who will achieve success as an award-winning television journalist with "60 Minutes," earns his bachelor's degree.
    • Roosevelt Talk
      First lady Eleanor Roosevelt draws a record crowd of 6,000 people for a speech in Hill Auditorium.
  • 1940

    • Big Cats
      Two sleek marble pumas, painted black, are installed at the entrance of the Exhibit Museum.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Deep Waters
      The Carl Milles fountain sculpture, Sunday Morning in Deep Waters, opens on Ingalls Mall near Burton Memorial Tower.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Heisman Winner
      Halfback Tom Harmon wins the first Heisman Trophy in school history.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Peace Protesters
      Some 3,000 people attend a campus “peace rally,” with President Alexander Ruthven later expelling 13 students for behavior “disruptive of good order in the University.”
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Sex Hormone
      University researchers replicate the production of equilenin, marking the first time any human sex hormone has been synthetically produced.
  • 1941: America enters World War II
  • 1941

    • Auden Teaches
      The poet W.H. Auden joins the faculty and teaches English for one year.
    • Public Health
      The School of Public Health opens.
  • 1942

    • Inter-Racial Association
      Students establish the Inter-Racial Association “to work for a purer democracy by combating prejudice and discrimination against race, religion or national origin in the United States and particularly in the Ann Arbor and University area.” It continues until 1951.
    • JAG
      The U.S. Army establishes its Judge Advocate General’s School at the Law School for the duration of World War II.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • War Medics
      U-M doctors and nurses comprise the military’s 298th General Hospital and treat troops in Europe throughout World War II.
  • 1943

    • Army Intelligence
      Drawing on the University’s strength in foreign languages, the U.S. Army establishes its Japanese Language School on campus to train combat intelligence officers.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Future Laureate
      Jerome Karle, co-recipient of the 1985 Nobel Prize in chemistry, earns a doctorate in chemistry.
      Image: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
    • Women's Daily
      With male students serving in World War II, women hold every top editing position at the Michigan Daily.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1944

    • Fighting Germany
      University engineers develop the “Tuba,” a 125-ton land-based machine for jamming radar equipment on enemy German aircraft.
    • Soldier Health
      Epidemiologist Thomas Francis Jr. develops a flu vaccine for the U.S. Army.
  • 1945: World War II ends
  • 1946

    • Lecture First
      Neuroanatomist Elizabeth Crosby becomes the first female faculty member to deliver the prestigious Henry Russel Lecture.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1947

    • Boycotting Barbers
      The Inter-Racial Association, a student organization, launches “Operation Haircut,” a boycott of the dozens of Ann Arbor barbershops and beauty parlors that refuse to serve black customers.
      Image: Michiganensian
    • Campus Booms
      Enrollment climbs to 20,000, with military veterans making up more than half the student body.
    • Oscar Winner
      Alumnus Valentine Davies wins the Academy Award for Best Story for “Miracle on 34th Street,” based on a novella he wrote.
    • Rebuilding Germany
      Political Science Professor James K. Pollock receives the nation’s highest civilian award, the Medal of Merit, for helping to build a governmental and political structure in Germany following World War II.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1948

    • ‘Alice’ Graduates
      Ann B. Davis graduates with a theater degree, and goes on to become a pop culture icon as the maid Alice in TV’s “The Brady Bunch.”
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Class First
      Orval “Val” Johnson, a varsity letterman in track, becomes the first African-American student elected president of the LSA senior class.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Ice Champs
      The hockey team wins the national championship – the first of nine titles.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Michigan Radio
      WUOM goes on the air from temporary studios in Angell Hall.
  • 1949

    • ISR Begins
      U-M establishes the Institute for Social Research, today the world’s premier academic social research and survey organization.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Math Whiz
      Marjorie Lee Browne becomes one of the first African-American women in the country to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics when she receives her U-M degree.
  • 1950

    • Go North
      The Board of Regents purchases 300 acres on the north side of the Huron River for a second U-M campus.
    • Haven Blaze
      A massive fire destroys 87-year-old Haven Hall, including the records and papers of several academic departments.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Nuclear Research
      The University launches it first fundraising campaign, the $8-million Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project for developing peaceful uses of atomic energy.
    • Screen Time
      The University uses the new medium of television to begin offering “telecourses” of three 20-minute segments to registered students.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1951

    • President Hatcher
      After an academic and administrative career at Ohio State University, Harlan H. Hatcher becomes U-M’s eighth president.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Saarinen Plan
      The University hires acclaimed architect and designer Eero Saarinen to design a master plan for the new North Campus.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Social Workers
      The School of Social Work is established, 30 years after the program in social work began.
  • 1952

    • Panty Raid
      Michigan students make national headlines for staging the first-ever panty raid on a college campus.
    • WCBN Airs
      Radio station WCBN begins airing across residence halls on the AM band.
  • 1953

    • Cooley Lab
      The Cooley Memorial Laboratory is the first building to open on North Campus.
    • Diamond Kings
      The baseball team wins the College World Series and its first national title.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Pulitzer Ahead
      Roger Wilkins earns his bachelor’s degree (and a law degree three years later) and goes on to receive the Pulitzer Prize for his Washington Post editorials about the Watergate scandal.
    • Watch Your Step
      The bronze block “M” is placed on the Diag as a gift from that year’s graduates.
  • 1954

    • Bubble Chamber
      Professor Donald Glaser develops the world’s first liquid bubble chamber to study high-energy subatomic particles. He later wins a Nobel Prize in physics for his invention.
      Image: Science Museum / Science and Society Picture Library
    • Genetics Pioneer
      Dr. James V. Neel establishes the first genetics department in a U.S. medical school. A leader in the development of genetic medicine, Neel helps uncover the genetic cause of sickle cell anemia.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Jazz Giant
      Pianist Dave Brubeck records much of his breakthrough album, “Jazz Goes to College,” before a U-M audience at the Masonic Temple.
    • Nobel Laureate
      With two U-M degrees in zoology, Thomas H. Weller wins the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for demonstrating how to grow poliomyelitis viruses in a test tube.
    • Red Scare
      The University suspends faculty members Mark Nickerson, H. Chandler Davis and Clement Markert after they refuse to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
    • Sesame Street's "Bob"
      Bob McGrath graduates as president of the music class, and later becomes one of the original cast members of PBS' "Sesame Street."
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Whistler Collection
      The Museum of Art acquires a collection of paintings by James McNeill Whistler, including the noted Sea and Rain, from a bequest by Margaret Watson Parker.
      Image: U-M Museum of Art
  • 1955

    • Female Dean
      Rhoda Reddig becomes the first woman dean when she is named to lead the School of Nursing.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Polio Breakthrough
      Professor Thomas Francis announces on April 12 that the new polio vaccine is “safe, effective and potent.” The announcement follows extensive field studies conducted by U-M researchers.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • The Voice
      James Earl Jones graduates with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, and goes on to be an award-winning stage and film actor.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1956

    • First Black Professor
      Alvin D. Loving becomes the University's first African American faculty member when he is hired as associate professor of education at UM-Flint. In 1970, he joins the School of Education on the Ann Arbor campus.
      Image: UM-Flint
    • Heart First
      U-M doctors perform open-heart surgery at University Hospital for the first time.
    • Logging On
      Professor Arthur Burks, who helped create the first general-purpose electronic computer during WWII, establishes one of the nation’s first academic programs in computing at U-M.
    • Preventing Disease
      Public health faculty launch the landmark Tecumseh Community Health Study, transforming the understanding of chronic disease and how to prevent it.
    • UM-Flint
      Classes begin at UM-Flint, first known as the Flint College of the University of Michigan.
      Image: Genesee Historical Collections Center
  • 1957

    • Atomic Study
      The Ford Nuclear Reactor opens, becoming the largest nuclear reactor on a college campus. It is dedicated to investigating peaceful uses of nuclear power.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Future Laureate
      Marshall W. Nirenberg earns his Michigan doctorate; 11 years later, he shares the 1968 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for uncovering the role of messenger RNA in the protein synthesis process.
      Image: National Institutes of Health
    • Matthaei Gift
      Regent Frederick Matthaei and his wife Mildred donate 200 acres east of Ann Arbor for what will become Matthaei Botanical Gardens.
    • Net Gain
      The men’s tennis team wins its first NCAA championship.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1959

    • Extraordinary Alum
      Judith Guest, who will go on to write the bestseller “Ordinary People,” graduates.
      Image: Michiganensian
    • Flint First
      J. Parker Laurence becomes the first African-American to graduate from UM-Flint.
      Image: University of Michigan-Flint
    • Future Laureate
      Samuel C.C. Ting earns bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics. He will go on to earn a U-M doctorate and share the Nobel Prize in physics.
    • Podium First
      Acclaimed contralto Marian Anderson becomes the first woman to deliver the commencement address.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • UM-Dearborn
      The University of Michigan-Dearborn opens as the Dearborn Center of the University of Michigan.
  • 1960

    • Full Throttle
      Janet Guthrie, who will become the first woman to race in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500, earns an engineering degree.
    • JFK Stop
      Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy announces his idea of the Peace Corps in an Oct. 14 speech on the Michigan Union steps.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1961

    • Black Conservationist
      Theodore R. Speigner becomes the first African American in the nation to earn a doctorate in conservation.
    • JFK Adviser
      President John F. Kennedy appoints Economics Professor Gardner Ackley to the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1962

    • MLK Visits
      The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at Hill Auditorium and the Michigan Union during a daylong visit.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • MQR Debuts
      The Michigan Quarterly Review, known for its eclectic collections of essays, poetry, book reviews and more, makes its debut.
    • SDS Manifesto
      Students for a Democratic Society issue the Port Huron Statement, a document of left-leaning political principles based on “participatory democracy.”
  • 1963: John F. Kennedy assassinated
  • 1963

    • Gymnasts Deliver
      The men's gymnastics team wins its first NCAA championship.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1964

    • ‘SNL’ Pioneer
      Gilda Radner, an original member of “Saturday Night Live,” enrolls, works as a broadcaster at WCBN, and performs in campus and civic theater productions.
      Image: Ann Arbor News/Ann Arbor District Library
    • First Transplant
      The first organ transplant at U-M takes place when Dr. Jeremiah Turcotte transplants a kidney that 15-year-old Joan Ottenbacher donates to her identical twin, Janice.
    • Great Society
      President Lyndon B. Johnson delivers his Great Society speech during commencement at Michigan Stadium.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Holograms Debut
      Professors Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnieks demonstrate the first three-dimensional holograms in the United States.
  • 1965

    • Rocket Man
      Alumnus Edward H. White becomes the first American to walk in space. Commanding the Gemini 4 flight is fellow aerospace alum James McDivitt.
      Image: NASA
    • Understanding Vietnam
      More than 3,200 students and faculty attend the first Vietnam Teach-In.
  • 1966

    • Internet Roots
      U-M establishes the Merit Network with Michigan State University and Wayne State University. The network plays a key role in the development of the Internet, enabling scale-up and enhancing the interactivity of computer networks.
    • Music Pulitzer
      Music Professor Leslie Bassett wins the Pulitzer Prize for Music for composing Variations for Orchestra.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1967

    • ‘Cool’ Line
      Alumnus Strother Martin utters the iconic line, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate” in the film “Cool Hand Luke.” As a student, he was a member of the diving team.
    • Ford Home
      Fair Lane, the Henry Ford residence on the UM-Dearborn campus, becomes a National Historic Landmark.
      Image: University of Michigan-Dearborn
    • RC Begins
      The Residential College opens its doors for the first time.
    • Regental First
      Otis M. Smith, a former justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, becomes the first African-American member of the Board of Regents.
      Otis M. Smith
    • Turning 150
      The University celebrates its sesquicentennial.
      Bentley Historical Library
  • 1968

    • Crisler Opens
      The University Events Building opens and is renamed Crisler Arena two years later.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Executive First
      Barbara Newell became U-M’s first female executive officer as interim vice president for student affairs.
    • For A Spin
      The Cube is installed on Regents’ Plaza, a gift from the Class of 1965 and the work of alumnus sculptor Bernard “Tony” Rosenthal.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • MLK Protest
      African-American students take over the Administration Building on the day of Martin Luther King’s funeral to demand greater representation and more financial support.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • President Fleming
      Robben W. Fleming steps down as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin to become U-M’s ninth president.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1969: Man walks on moon
  • 1969

    • Bo
      Michigan hires Glenn “Bo” Schembechler, head coach at Miami University in Ohio, to lead its football program.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Econ Adviser
      Professor Paul McCracken is named chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Richard Nixon.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Future Laureate
      H. David Politzer receives his physics degree and goes on to be co-winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in physics for discovering the nuclear force that binds quarks and holds together the nucleus of the atom.
    • LSA Takeover
      More than 100 students are arrested after taking over the LSA Building to protest the Board of Regents’ rejection of a student-run bookstore.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Super Tramps
      The Michigan trampoline team wins the NCAA national championship, and repeats the following year.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Tenure First
      Niara Sudarkasa becomes the University's first tenured African American professor.
      Niara Sudarkasa
  • 1970

    • BAM Strike
      Protesting the lack of African-American students, the Black Action Movement leads a two-week boycott of classes in March.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Curfew Ends
      The Board of Regents abolishes the curfew requirements for women living in residence halls.
    • For the Planet
      Graduate students organize the Teach-In on the Environment, the prototype of today’s Earth Day.
  • 1971

    • Blue Moon
      Apollo 15 carries an all-UM crew of astronauts when it flies to the moon with Col. David R. Scott, Maj. Alfred Worden and Col. James Irwin.
      Image: NASA
    • Curtain Rises
      The Power Center for the Performing Arts opens with a production of “The Grass Harp” by Truman Capote.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Gay Students
      The University becomes the first in the country to support gay and lesbian students by opening the Human Sexuality Office.
    • Hash Bash
      The first Hash Bash takes place on the Diag on April Fool’s Day.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • John & Yoko
      John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Stevie Wonder headline a “Free John Now” rally at Crisler Arena in support of jailed activist John Sinclair.
      Image: Michiganensian
    • Women's Commission
      President Robben Fleming establishes the first Commission for Women, prompted in part by a threat from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to withhold federal funds for sex discrimination against women as a class.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1972

    • Band Expands
      Women are first admitted into the Michigan Marching Band.
    • Black Physicist
      With her U-M doctorate, Willie Hobbs Moore becomes the nation’s first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in physics.
    • Diving's Best
      Alumna Micki King earns the gold medal in diving at the Summer Olympics.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • VP First
      Henry T. Johnson becomes the first African-American executive officer when he is named vice president for student services.
  • 1973

    • Black President
      Students elect Lee Gill to be U-M’s first African American student body president.
  • 1974: Richard Nixon resigns
  • 1974

    • Art Education
      The School of Art and Design opens.
    • Cheer Team
      Women integrate the cheerleading team and begin appearing on the sidelines at Michigan Stadium.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Gay Councilwoman
      U-M student Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first openly gay elected official in the United States when she wins a seat on Ann Arbor City Council.
      Kathy Kozachenko
    • Graduate Students Organize
      Graduate teaching assistants successfully earn collective bargaining rights as the Graduate Employees Organization, the first in the state of Michigan.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • President Ford
      Alumnus Gerald R. Ford is sworn in as the 38th president of the United States, following the resignation of Richard Nixon. He is the first Michigan graduate to become president.
      Image: Gerald R. Ford Library
    • Serving the Disabled
      The Office of Disabled Student Services opens following passage of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Today the office is known as Services for Students with Disabilities.
    • Soccer Wolves
      The first varsity sport – soccer – is offered at UM-Dearborn.
    • Women Athletes
      Varsity sports for women – tennis, basketball, swimming and diving, synchronized swimming, volleyball, and field hockey – are offered for the first time.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1975

    • American Indian Dentist
      Jessica Rickert, a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, becomes the country's first American Indian woman dentist when she earns her D.D.S.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • BAM II
      Students take over the Fleming Administration Building for more than two days as the Black Action Movement II protests the University's lack of progress in enrolling more African-American students, as well as the expulsion of a black nursing student, and the administration's rejection of a black candidate to lead the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
      Image: The Michigan Daily
    • Brain Surgeon
      Dr. Alexa Canady, the first African-American woman to become a neurosurgeon, receives her medical degree, four years after earning a U-M bachelor’s degree.
      Image: Aequanimitas
    • Poet Laureate
      Alumnus and faculty member Robert Hayden is the first African American to be named consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress (now called the poet laureate).
  • 1976

    • Dancing Madonna
      Undergraduate Madonna Ciccone enrolls on a dance scholarship before leaving in 1978 for a career as Madonna.
    • Mrs. Ford
      First lady Betty Ford delivers the commencement address at the winter ceremony in Crisler Arena.
      Image: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
    • Science Medalists
      President Gerald R. Ford presents National Medals of Science to physicists George E. Uhlenbeck and Samuel A. Goudsmit for the major discovery of the electron spin as a source of a new quantum number.
    • Uncommon Fanfare
      Aaron Copland conducts his Fanfare for the Common Man at Hill Auditorium as part of the American bicentennial.
      Image: University Musical Society
  • 1977

    • Daedalus Arrives
      Charles Ginnever’s sculpture Daedalus is installed on the front lawn of the U-M Museum of Art.
      Image: U-M Museum of Art
    • Professor Ford
      Former President Gerald R. Ford teaches 10 class sessions as an adjunct professor of political science.
      Image: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
    • Rally Cry
      Student Joseph Carl, a tuba player in the pep band, writes “Let’s Go Blue.”
  • 1978

    • Tenure Granted
      Albert H. Wheeler, an alumnus and professor of microbiology and immunology, becomes the first African-American man to be granted tenure at Michigan.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1979

    • National Medalist
      President Jimmy Carter presents the National Medal of Science to faculty members Elizabeth Crosby, a neuroanatomist, and Emmett Leith, an electrical engineer.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • President Fleming
      After serving as U-M president for 10 years, Robben W. Fleming is named president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • 1980

    • Meee-chigan
      Legendary radio broadcaster and alumnus Bob Ufer, who called 364 consecutive U-M football games, dies nine days after his final broadcast.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • President Shapiro
      Longtime U-M economist Harold T. Shapiro becomes the University’s 10th president.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Regent Varner
      Alumna Nellie Varner becomes the first African-American woman elected to the Board of Regents.
  • 1981

    • Bursley Tragedy
      Students Edward Siwik and Doug McGreaham are shot and killed in Bursley Hall by a fellow resident, Leo E. Kelly Jr., on Good Friday. Kelly is later sentenced to life in prison.
    • Christmas Eve Fire
      A Christmas Eve fire set by an arsonist destroys the Economics Building, built in 1856 as the first chemical laboratory on a college campus.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • CRISP Lady
      The University introduces CRISP – computerized registration and individual selection program – for selecting classes.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Ford Library
      Alumnus and President Gerald R. Ford joins in the dedication of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library on North Campus.
    • Pioneering Deans
      Harold Johnson (School of Social Work) and Rhetaugh Dumas (School of Nursing) become the University’s first African American deans.
  • 1982

    • Geography Axed
      U-M eliminates the Department of Geography due to budget cuts.
  • 1983

    • Bipartisan Visits
      Former President Jimmy Carter makes the first of three visits to campus, each time joining former President Gerald R. Ford for bipartisan appearances.
      Image: Gerald R. Ford Library
    • Campaign Begins
      The Campaign for Michigan launches, with a fundraising goal of $180 million.
    • National Medalist
      President Ronald Reagan presents the National Medal of Science to Donald L. Katz, professor of chemical engineering.
  • 1984

    • Photoshop Creator
      Engineering alumnus Thomas Knoll leaves Michigan and soon after partners with his brother John to create Adobe Photoshop, which first hit store shelves in 1990.
  • 1985

    • Baseball’s Best
      Barry Larkin concludes his three-year U-M baseball career and goes on to be a Hall of Fame shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds.
  • 1986

    • National Medalist
      President Ronald Reagan presents the National Medal of Science to physicist H. Richard Crane for the first measurement of the magnetic moment and spin of free electrons and positrons.
    • Nobel Laureate
      With a doctorate in biochemistry (1949), alumnus Stanley Cohen wins the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his discovery of epidermal growth factor.
      Image: Vanderbilt University
  • 1987

    • BAM III
      The Rev. Jesse Jackson visits campus to help mediate the third iteration of the Black Action Movement protest, which begins following issues related to admissions and faculty, racist remarks of a student radio disc jockey, harassment of black students in residence halls, and police handling of fight at South Quad.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Poet Laureate
      Expelled Russian poet and faculty member Joseph Brodsky receives the Nobel Prize in literature and later becomes poet laureate of the United States.
  • 1988

    • Chancellor Wilson
      Blenda Wilson is the first African-American woman to become an executive officer of the University when she is named chancellor of UM-Dearborn.
      Image: University of Michigan-Dearborn
    • Divesting Stocks
      The University completely divests from companies doing business in South Africa because of apartheid policies.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Michigan Mandate
      The University launches the Michigan Mandate, a strategic plan to increase the number of underrepresented faculty, students and staff.
    • President Duderstadt
      Capping a career as dean of the College of Engineering and provost, James J. Duderstadt is named the University’s 11th president.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Pulitzer Winner
      Faculty member and composer William Bolcom wins the Pulitzer Prize for music for 12 New Etudes for Piano.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1989

    • Career Wins
      Bo Schembechler concludes his U-M coaching career with 194 football victories – the most in Michigan football history.
    • Shock the World
      Led by Glen Rice and Rumeal Robinson, the men’s basketball team defeats Seton Hall in overtime to win the NCAA championship.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1990

    • Medical Reporter
      CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, graduates with a bachelor’s degree; he earns a medical degree in 1993.
      Image: Aequanimitas
    • No Guns
      Students protest plans for campus police officers to become deputized and carry guns.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Sun Kings
      The student-led Solar Car Team and its car Sunrunner win the first American Solar Challenge.
      Image: U-M Solar Car Team
    • Surgeon General
      Dr. Antonia Novello, a 1974 medical school graduate, becomes the first woman to be named U.S. Surgeon General.
    • Wallenberg Medal
      Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel receives the University’s inaugural Raoul Wallenberg Medal.
      Image: Michigan Photography
  • 1991

    • Heisman Winner
      Wide receiver Desmond Howard becomes the second player in U-M history to win the Heisman Trophy.
      Image: Michigan Photography
    • iPod Icon
      Tony Fadell, the inventor of the iPod, earns a degree in engineering.
    • President Bush
      President George H.W. Bush speaks at commencement at Michigan Stadium, where he and first lady Barbara Bush also receive honorary degrees.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • UM-Weather
      Graduate student Jeff Masters and Professor Perry Samson write a computer program displaying real-time worldwide weather information -- and “um-weather” becomes one of the most popular services on the nascent Internet. Later known as Weather Underground, it would be purchased by The Weather Channel in 2012.
      Image: Weather Underground
  • 1992

    • Candidate Clinton
      Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton campaigns for president on the steps of the Rackham Building.
    • Future Yankee
      Derek Jeter enrolls on an athletic scholarship and attends for one semester before leaving for a career as the New York Yankees’ legendary shortstop.
    • Physician Slain
      Dr. John L. Kemink, a nationally recognized ear specialist, is shot and killed by a mentally ill patient in a U-M otolaryngology clinic.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 1993

    • Clinton Address
      First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers the spring commencement address at Michigan Stadium.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Discrimination Ban
      The Board of Regents bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.
    • Genome Chief
      Faculty member Francis S. Collins, co-discoverer of the genes for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis and Huntington’s disease, is named to lead the NIH Human Genome Project.
      Image: National Science & Technology Medals Foundation
  • 1994: Nelson Mandela leads South Africa
  • 1994

    • Never Forget
      U-M becomes the first public university with a Holocaust memorial when a Leonard Baskin sculpture is installed east of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
      Image: Michigan Photography
    • President Clinton
      President Bill Clinton visits UM-Flint to rally voters to support Democratic candidates for Congress.
  • 1995

    • Google Genius
      Google co-founder Larry Page earns a degree in computer science.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Wave Field
      Sculptor Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, debuts the wave field on North Campus.
  • 1996

    • Carillon Tolls
      Lurie Tower opens on North Campus, giving U-M the distinction of two campus carillons.
      Image: U-M Photo Services
    • Nobel Laureate
      Alumnus Richard E. Smalley, a 1965 chemistry graduate, receives the Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of buckminsterfullerene, better known as “bucky-balls.”
    • President Bollinger
      Lee C. Bollinger, the provost of Dartmouth College who spent seven years as dean of the U-M Law School, becomes the University’s 12th president.
      Image: Michigan Photography
  • 1997

    • National Champs
      Coach Lloyd Carr leads the football team to the national championship and the 11th title in team history, while Charles Woodson wins the Heisman Trophy.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Record Giving
      The Campaign for Michigan concludes with a record-setting $1.4 billion in gifts.
  • 1998: Google debuts
  • 1999

    • Arab-American VP
      Fawwaz T. Ulaby, an electrical engineer, becomes the first Arab-American executive officer when is appointed vice president for research.
      Michigan Photography
    • Super QB
      Quarterback Tom Brady graduates with a degree from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and goes on to an MVP career in the NFL.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Unabomber Papers
      The University obtains the papers of “Unabomber” and convicted serial killer Ted Kaczynski, who earned a U-M doctorate in mathematics in 1967.
  • 2000

    • Math Medalist
      Mathematician and UM alumna Karen K. Uhlenbeck receives the National Medal of Science from President Bill Clinton.
      Image: University of California, Berkeley
    • Newbery Winner
      UM-Flint alumnus and Hopwood Award winner Christopher Paul Curtis, author of “Bud, Not Buddy,” becomes the first African-American man to win the Newbery Medal for excellence in children’s literature.
      Image: University of Michigan-Flint
  • 2001: Terrorists attack U.S.
  • 2001

    • Medieval Works
      U-M researchers finish compiling the Middle English Dictionary after 75 years of documenting the English language from 1100-1500. It is hailed as “the greatest achievement in medieval scholarship in America.”
    • Treating Depression
      U-M establishes the nation’s first comprehensive Depression Center.
    • Woman Up Front
      Engineering student Karen England becomes the first woman elected drum major of the Michigan Marching Band.
      Image: U-M Photo Services
    • Women’s First
      The field hockey team wins the NCAA championship and the first national title for a U-M women’s team.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
  • 2002

    • President Coleman
      Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Iowa, becomes U-M’s 13th and first woman president.
      Image: Michigan Photography
  • 2003

    • Affirmative Ruling
      The U.S. Supreme Court affirms the University’s right to use affirmative action in its admissions decisions, a landmark decision ending a six-year court battle.
    • Bladeless Scalpel
      A multi-disciplinary team of engineering researchers, physicists and ophthalmologists use ultra-fast laser technologies to develop a “bladeless scalpel,” which would become popular in LASIK surgery and other applications.
    • Flu Vaccine
      The FDA approves FluMist, a novel method for delivering flu vaccines via nasal spray developed by Epidemiology Professor Hunein “John” Maassab.
      Image: School of Public Health
  • 2004

    • Arb Art
      Artist and graduate student Susan Skarsgard installs Imagine/Align, a half-mile row of 20,000 daffodil bulbs in Nichols Arboretum.
  • 2005: Hurricane Katrina strikes
  • 2005

    • National Champs
      The U-M women’s softball team wins its first-ever national championship at the College World Series.
      Image: U-M Athletics
    • Neurosurgery Milestone
      Dr. Karin Muraszko becomes the first woman in the nation to chair an academic neurosurgery program.
      Image: U-M Health System
  • 2006

    • Science Medalist
      Mathematician Hyman Bass receives the National Medal of Science from President George W. Bush.
      Image: National Science and Technology Medals Foundation
    • Turing Winner
      Frances E. Allen, a 1957 mathematics alumna, becomes the first woman to win the Turing Award, the so-called “Nobel Prize of computing.”
  • 2007

    • Clinton Visit
      Former President Bill Clinton delivers the commencement address at Michigan Stadium.
    • Flint Dorm
      UM-Flint opens its first student residence hall.
    • Physics Pioneer
      Alumna Fay Ajzenberg-Selove, who graduated in 1946 with a bachelor of science degree in engineering physics, receives the National Medal of Science.
      Image: National Science Foundation
    • Saying Farewell
      Air Force One flies low and slow over campus and Michigan Stadium as it bears the body of President Gerald R. Ford to Grand Rapids for burial.
    • Survival Flight
      Six members of the U-M Health System die on a life-saving flight to deliver organs for transplant.
      Image: University of Michigan Health System
  • 2008

    • $3.2 Billion
      The Michigan Difference fundraising campaign concludes with a record $3.2 billion in gifts.
    • Bishop Tutu
      Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu receives the Raoul Wallenberg Medal and speaks at Hill Auditorium.
      Image: Michigan Photography
    • Class First
      The senior class becomes the first to graduate on the Diag, when springtime construction at Michigan Stadium requires a temporary new location.
    • Kinesiology's Growth
      The School of Kinesiology is founded.
  • 2009: U.S. elects Black president
  • 2009

    • Pfizer Purchase
      The University purchases the abandoned 177-acre R&D headquarters of Pfizer and renames it the North Campus Research Complex.
  • 2010

    • Gay Leader
      LSA junior Chris Armstrong becomes the first openly gay president of student government.
    • Miss USA
      Rima Fakih is the first Arab-American woman to be named Miss USA, two years after earning an economics degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
      Image: Miss Universe Organization
    • Mr. President
      President Barack Obama becomes the fourth sitting president to visit U-M when he speaks at graduation at Michigan Stadium.
      Image: U-M News Service
  • 2011

    • New Hall
      North Quad opens as a combined residence hall and classroom building.
  • 2012

    • Professor McMullen
      Kyla McMullen becomes the first African-American woman at U-M to graduate with a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering. She also holds a U-M master's degree.
      Image: College of Engineering
    • UM-D Ph.D.
      The University of Michigan-Dearborn awards its first doctorate – a Ph.D. in automotive systems engineering to Xuan Zhou.
      Image: University of Michigan-Dearborn
  • 2013

    • #BBUM
      The Black Student Union launches #BBUM - Being Black at Michigan - a Twitter campaign that generates national attention about diversity in higher education.
    • Nobel Laureate
      Economist and alumnus Robert J. Shiller shares the Nobel Prize in economics, 46 years after earning his U-M bachelor’s degree.
    • Sayles Papers
      U-M acquires the archives of iconoclastic filmmaker John Sayles.
      Image: U-M Special Collections Library
    • Swim Champs
      The men’s swimming and diving team wins the NCAA championship for the 19th time since 1927.
      Image: Michigan Athletics
    • Victors Campaign
      The University launches the Victors for Michigan campaign to raise $4 billion in private support.
  • 2014

    • Flint Doctorate
      The University of Michigan-Flint offers its first doctorate, a Ph.D. in physical therapy.
    • National Medalist
      President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Science to longtime U-M political scientist Robert Axelrod.
      Image: National Science and Technology Medals Foundation
    • NCAA’s Best
      The men’s gymnastics team wins the NCAA championship for the second straight year and third time since 2010.
      Image: U-M Athletics
    • Olympic Gold
      Students Meryl Davis and Charlie White win gold medals in ice dancing at the Winter Olympics.
    • President Schlissel
      Mark S. Schlissel, provost of Brown University, becomes the 14th president of the University.
      Image: Michigan Photography
  • 2015: Gay marriage legalized
  • 2015

    • Kevorkian Papers
      The Bentley Historical Library acquires the papers of alumnus Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a controversial proponent of physician-assisted suicide.
      Image: Bentley Historical Library
    • Medal of Arts
      George Shirley, emeritus professor at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the University Musical Society receive the National Medal of Arts from President Obama.
      Image: National Endowment for the Arts
    • UM-Flint Grows
      The UM-Flint campus footprint grows by 25 percent with the purchase of the First Merit Bank building and the donation of the Riverfront Residence Hall and Banquet Center.
  • 2016

    • First Asian Vice President
      S. Jack Hu, a professor of manufacturing and native of China, becomes the University's first Asian executive officer when he is appointed vice president for research.
  • 2017

    • Celebrating #UMich200
      The University launches its bicentennial with academic programming and celebratory events across campus.
  • 2018

    • Nuclear Engineer
      Ciara Sivels is the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering at U-M.
    • Philanthropy First
      U-M becomes the first public university to raise $5 billion with the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign.
  • 2019

    • Chicago Mayor
      Alumna Lori Lightfoot, who graduated with honors, becomes the first African American woman elected mayor of Chicago.
      Lori Lightfoot
    • Cold Snap
      Dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills prompted the University to cancel all classes and events for two days in January - the first such closing in 40 years.
    • Math Genius
      Alumna Karen Uhlenbeck becomes the first woman to win the Abel Prize, one of the most prestigious honors in mathematics.
      Karen Uhlenbeck
  • 2020

    • Coronavirus Crisis
      The University suspends in-person classes, moves to virtual teaching, and cancels spring and winter commencements because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • 2021

    • Mary Sue Coleman Hall
      The building housing the Life Sciences Institute becomes Mary Sue Coleman Hall in honor of U-M's 13th president. It is the first academic building named after a woman.
      Dedication of Mary Sue Coleman Hall on the University of Michigan central campus on Sep 9, 2021.
    • NCAA Champs
      The women's gymnastics team wins its first NCAA championship in program history.
    • Re-opening Campus
      In-person classes and events return in the fall, with students, faculty and staff required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
    • Virtual Commencement
      The Class of 2021 had the choice of either watching a graduation video — with remarks by students, U-M leaders, and other speakers — at home or attending in person at Michigan Stadium.
  • 2022

    • Coleman Returns
      Mary Sue Coleman, who served from 2002-14 as the University's 13th president, is reappointed to lead the institution following the removal of Mark Schlissel.
      Image: Michigan Photography
    • Hutch
      Coach Carol Hutchins becomes the winningest softball coach in NCAA history with her 1,675th career win.
      Image: Michigan Athletics
    • President Ono
      Santa J. Ono, a recognized leader in higher education in the United States and Canada, is named the 15th president of the University and begins his tenure on Oct. 14.
    • President Removed
      The Board of Regents dismisses President Mark S. Schlissel for failing to act in a manner “consistent with promoting the dignity and reputation of the University.”
  • 2023

    • Humanities Medal
      Earl Lewis, professor of history, Afroamerican and African studies, and public policy, is the first U-M faculty member to receive the National Humanities Medal, which was awarded by President Joe Biden.
    • National Medalist
      President Joe Biden presents the National Medal of Science to neuroscientist Huda Akil, who has explored the brain’s secrets for more than 50 years.
      Image: National Science and Technology Medals Foundation
    • Simply Grand
      Michigan Football becomes the first program in the country with 1,000 victories after defeating Maryland, 31-24.
  • 2024

    • National Champions
      The Michigan football team won its first national title since 1997 when it defeated the University of Washington, 34-13.