University of Michigan

University of Michigan
University of Michigan
Motto Artes, Scientia, Veritas
Motto in English Arts, Knowledge, Truth
Established 1817
Type Flagship
Sea grant
Space grant
Endowment US $7.8 billion[1]
President Mary Sue Coleman
Academic staff 6,238
Students 41,674[2]
Undergraduates 26,208[2]
Postgraduates 15,466[2]
Location Ann Arbor, MI, USA
42°16′59″N 83°44′06″W / 42.2830°N 83.7350°W / 42.2830; -83.7350Coordinates: 42°16′59″N 83°44′06″W / 42.2830°N 83.7350°W / 42.2830; -83.7350
Campus 3,177 acres (12.86 km2)
Total: 20,965 acres (84.84 km2), including arboretum
Sports Wolverines

Maize & Blue[3]

Nickname Wolverines
University of Michigan wordmark.svg

The University of Michigan (commonly referred to as Michigan, U-M, UMich, or U of M) is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States.[4] It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan. U-M also has satellite campuses in Flint and Dearborn.

The university was founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, about 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state.[5] What would become the university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus.[6] Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university has physically expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 31 million gross square feet (712 acres or 2.38 km²),[7] and transformed its academic program from a strictly classical curriculum to one that includes science and research.[8] U-M was the site of much student activism in the 1960s.[9] When presidential candidate John F. Kennedy visited the University on October 14, 1960, he gave an impromptu speech on the steps of the Michigan Union that led to a University of Michigan student movement which contributed to the establishment of the Peace Corps.[10] The University was also a focal point in the controversy over affirmative action within higher education admissions.[11]

The University of Michigan is ranked among the top 5 public universities nationally[12] and is considered to be one of America's Public Ivy universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States.[13][14] In the 2011 U.S. News & World Report "National University Rankings", the university was ranked 29th among national universities in the United States,[15] In 1995, the National Research Council ranked Michigan third nationally for the quality of its graduate programs. Michigan has one of the world's largest living alumni groups at 460,000 in 2007.[16] U-M owns the University of Michigan Health System[17] and has one of the largest research expenditures of any American university, passing the $1.24 billion mark during the 2010-2011 academic year.[18]

Its athletic teams, called the Wolverines, are members of the Big Ten Conference and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The athletic program is known for its success in ice hockey and football.[19] The football team plays in Michigan Stadium, also known as "The Big House," the largest football stadium in the world.



Painting of a rolling green landscape with trees with a row of white buildings in the background
University of Michigan (1855) by Jasper Francis Cropsey

The University of Michigan was established in Detroit in 1817 as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, by the governor and judges of Michigan Territory. The Rev. John Monteith was one of the university's founders and its first President. Ann Arbor had set aside 40 acres (16 ha) that it hoped would become the site for a new state capitol, but it offered this land to the university when Lansing was chosen as the state capital. What would become the university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 thanks to governor Stevens T. Mason. The original 40 acres (160,000 m2) became part of the current Central Campus.[6] The first classes in Ann Arbor were held in 1841, with six freshmen and a sophomore, taught by two professors. Eleven students graduated in the first commencement in 1845.[5] By 1866 enrollment increased to 1,205 students, many of whom were Civil War veterans. Women were first admitted in 1870.[20] James Burrill Angell, who served as the university's president from 1871 to 1909, aggressively expanded U-M's curriculum to include professional studies in dentistry, architecture, engineering, government, and medicine. U-M also became the first American university to use the seminar method of study.[21]

From 1900 to 1920 the university constructed many new facilities, including buildings for the dental and pharmacy programs, chemistry, natural sciences, Hill Auditorium, large hospital and library complexes, and two residence halls. In 1920 the university reorganized the College of Engineering and formed an advisory committee of 100 industrialists to guide academic research initiatives. The university became a favored choice for bright Jewish students from New York in the 1920s and 1930s when the Ivy League schools had quotas restricting the number of Jews to be admitted.[22] As a result, U-M gained the nickname "Harvard of the West," which became commonly parodied in reverse after John F. Kennedy referred to himself as "a graduate of the Michigan of the East, Harvard University" in his speech proposing the formation of the Peace Corps while on the front steps of the Michigan Union.[23] During World War II, U-M's research grew to include U.S. Navy projects such as proximity fuzes, PT boats, and radar jamming.

By 1950, enrollment had reached 21,000, of whom more than one third: 7,700 were veterans supported by the G.I. Bill. As the Cold War and the Space Race took hold, U-M became a major recipient of government grants for strategic research and helped to develop peacetime uses for nuclear energy. Much of that work, as well as research into alternative energy sources, is pursued via the Memorial Phoenix Project.[24]

Red brick plaza, surrounded by trees with green leaves, with two white tents and an American flag flying from a flagpole in the center
The Central Campus Diag, viewed from the Graduate Library, looking North

Lyndon B. Johnson's speech outlining his Great Society program was given during U-M's 1964 spring commencement ceremony.[5] During the 1960s, there were numerous protests against the Vietnam War and related to other issues at the U-M. On March 24, 1965, a group of U-M faculty members and 3,000 students held the nation's first ever faculty-led "teach-in" to protest against American policy in Southeast Asia.[25][26] In response to a series of sit-ins in 1966 by Voice–the campus political party of Students for a Democratic Society, U-M's administration banned sit-ins. In response, 1,500 students had a one-hour sit-in the LSA Building, which housed administrative offices.

Former U-M student and noted architect Alden B. Dow designed the current Fleming Administration Building, which was completed in 1968. The building's plans were drawn in the early 1960s, before student activism prompted a concern for safety, but the Fleming Building's narrow windows, all located above the first floor, and fortress-like exterior led to a campus rumor that it was designed to be riot-proof. Dow denied those rumors, claiming the small windows were designed to be energy efficient.[27]

During the 1970s, severe budget constraints challenged the university's physical development; but, in the 1980s, the university received increased grants for research in the social and physical sciences. The university's involvement in the anti-missile Strategic Defense Initiative and investments in South Africa caused controversy on campus.[28][29] During the 1980s and 1990s, the university devoted substantial resources to renovating its massive hospital complex and improving the academic facilities on the North Campus. In its 2011 annual financial report, the university announced that it had dedicated $497 million per year in each of the prior 10 years to renovate buildings and infrastructure around the campus. The university also emphasized the development of computer and information technology throughout the campus.

In the early 2000s, U-M also faced declining state funding due to state budget shortfalls. At the same time, the university attempted to maintain its high academic standing while keeping tuition costs affordable. There were disputes between U-M's administration and labor unions, notably with the Lecturers' Employees Organization (LEO) and the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), the union representing graduate student employees. These conflicts led to a series of one-day walkouts by the unions and their supporters.[30] The university is currently engaged in a $2.5 billion construction campaign.[31]

Law Library
Law Library Interior

In 2003, two lawsuits involving U-M's affirmative action admissions policy reached the U.S. Supreme Court (Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger). President George W. Bush took the unusual step of publicly opposing the policy before the court issued a ruling.[32] The court found that race may be considered as a factor in university admissions in all public universities and private universities that accept federal funding. But, it ruled that a point system was unconstitutional. In the first case, the court upheld the Law School admissions policy, while in the second it ruled against the university's undergraduate admissions policy.

The debate continues because in November 2006, Michigan voters passed Proposal 2, banning most affirmative action in university admissions. Under that law race, gender, and national origin can no longer be considered in admissions.[33] U-M and other organizations were granted a stay from implementation of the passed proposal soon after that election, and this has allowed time for proponents of affirmative action to decide legal and constitutional options in response to the election results. The university has stated it plans to continue to challenge the ruling; in the meantime, the admissions office states that it will attempt to achieve a diverse student body by looking at other factors, such as whether the student attended a disadvantaged school, and the level of education of the student's parents.[33]


Black outline of city with three blues blocks in the center, one cyan block in the center, and one cyan block at the bottom inside the black outline
Locations of the three main U-M campuses in Ann Arbor.

The Ann Arbor campus is divided into four main areas: the North, Central, Medical, and South Campuses. The physical infrastructure includes more than 500 major buildings, with a combined area of more than 31 million square feet (712 acres or 2.38 km²).[7] The Central and South Campus areas are contiguous, while the North Campus area is separated from them, primarily by the Huron River. There is also leased space in buildings scattered throughout the city, many occupied by organizations affiliated with the University of Michigan Health System. An East Medical Campus has recently been developed on Plymouth Road, with several university-owned buildings for outpatient care, diagnostics, and outpatient surgery.[34]

In addition to the U-M Golf Course on South Campus, the university operates a second golf course called "Radrick Farms Golf Course" on Geddes Road. The golf course is only open to faculty, staff, and alumni.[35] Another off-campus facility is the Inglis House, which the university has owned since the 1950s. The Inglis House is a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) mansion used to hold various social events, including meetings of the board of regents, and to host visiting dignitaries.[36] The university also operates a large office building called Wolverine Tower in southern Ann Arbor near Briarwood Mall. Another major facility is the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, which is located on the eastern outskirts of Ann Arbor.

All four campus areas are connected by bus services, the majority of which connect the North and Central Campuses. There is a shuttle service connecting the University Hospital, which lies between North and Central Campuses, with other medical facilities throughout northeastern Ann Arbor.[37]

Central Campus

Red brick building with white stone facade. A tall white-colored stone clock tower with a green roof is in the background
Hill Auditorium and Burton Tower

Central Campus was the original location of U-M when it moved to Ann Arbor in 1837. It originally had a school and dormitory building (where Mason Hall now stands) and several houses for professors on forty acres of land bounded by North University Avenue, South University Avenue, East University Avenue, and State Street. The President's House, located on South University Avenue, is the oldest building on campus as well as the only surviving building from the original forty acre campus.[6] Because Ann Arbor and Central Campus developed simultaneously, there is no distinct boundary between the city and university, and some areas contain a mixture of private and university buildings.

Central Campus is the location of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, and is immediately adjacent to the medical campus. Most of the graduate and professional schools, including the Ross School of Business, the Law School and the School of Dentistry, are on Central Campus. Two prominent libraries, the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and the Shapiro Undergraduate Library which are connected by a skywalk, are also on Central Campus, as well as museums housing collections in archaeology, anthropology, paleontology, zoology, dentistry, and art. Ten of the buildings on Central Campus were designed by Detroit-based architect Albert Kahn between 1904 and 1936. The most notable of the Kahn-designed buildings are the Burton Memorial Tower and nearby Hill Auditorium.[38]

North Campus

North Campus is the most contiguous campus, built independently from the city on a large plot of farm land—approximately 800 acres (3.2 km2)—that the university bought in 1952.[39] It is newer than Central Campus, and thus has more modern architecture, whereas most Central Campus buildings are classical or gothic in style. The architect Eero Saarinen, based in Birmingham, Michigan, created one of the early master plans for North Campus and designed several of its buildings in the 1950s, including the Earl V. Moore School of Music Building.[40] North and Central Campuses each have unique bell towers that reflect the predominant architectural styles of their surroundings. Each of the bell towers houses a grand carillon. The North Campus tower is called Lurie Tower. The University of Michigan's largest residence hall, Bursley Hall, is located on North Campus.

North Campus houses the College of Engineering, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, the School of Art & Design, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and an annex of the School of Information. The campus is served by the Duderstadt Center, which houses the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library. The Duderstadt Center also contains multiple computer labs, video editing studios, electronic music studios, an audio studio, a video studio, multimedia workspaces, and a 3D virtual reality room. Other libraries located on North Campus include the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and the Bentley Historical Library.

South Campus

South Campus is the site for the athletic programs, including major sports facilities such as Michigan Stadium, Crisler Arena, and Yost Ice Arena. South Campus is also the site of the Buhr library storage facility (the collections of which are undergoing digitization by Google), the Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and the Student Theatre Arts Complex, which provides shop and rehearsal space for student theatre groups. The university's departments of public safety and transportation services offices are located on South Campus.

U-M's golf course is located south of Michigan Stadium and Crisler Arena. It was designed in the late 1920s by Alister MacKenzie, the designer of Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia (home of The Masters Tournament).[41] The course opened to the public in the spring of 1931. The University of Michigan Golf Course was included in a listing of top holes designed by what Sports Illustrated calls “golf’s greatest course architect.” The U-M Golf Course’s signature No. 6 hole—a 310-yard (280 m) par 4, which plays from an elevated tee to a two-tiered, kidney-shaped green protected by four bunkers—is the second hole on the Alister MacKenzie Dream 18 as selected by a five-person panel that includes three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo and golf course architect Tom Doak. The listing of “the best holes ever designed by Augusta National architect Alister MacKenzie” is featured in SI’s Golf Plus special edition previewing the Masters on April 4, 2006.[42]

Organization and administration

College/school founding[43]
College/school Year founded

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts 1841
School of Medicine 1850
College of Engineering 1854
School of Law 1859
School of Dentistry 1875
School of Pharmacy 1876
School of Music, Theatre & Dance 1880
School of Nursing 1893
A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning 1906
Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies 1912
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy 1914
School of Education 1921
Stephen M. Ross School of Business 1924
School of Natural Resources & Environment 1927
School of Public Health 1941
School of Social Work 1951
School of Information 1969
School of Art & Design 1974
School of Kinesiology 1984

The University of Michigan consists of a flagship campus in Ann Arbor, with two regional campuses in Dearborn and Flint. The Board of Regents, which governs the university and was established by the Organic Act of March 18, 1837, consists of eight members elected at large in biennial state elections[44] for overlapping eight year terms.[45][46] Between the establishment of the University of Michigan in 1837 and 1850, the Board of Regents ran the university directly; although they were, by law, supposed to appoint a Chancellor to administer the university, they never did. Instead a rotating roster of professors carried out the day-to-day administration duties.[47]

The President of the University of Michigan is the principal executive officer of the university. The office was created by the Michigan Constitution of 1850, which also specified that the president was to be appointed by the Regents of the University of Michigan and preside at their meetings, but without a vote.[48] Today, the president's office is at the Ann Arbor campus, and the president has the privilege of living in the President's House, the university's oldest building located on Central Campus in Ann Arbor.[49] Mary Sue Coleman is the 13th president of the university and has served since August 2002.[50] Her compensation for 2008–2009 totaled $783,850.[51]

There are thirteen undergraduate schools and colleges.[52] By enrollment, the three largest undergraduate units are the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the College of Engineering, and the Ross School of Business.[53] At the graduate level, the Rackham Graduate School serves as the central administrative unit of graduate education at the university.[54] There are 18 graduate schools and colleges, the largest of which are the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the College of Engineering, the Law School, and the Ross School of Business. Professional degrees are conferred by the Schools of Public Health, Dentistry, Law, Medicine, and Pharmacy.[53] The Medical School is partnered with the University of Michigan Health System, which comprises the university's three hospitals, dozens of outpatient clinics, and many centers for medical care, research, and education.


U-M's financial endowment (the "University Endowment Fund") was valued at $7.57 billion in NACUBO's 2008 ranking.[55] It was the seventh largest endowment in the U.S. and the third-largest among U.S public universities at that time, as well as the fastest growing endowment in the nation over the last 21 years.[56] The endowment is primarily used according to the donors' wishes, which include the support of teaching and research. In mid-2000, U-M embarked on a massive fund-raising campaign called "The Michigan Difference," which aimed to raise $2.5 billion, with $800 million designated for the permanent endowment.[57] Slated to run through December 2008, the university announced that the campaign had reached its target 19 months early in May 2007.[58] Ultimately, the campaign raised $3.2 billion over 8 years. Over the course of the capital campaign, 191 additional professorships were endowed, bringing the university total to 471 as of 2009.[59] Like nearly all colleges and universities, U-M suffered significant realized and unrealized losses in its endowment during the second half of 2008. In February 2009, a university spokesperson estimated losses of between 20 and 30 percent.[60] As of June 2010, the endowment was estimated to be $6.7 billion.[61]

Student government

White-colored stone building with columns in the center of the facade
Central Campus: Angell Hall, one of the major buildings of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Housed in the Michigan Union, the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) is the central student government of the University. With representatives from each of the University's colleges and schools, the MSA represents students and manages student funds on the campus. In recent years MSA has organized airBus, a transportation service between campus and the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, and has led the university's efforts to register its student population to vote, with its Voice Your Vote Commission (VYV) registering 10,000 students in 2004. VYV also works to improve access to non-partisan voting-related information and increase student voter turnout.[62] MSA has also been successful at reviving Homecoming activities, including a carnival and parade, for students after a roughly eleven-year absence in October 2007.[63]

There are student governance bodies in each college and school. The two largest colleges at the University of Michigan are the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LS&A) and the College of Engineering. Undergraduate students in the LS&A are represented by the LS&A Student Government (LSA SG). The University of Michigan Engineering Council (UMEC) manages undergraduate student government affairs for the College of Engineering. Graduate students enrolled in the Rackham Graduate School are represented by the Rackham Student Government (RSG). In addition, the students that live in the residence halls are represented by the University of Michigan Residence Halls Association.

A longstanding goal of the student government is to create a student-designated seat on the Board of Regents, the university's governing body.[64] Such a designation would achieve parity with other Big Ten schools that have student regents. In 2000, students Nick Waun and Scott Trudeau ran for the board on the state-wide ballot as third-party nominees. Waun ran for a second time in 2002, along with Matt Petering and Susan Fawcett.[65] Although none of these campaigns has been successful, a poll conducted by the State of Michigan in 1998 concluded that a majority of Michigan voters would approve of such a position if the measure were put before them.[64] A change to the board's makeup would require amending the Michigan Constitution.[66]


University rankings (overall)
ARWU[67] 18
Forbes[68] 93
U.S. News & World Report[69] 28
Washington Monthly[70] 10
ARWU[71] 22
QS[72] 14
Times[73] 18

The University of Michigan is a large, four-year, residential research university accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[4][74][75] The four year, full-time undergraduate program comprises the majority of enrollments and emphasizes instruction in the arts, sciences, and professions and there is a high level of coexistence between graduate and undergraduate programs. The university has "very high" research activity and the "comprehensive" graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields as well as professional degrees in medicine, law, and dentistry.[4] U-M has been included on Richard Moll's list of Public Ivies.[76] With over 200 undergraduate majors, 100 doctoral and 90 master's programs,[77] U-M conferred 6,473 undergraduate degrees, 4,322 graduate degrees, and 734 first professional degrees in 2008-2009.[78]

National honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Tau Beta Pi have chapters at U-M.[79] Degrees "with Highest Distinction" are recommended to students who rank in the top 3% of their class, "with High Distinction" to the next 7%, and "with Distinction" to the next 15%. Students earning a minimum overall GPA of 3.4 who have demonstrated high academic achievement and capacity for independent work may be recommended for a degree "with Highest Honors," "with High Honors," or "with Honors."[79] Those students who earn all A's for two or more consecutive terms in a calendar year are recognized as James B. Angell Scholars and are invited to attend the annual Honors Convocation, an event which recognizes undergraduate students with distinguished academic achievements.[79]

Out-of-state undergraduate students pay between US $36,001.38 and $43,063.38 annually for tuition alone while in-state undergraduate students paid between US $11,837.38 and $16,363.38 annually.[80] U-M provides financial aid in the form of need-based loans, grants, scholarships, work study, and non-need based scholarships, with 77% of undergraduates in 2007 receiving financial aid.[81] 8% were eligible for Pell Grants.[82] For undergraduates in 2008, 46% graduated with about $25,586 of debt in 2008.[82] The university is attempting to increase financial aid availability to students by devoting over $1.53 billion in endowment funds to support financial aid.[83][84][85]

Student body

In fall 2010, the university had an enrollment of 41,924 students: 27,027 undergraduate students, 12,188 academic degree-seeking graduate students, and 2,709 first professional students.[2][53] in 600 academic programs. Of all students, 36,650 (87.4 percent) are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and 5,274 (12.6 percent) are international students. Each year, some 30,000 people apply for admission to the university; almost 42 percent are admitted and some 5,400 new students enroll.[86] Students come from all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries.[87] Some 97 percent of the university's incoming class of 2009 earned a high school GPA of 3.0 and higher. The average GPA of accepted applicants in the 2011 class was 3.8. The middle 50 percent of admitted applicants reported an SAT score of about 1990-2200 (Critical Reading 630-730, Math 670-770, Writing 650-750) and an ACT score of 29-33, with AP credit granted to over 3000 freshmen students.[88] Full-time students make up about 96 percent of the student body. Among full-time students, the university has a first-time student retention rate of 96 percent.[89]

Demographics of student body[90][91]
Undergraduate Graduate Michigan U.S. Census
African American 5.8% 4.2% 14.1% 12.4%
Asian American 12.1% 8.8% 2.3% 4.3%
European American 65.0% 48.5% 79.6% 74.1%
Hispanic American 4.1% 3.6% 3.9% 14.7%
Native American <1% <1% 0.5% 0.8%
International student 5.7% 30.9% N/A N/A

In 2010, undergraduates were enrolled in 12 schools: About 62 percent in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; 21 percent in the College of Engineering; 4 percent in the Ross School of Business; 3 percent in the School of Kinesiology; 3 percent in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance; and 2 percent in the School of Nursing. Small numbers of undergraduates were enrolled in the colleges or schools of Art & Design, Architecture & Urban Planning, Dentistry, Education, Pharmacy, and Public Policy.[53] Among undergraduates, 70 percent graduate with a bachelor's degree within four years, 86 percent graduate within five years and 88 percent graduating within six years.[89]

Of the university's 12,188 non-professional graduate students, 5,367 are seeking academic doctorates and 6,821 are seeking master's degrees. The largest number of master's degree students are enrolled in the Ross School of Business (1,812 students seeking MBA or Master of Accounting degrees) and the College of Engineering (1,456 students seeking M.S. or M.Eng. degrees). The largest number of doctoral students are enrolled in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (2,076) and College of Engineering (1,496). While the majority of U-M's graduate degree-granting schools and colleges have both undergraduate and graduate students, a few schools only issue graduate degrees. Presently, the School of Information, School of Natural Resources and Environment, School of Public Health, and School of Social Work only have graduate students.[53]

In fall 2010, 2,709 Michigan students were enrolled in U-M's professional schools: the School of Dentistry (439 students), Law School (1,182 students), Medical School (802 students), and College of Pharmacy (439 students).[53]


The university is one of the founding members (1900) of the Association of American Universities. With over 6,200 faculty members, 73 of whom are members of the National Academy and 451 of whom hold an endowed chair in their discipline,[92] the university manages one of the largest annual collegiate research budgets of any university in the United States, totaling about $1 billion in 2009.[93] The Medical School spent the most at over US $445 million, while the College of Engineering was second at more than $160 million.[93] U-M also has a technology transfer office, which is the university conduit between laboratory research and corporate commercialization interests. In 2009, the university consummated a deal to purchase a facility formerly owned by Pfizer. The acquisition includes over 170 acres (0.69 km2) of property, and 30 major buildings comprising roughly 1,600,000 feet (490,000 m2) of wet laboratory space, and 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) of administrative space. As of the purchase date, the university's intentions for the space were not announced, but the expectation is that the new space will allow the university to ramp up its research and ultimately employ in excess of 2,000 people.[94]

Building with curving bluish-green glass facade behind a road intersection
A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building at the U-M Medical School

The university is also a major contributor to the medical field with the EKG,[95] gastroscope,[96] and the announcement of Jonas Salk's polio vaccine. The university's 13,000-acre (53 km2) biological station in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan is one of only 47 Biosphere Reserves in the United States.[97]

In the mid-1960s U-M researchers worked with IBM to develop a new virtual memory architectural model[98] that became part of IBM's Model 360/67 mainframe computer (the 360/67 was initially dubbed the 360/65M where the "M" stood for Michigan).[99] The Michigan Terminal System (MTS), an early time-sharing computer operating system developed at U-M, was the first system outside of IBM to use the 360/67's virtual memory features.[100] In the late 1960s U-M, together with Michigan State University and Wayne State University, founded the Merit Network, one of the first university computer networks.[101] The Merit Network was then and remains today administratively hosted by U-M. Another major contribution took place in 1987 when a proposal submitted by the Merit Network together with its partners IBM, MCI, and the State of Michigan won a national competition to upgrade and expand the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) backbone from 56,000 to 1.5 million, and later to 45 million bits per second.[102] NSFNET was the precursor to today's Internet.

In 2006, U-M joined with Michigan State University and Wayne State University to create the University Research Corridor. This effort was undertaken to highlight the capabilities of the state's three leading research institutions and drive the transformation of Michigan's economy.[103] The 3 universities are electronically connected via Michigan LambdaRail (MiLR, pronounced 'MY-lar').[104] Initially MiLR enabled researchers at MSU, U-M and WSU to transfer data at 10 billion bits per second or 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the Internet connections normally used in homes and businesses today. The speed and reliability of the new network will enable doctors to perform virtual surgery at remote locations. The network provides the capacity for physicists to share exceptionally large data sets with their colleagues around the world. The new network also will serve as a test-bed for experimental research on networking itself. MiLR, which employs advanced optical electronics, will use more than 750 miles (1,210 km) of fiber-optic cabling, most of it already in place, to connect the universities to each other and to national and international networking hubs in Chicago. Those hubs include the National LambdaRail, StarLight, and an emerging set of network connections that play key roles in the national cyberinfrastructure supporting advanced science and research.

U-M is home to the National Election Studies and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. The Correlates of War project, also located at U-M, is an accumulation of scientific knowledge about war. The university is also home to major research centers in optics, reconfigurable manufacturing systems, wireless integrated microsystems, and social sciences. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the Life Sciences Institute are located at the university. The Institute for Social Research (ISR), the nation's longest-standing laboratory for interdisciplinary research in the social sciences,[105] is home to the Survey Research Center, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Center for Political Studies, Population Studies Center, and Inter-Consortium for Political and Social Research. Undergraduate students are able to participate in various research projects through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) as well as the UROP/Creative-Programs.[106]

The U-M library system comprises nineteen individual libraries with twenty-four separate collections—roughly 9.6 million volumes, growing at the rate of 177,000 volumes a year.[107] U-M was the original home of the JSTOR database, which contains about 750,000 digitized pages from the entire pre-1990 backfile of ten journals of history and economics, and has initiated a book digitization program in collaboration with Google.[108] The University of Michigan Press is also a part of the U-M library system.

Student life

Residential life

Red brick facade with white stone fronts and angled roof
North Quad Residence Hall

The University of Michigan's campus housing system can accommodate up to 10,900 people, or nearly 30 percent of the total student population at the university.[109] The residence halls are organized into three distinct groups: Central Campus, Hill Area (between Central Campus and the University of Michigan Medical Center) and North Campus. Family housing is located on North Campus and mainly serves graduate students. The largest residence hall has a capacity of 1,240 students,[110] while the smallest accommodates 25 residents.[111] A majority of upper-division and graduate students live in off-campus apartments, houses, and cooperatives, with the largest concentrations in the Central and South Campus areas.

The residential system has a number of "living-learning communities" where academic activities and residential life are combined. These communities focus on areas such as research through the Michigan Research Community, medical sciences, community service and the German language.[112] The Michigan Research Community and the Women in Science and Engineering Residence Program are housed in Mosher-Jordan Hall. The Residential College (RC), a living-learning community that is a division of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, also has its principal instructional space in East Quad. The Lloyd Hall Scholars Program(LHSP) and the Health Sciences Scholars Program (HSSP) is located in Alice Lloyd Hall. In fall 2010, North Quad - the first new residential hall to be built on campus since 1967 - opened. This residence complex is composed of two additional living-learning communities: the Global Scholars Program[113] and the Max Kade German Program.[114] It is "technology-rich," and houses communication-related programs, including the School of Information, the Department of Communication Studies, and the Department of Screen Arts and Cultures.[115][116] North Quad is also home to services such as the Language Resource Center and the Sweetland Center for Writing.[117]

Groups and activities

Red brick building with large windows, tall central tower, and green ivy growing on the facade
Michigan Union on Central Campus

The University lists 1,279 student organizations.[118] With a history of student activism, some of the most visible groups include those dedicated to causes such as civil rights and labor rights. One group is Students for a Democratic Society, which recently reformed with a new chapter on campus as of February 2007. Though the student body generally leans toward left-wing politics,[119] there are also conservative groups, such as Young Americans for Freedom, and non-partisan groups, such as the Roosevelt Institution.

There are also several engineering projects teams, including the University of Michigan Solar Car Team, which placed first in the North American Solar Challenge six times and third in the World Solar Challenge four times.[120] Michigan Interactive Investments, the TAMID Israel Investment Group, and the Michigan Economics Society[121] are also affiliated with the university.

The university also showcases many community service organizations and charitable projects, including Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan,[122] The Detroit Partnership, Relay For Life, U-M Stars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, InnoWorks at the University of Michigan, SERVE, Letters to Success, PROVIDES, Circle K, Habitat for Humanity,[123] and Ann Arbor Reaching Out. Intramural sports are popular, and there are recreation facilities for each of the three campuses.[124]

Fraternities and sororities play a role in the university's social life; approximately 18 percent of undergraduates are involved in Greek life. Membership numbers for the 2009-2010 school year reached the highest in the last two decades. Four different Greek councils - the Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Panhellenic Association - represent most Greek organizations. Each council has a different recruitment process.[125]

The Michigan Union and Michigan League are student activity centers located on Central Campus; Pierpont Commons is on North Campus. The Michigan Union houses a majority of student groups, including the student government. The William Monroe Trotter House, located east of Central Campus, is a multicultural student center operated by the university's Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs.[126] The University Activities Center (UAC) is a student-run programming organization and is composed of 14 committees.[127] Each group involves students in the planning and execution of a variety of events both on and off campus.

The Michigan Marching Band, composed of more than 350 students from almost all of U-M's schools,[128] is the university's marching band. Over 100 years old,[129] the band performs at every home football game and travels to at least one away game a year. The student-run and led University of Michigan Pops Orchestra is another musical ensemble that attracts students from all academic backgrounds. It performs regularly in the Michigan Theater. The University of Michigan Men's Glee Club, founded in 1859 and the second oldest such group in the country, is a men's chorus with over 100 members.[130] Its eight member subset a cappella group, the University of Michigan Friars, which was founded in 1955, is the oldest currently running a cappella group on campus.[131]

The student newspaper is The Michigan Daily, founded in 1890 and editorially and financially independent of the university. The Daily is published five days a week during academic year, and weekly from May to August. Other student publications at the university include the conservative The Michigan Review and the progressive Michigan Independent. The humor publications The Michigan Every Three Weekly and the Gargoyle are also published by Michigan students.

WCBN-FM (88.3 FM) is the student-run college radio station which plays in freeform format. WOLV-TV is the student-run television station that is primarily shown on the university's cable television system.

Several academic journals are published at the university. The Ross School of Business publishes the Michigan Journal of Business. The Law School publishes the well-regarded Michigan Law Review as well as the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Michigan Journal of Race & Law, Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, Michigan Journal of International Law, and Michigan Journal of Gender & Law. Several undergraduate journals are also published at the university, including the Michigan Journal of Political Science, Michigan Journal of History, University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Journal, and "Michigan Journal of International Affairs."


Crowded stadium with yellow-colored "Michigan" written on a green field
A football game at Michigan Stadium

The University of Michigan's sports teams are called the Wolverines. They participate in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) and in the Big Ten Conference in all sports except men's ice hockey, which is a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, and woman's water polo, which is a member of the Collegiate Water Polo Association. In 10 of the past 14 years concluding in 2009, U-M has finished in the top five of the NACDA Director's Cup, a ranking compiled by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to tabulate the success of universities in competitive sports. U-M has finished in the top ten of the Directors' Cup standings in 14 of the award's sixteen seasons and has placed in the top six in 9 of the last 10 seasons.[132]

The Michigan football program ranks first in NCAA history in both total wins (884 through the end of the 2010 season) and winning percentage (.735).[19] The team won the first Rose Bowl game in 1902. U-M had 40 consecutive winning seasons from 1968 to 2007, including consecutive bowl game appearances from 1975 to 2007.[133] The Wolverines have won a record 42 Big Ten championships. The program has eleven national championships, most recently in 1997,[134] and has produced three Heisman Trophy winners: Tom Harmon, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson.[135]

Michigan Stadium is the largest college football stadium in the nation and one of the largest football-only stadiums in the world, with an official capacity of more than 109,901[136] (the extra seat is said to be "reserved" for Fritz Crisler[137]) though attendance—frequently over 111,000 spectators—regularly exceeds the official capacity.[138] The NCAA's record-breaking attendance has become commonplace at Michigan Stadium, especially since the arrival of head coach Bo Schembechler. U-M has fierce rivalries with many teams, including Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, the last of which has been referred to by ESPN as the greatest rivalry in American sports.[139] U-M has all-time winning records against Michigan State University, University of Notre Dame, and Ohio State University.[140]

The men's ice hockey team, which plays at Yost Ice Arena, has won nine national championships,[141] while the men's basketball team, which plays at Crisler Arena, has appeared in four Final Fours and won the national championship in 1989. However, the program became involved in a scandal involving payments from a booster during the 1990s. This led to the program being placed on probation for a four-year period. The program also voluntarily vacated victories from its 1992–1993 and 1995–1999 seasons in which the payments took place, as well as its 1992 and 1993 Final Four appearances.[142]

Through the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, 178 U-M students and coaches had participated in the Olympics, winning medals in every Summer Olympics except 1896, and winning gold medals in all but four Olympiads. U-M students have won a total of 133 Olympic medals: 65 gold, 30 silver, and 38 bronze. In 2012 the university will field a varsity mens lacrosse team, and a women's team in 2013.[143]

School songs

The University of Michigan's fight song, "The Victors," was written by student Louis Elbel in 1898 following the last-minute football victory over the University of Chicago that won a league championship. The song was declared by John Philip Sousa as "the greatest college fight song ever written."[144] The song refers to the university as being "the Champions of the West." At the time, U-M was part of the Western Conference, which would later become the Big Ten Conference. Michigan was considered to be on the Western Frontier when it was founded in the old Northwest Territory. Although mainly used at sporting events, the fight song can be heard at other events. President Gerald Ford had it played by the United States Marine Band as his entrance anthem during his term as president from 1974 to 1977, in preference over the more traditional "Hail to the Chief"[145] and the Michigan Marching Band performed a slow-tempo variation on the fight song at his funeral.[146] The fight song is also sung during graduation commencement ceremonies. The university's alma mater song is "The Yellow and Blue." A common rally cry is "Let's Go Blue!," written by former students Joseph Carl, a sousaphonist, and Albert Ahronheim, a drum major.[147]

Notable people and alumni

In addition to the late U.S. president Gerald Ford, the university has produced twenty-six Rhodes Scholars,[148] numerous Marshall Scholars, seven Nobel Prize winners, 116 Olympic medalists,[143] 17 MacArthur Foundation award winners, 18 Pulitzer Prize winners including Ann Marie Lapinski who was named Pulitzer board co-chair in 2011, and Fields Medal winner Stephen Smale. More than 250 Michigan graduates have served as legislators as either United States Senator (40 graduates) or as a Congressional representative (over 200 graduates). In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the university routinely has led in the number of Fulbright Scholars including a nation leading 40 scholars in the 2010/2011 academic year.[149] U-M's contributions to aeronautics include aircraft designer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson of Lockheed Skunk Works fame,[150] Lockheed president Willis Hawkins, and several astronauts including the all-U-M crew of Gemini 4[151] and the all-Michigan crew of Apollo 15. U-M counts among its matriculants nineteen billionaires and prominent company founders and co-founders including Google co-founder Larry Page[152] and Dr. J. Robert Beyster who founded Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in 1969.[153]

Notable writers who attended U-M include playwright Arthur Miller,[154] essayists Susan Orlean and Sven Birkerts, journalists and editors Mike Wallace,[154] Jonathan Chait of The New Republic, and Sandra Steingraber, food critics Ruth Reichl and Gael Greene, novelists Brett Ellen Block, Elizabeth Kostova, Marge Piercy, Brad Meltzer, Betty Smith,[154] and Charles Major, screenwriter Judith Guest,[154] Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Theodore Roethke, National Book Award winner Keith Waldrop and composer/author/puppeteer Forman Brown.

In Hollywood, famous alumni include actors James Earl Jones, David Alan Grier[154] actresses Lucy Liu and Selma Blair,[154] and filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan.[154] Many Broadway and musical theatre actors, including Gavin Creel, Chelsea Krombach, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, and his sister Celia Keenan-Bolger attended U-M for musical theatre. The creators of A Very Potter Musical, known as Team StarKid, also graduated from the University of Michigan. A member of Team Starkid, actor and singer Darren Criss, is a series regular on the television series Glee.

Musical graduates include operatic soprano Jessye Norman, singer Joe Dassin, jazz guitarist Randy Napoleon, and Mannheim Steamroller founder Chip Davis.[154] Classical composer Frank Ticheli and Broadway composer Andrew Lippa attended. Pop Superstar Madonna and rock legend Iggy Pop attended but did not graduate.

Other U-M graduates include Claude Shannon who made major contributions to the mathematics of information theory,[155] current Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Donald Kohn, Temel Kotil who is the president and CEO of Turkish Airlines, current Dean of Harvard Law School Martha Minow, former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt,[154] US Representative Justin Amash, who represents Michigan's Third Congressional District,[156] assisted-suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Weather Underground radical activist Bill Ayers,[157] activist Tom Hayden,[154] architect Charles Moore,[158] Ryan Drummond who was the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog in the series of video games from 1999–2004, the Swedish Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg,[159] and Benjamin D. Pritchard, the Civil War general who captured Jefferson Davis.[160] Neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta attended both college and medical school at U-M.[161] Conservative pundit Ann Coulter attended law school at U-M, as did Clarence Darrow at a time when many lawyers did not receive any formal education. Vaughn R. Walker, who is a Federal District Judge in California and overturned the controversial California Proposition 8 in 2010 and ruled it unconstitutional, received his undergraduate degree from U-M in 1966.

Some more notorious graduates of the University are 1910 convicted murderer (though perhaps wrongfully so)[162] Dr. Harvey Crippen, late 19th-century American serial killer Herman Mudgett, and "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski.

U-M athletes have starred in Major League Baseball, the National Football League and National Basketball Association as well as other professional sports. Notable among recent players is Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.[154] Three players have won college football's Heisman Trophy, awarded to the player considered the best in the nation: Tom Harmon (1940), Desmond Howard (1991) and Charles Woodson (1997).[135] Professional golfer John Schroeder and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps also attended the University of Michigan, with the latter studying Sports Marketing and Management. Phelps also swam competitively for Club Wolverine, a swimming club associated with the university.[163] NHL players Marty Turco, Chris Summers, Brendan Morrison, Jack Johnson, and Michael Cammalleri all played for U-M's ice hockey team. Barry Larkin of the Cincinnati Reds played baseball at the university. Derek Jeter received a baseball scholarship to U-M, but was signed and called up by the New York Yankees before he could play there. In 2011, Meryl Davis and Charlie White win the first gold medal awarded to the United States in ice dancing in the world championship.

The university claims the only alumni association with a chapter on the moon, established in 1971 when the crew of Apollo 15 placed a charter plaque for a new U-M Alumni Association on the lunar surface.[154] The plaque reads: “The Alumni Association of The University of Michigan. Charter Number One. This is to certify that The University of Michigan Club of The Moon is a duly constituted unit of the Alumni Association and entitled to all the rights and privileges under the Association’s Constitution.” According to the Apollo 15 astronauts, several small U-M flags were brought on the mission. The presence of a U-M flag on the moon is a long-held campus myth.[164]


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