The History of University of Michigan

Oil painting of the old U of M campus

The University of Michigan by Jasper Cropsey, 1855

In 2017 the University of Michigan (founded in Detroit in 1817 as the Catholepistemiad or University of Michigania) celebrated its bicentennial. This website was developed to document the intellectual and academic history of the University as a way to celebrate the accomplishments of the past. The University of Michigan moved to Ann Arbor in 1837, and admitted its first students in 1841. It is possible to celebrate two more bicentennials.

“Freedom is The Idea of Michigan that leads to greatness!
It is the seed upon which Michigan was founded.”

University History Projects

UM 1817-2017: A web portal to a vast array of historical information about the University of Michigan, including summaries of the histories of its academic programs, visual material concerning its campus and activities, links to hundreds of historical documents, and databases providing both biographical information and memoirs of its faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

The Faculty History Project: A database providing information about the faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837, organized by their schools and colleges.

The Faculty Memoir Project: A database containing both the memoirs of senior faculty members concerning the intellectual life and impact of the University.

The Staff Memories and Memoirs Project: (Under Development) A database containing both the memoirs and memories of many of the Univesity's staff members.

The University of Michigan Campus Project: A visual tour of the history of the University of Michigan Campus as it has evolved over the past two centuries.

The Ann Arbor Historic Maps Project: Interactive maps of the City of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan over the past two centuries.

1992 Conversation with the Presidents: A celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the University of Michigan.

2017 Conversation with the Presidents: A Bicentennial celebration of the University of Michigan.