University of Michigan

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This article is about the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. You may be looking for University of Michigan-Dearborn or University of Michigan-Flint

Template:Univ taxobox The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (U-M) is a public coeducational university in Michigan, United States. The flagship and oldest campus of the University of Michigan is consistently ranked as one of the top academic institutions in the world,[1] and is considered as a "Public Ivy." Spread over three major campuses in Ann Arbor, the university's professional graduate schools in the fields of information science, law, medicine, business, engineering, and education are consistently ranked by US News & World Report in the top 10 in the country. The departments of philosophy, economics, political science, history, and mathematics are also highly respected for the high standards of their teaching and research.

The U-M has one of the largest research expenditures of any university in the United States. It is a major contributor to advances in medicine, computer science, and engineering. U-M was the site of the announcement of the success of the scientific trials that led to the Salk polio vaccine (1955). The university has one of the largest numbers of living alumni of any American university. It is also known for athletic prowess—notably in football and hockey—and has a history of student activism. U-M was the site of the nation's first faculty led anti-Vietnam War "teach in" and the anti-war group SDS was founded by then U-M students, including Tom Hayden.

The university was the first in America to employ the seminar method of study, as well as where President John F. Kennedy first proposed the concept of what became the Peace Corps. President Lyndon B. Johnson first announced his domestic poverty program known as the Great Society at U-M. More recently, U-M led the way by successfully affirming before the United States Supreme Court the principle that race may be considered as a factor in college admissions.


Template:Mainarticle The University of Michigan was one of the nation's first public universities, established in 1817 by the Michigan Territorial legislature on 1,920 acres (776 hectares) ceded through the Treaty of Fort Meigs by the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi peoples. The university moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor in 1837. Hoping to be chosen as the site for the new state capital, Ann Arbor had set aside 40 acres (16 hectares) that it subsequently offered to the university when Lansing was instead chosen as the state capital. The ceded land in Detroit was sold and the proceeds remain in the U-M's permanent endowment. The original 40 acres (16 hectares) in Ann Arbor became part of the current Central Campus.

The first classes were held in 1841, comprising six freshmen and a sophomore, taught by two professors. Eleven men graduated in the first commencement ceremony in 1845. By 186566, the enrollment had increased to 1,205 students, of whom many were veterans of the Civil War. Women were first admitted in 1870. James B. 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.

The first two decades of the 20th century saw a construction boom on campus that included facilities to house the dental and pharmacy programs, a chemistry building, a building for the study of natural sciences, Hill Auditorium, large hospital and library complexes, and two residential halls. The university's reputation for research gained momentum in 1920 with a formal reorganization of the College of Engineering and the formation of an advisory committee of 100 industrialists to guide academic research initiatives. During World War II, U-M's research output grew significantly, and included major initiatives on behalf of the U.S. Navy, in particular, breakthroughs in the development of weapons such as the VT fuse, depth bomb, the PT boat, and radar jammer. By 1950, enrollment had reached 21,000, of whom 7,700 were veterans supported by the G.I. Bill.

The Central Campus Diag

As the Cold War and the Space Race took hold in the second half of the 20th century, U-M became a major recipient of government grants for strategic research, and was on the cutting edge of the development of peacetime uses for atomic power. In a 1966 survey of American universities by the American Council on Education, U-M was rated either first or second in graduate teaching in all 28 disciplines surveyed.

On March 24, 1964, a group of academic staff members and 2,500 students held the nation's first "teach-in" to protest against American policy in Southeast Asia. In response to a series of sit-ins in 1966 by Voice—the campus political party of Students for a Democratic Society—the U-M's administration banned sit-ins, a move which in turn led 1,500 students to conduct a further one-hour sit-in in the administration building.

During the 1970s, severe budget constraints hindered the university's physical development and academic standing, but the 1980s saw a surge in funds devoted to research in the social and physical sciences. Nevertheless, campus controversy arose over involvement in the anti-missile Strategic Defense Initiative and investments in South Africa. 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. The university also emphasized the development of computer and information technology throughout the campus.

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, though the eventual ruling was mixed. 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. In the early 2000s, the U-M also faced declining state funding as a percentage of its funding due to state budget shortfalls. At the same time, U-M has attempted to maintain its high academic standing while keeping tuition costs affordable. There were also 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.

Academic profile

Central Campus: Angell Hall, one of the major buildings of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

The university has about 24,800 undergraduate and 14,900 graduate students in 600 academic programs; each cohort numbers about 6,250 students, although the university admits fewer than 50% of applicants. Students come from all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries. 98% of applicants have achieved a high school GPA of more than 3.0. The upper quartile of each U-M class is two to three times the size of the average interquartile class of the Ivy League institutions; with a minimum SAT score of around 1400, that quartile is academically competitive with the Ivy League average of 1430. As a result, the university's student body includes weaker students as well as those who are competitive with, and as proportionately large as those of the other Ivy League institutions.[2] 15% of newly enrolled undergraduates are members of ethnic minority groups.

About 65% of undergraduate students are enrolled in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LS&A). The university has a top ranking engineering school, which takes in about 20% of undergraduate students. Fewer than 3% of undergraduate students are enrolled in the highly selective Ross School of Business. The rest of the undergraduate students are enrolled in the smaller schools, including the School of Music, the School of Nursing, and the School of Art and Design.[3] Most graduate students are enrolled in the LS&A, the College of Engineering, the Law School, the Ross School of Business, and the Medical School. The Medical School is partnered with one of the largest health care complexes in the world, the University of Michigan Health System.

There are just over 5,000 faculty members, 73 of whom are members of the National Academy.[4] The university consistently leads the nation in the number of Fulbright Scholars and has several Rhodes Scholars—its academic departments are consistently placed towards the top of college rankings. In one recent rankings summary, more than 70% of U-M's 200 major programs, departments, and schools were ranked in the top 10 nationally, and more than 90% of programs and departments were ranked in the top 20 nationally.[5] In the areas of intellectual breadth and quality, the Philosophical Gourmet ranks U-M fourth.[6] Similarly, in 2005 U-M was rated among the top 10 colleges in America in the annual rankings by the Washington Monthly. The School of Social Work has been ranked first by the US News and World Report every year since 1994.[7]

One concern about academics at the U-M is that many courses, including upper-level courses, are taught by Graduate Student Instructors — a problem facing many public and private universities in America. The Princeton Review ranked U-M seventh worst in the category of "teaching assistants teach too many upper-level courses." However, U-M has a student-faculty ratio of 16:1. Another concern is the high level of educational expenses, especially for out-of-state undergraduate students, who pay about $27,000 annually for tuition alone. On the other hand, in-state undergraduate students pay about $8,500.[8]


The university has one of the largest annual research expenditures of any public university in the United States, totaling roughly $750 million in 2004.[9] The Medical School has the largest research expenditures at nearly $300 million, while the College of Engineering, at more than $135 million, is second.[10]

U-M was at the center of the development of one of the first university computer networks and has made major contributions to the mathematics of information theory, notably through Claude Shannon. Other major contributions include the construction of the precursor to the National Science Foundation computer networking backbone, the virtual memory model, and computer databases. The University is also a major contributor to the medical field with the EKG, gastroscope, Jonas Salk's polio vaccine, and the extracorporal membrane oxygenation system.

The National Election Studies and one of the nation's most watched economic indices, the University of Michigan's Consumer Confidence Index, are based at U-M. 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 is located at the university, and huge support was recently given to the life sciences with the establishment of the Life Sciences Institute and the construction of associated facilities. Undergraduate students are able to participate in various research projects through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) as well as the UROP/Creative-Programs. These programs are currently first in the national ranking.[11]

Libraries and museums

Main hall of the law school library.

The library system is one of the largest in the United States. It comprises 19 individual libraries with 24 separate collections—roughly 7.96 million volumes, growing at the rate of 150,000 volumes a year.[12] 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. The University recently initiated an innovative book digitization program in collaboration with Google.

Two prominent libraries, the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and the Shapiro Undergraduate Library (also called the UGLi, which is officially an acronym but is taken by student as a referenceto the building's uninspiring appearance), are on Central Campus and are connected by a skywalk. The Duderstadt Center on North Campus houses books on art, architecture, and engineering. The Duderstadt Center also contains multiple computer labs, video editing studios, and a 3D virtual reality room. North Campus is the location of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.

The UM Art Museum on Central Campus.

The University of Michigan is home to a number of museums, whose focuses include archeology, anthropology, paleontology, zoology, dentistry, and art. The natural history public collections can be found at the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History, which displays items from the collections of the paleontology, zoology, and anthropology museums. The Exhibit Museum also holds the largest display of dinosaur specimens in Michigan as well a specimen of the state fossil, the mastodon. One of the better-known museums is the University of Michigan Museum of Art, with a permanent collection of European, American, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African items, and temporary exhibits on a wide variety of subjects.



File:UM AA map.jpg
Locations of the U-M three main campuses in Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor campus is divided into three main areas: the North, Central and South Campuses. The physical infrastructure includes more than 300 major buildings, with a combined area of more than 29 million square feet (3 km²). The campus also consists of buildings scattered throughout the city, many occupied by organizations affiliated with the University of Michigan Health System. The university also has an office building called Wolverine Tower in southern Ann Arbor.

All three campus areas are connected by free 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.

Central Campus

Central Campus was the original location of U-M when it moved to Ann Arbor in 1841. It originally had a school and dormitory building (where Mason Hall now stands) and several houses for professors on land bounded by North University Avenue, South University Avenue, East University Avenue, and State Street. Because Ann Arbor and Central Campus developed simultaneously, there is no distinct boundary between them, 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 the medical campus. Most of the graduate and professional schools, including the Ross School of Business and the Law School, are on Central Campus. 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.

North Campus

Much of North Campus has a modern architectural style.

North Campus is the most contiguous campus, built independently from the city on a large plot of land the university bought in 1952. It is newer than Central Campus, and thus has more modern architecture, while 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.[13] North and Central Campuses each have unique bell towers reflecting the predominant architectural style of their surrounding architectural styles. The College of Engineering, the Schools of Music and Art and Design, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and an annex of the School of Information are located on North Campus.

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 Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and the Student Theatre Arts Complex, which provides shop and rehearsal space for student theatre groups. The university's department of public safety and transportation services offices are located on South Campus.



File:Michigan BlockM.jpg
University of Michigan "Block M" logo, often used at athletic and other competitive events

The University of Michigan's sports teams are called the Wolverines, after the state's nickname. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A and in the Big Ten Conference in all sports except ice hockey, which competes in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. In seven of the past ten years, U-M has finished in the top five of the NACDA Director's Cup, a list compiled by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, which charts the success of universities in competitive sport.

A football game at Michigan Stadium

The U-M football team won the first Rose Bowl game in 1902, and has won an NCAA-record 842 games through the 2004 season. The football team is the NCAA's all-time winningest program—in both total wins and winning percentage. The program is a model of consistency, because it is one of only two teams to have been ranked in the final "Top 25" poll every year since 1989.[14] Since that time, the Wolverines have won outright or shared seven Big Ten titles and won a national championship. U-M football has won eleven national championships overall, the most recent in 1997,[15] and has produced three Heisman trophy winners.[16]Michigan is the first, and to date the only, school to produce a primarily defensive player who won the Heisman trophy,(Charles Woodson).

Michigan Stadium ("The Big House"), is the largest football-only stadium in the world, with a capacity of 107,501 and attendance typically exceeding 110,000. The NCAA's record-breaking attendance has become commonplace at Michigan Stadium, especially since the arrival of Bo Schembechler in 1969. U-M has fierce rivalries with many teams, including Michigan State and Notre Dame. However, its football rivalry with Ohio State University is widely considered to be the fiercest in all of college athletics, and has been referred to as the greatest rivalry of all time by ESPN.[17]

The men's basketball team, which plays at Crisler Arena, and the ice hockey team, which plays at Yost Ice Arena, are highly popular teams. A Harris Survey in 2003 found the U-M men's basketball program to be the second most popular in the nation and the women's program the third most popular in the nation.[18] The men's ice hockey has won nine national championships, the most of any American university or college. The men's basketball team won the national championship in 1989.The University of Michigan remains the only school in NCAA history to win at least one national championship in all four of the major sports of football, basketball, hockey, and baseball.

Student life

Residential life

Palmer Field with Couzens Hall (left) and Alice Lloyd Hall (right), two of the Hill Area residence halls.

The University of Michigan has the sixth largest campus accommodation system in the U.S. and the third largest family housing operation, catering for up to 12,562 people.[19] 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 1277 students, while the smallest accommodates 31 residents. A majority of upper-class men 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, medical sciences, community service and the German language. The Residential College (RC), a division of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, has its principal instructional space in the East Quadrangle of the residence hall system. East Quadrangle is located in the Central Campus.

Groups and activities

There are more than 900 student clubs and organizations at the university.[20] 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 of the most visible and controversial of these groups is BAMN, or "coalition to defend affirmative action By Any Means Necessary." Although the student body generally leans to the left, there is a sizeable conservative and religious community. Fraternities and sororities, many of which are located east of Central Campus, play a major role in the university's social life. Intramural sports are popular, and there are three major campus recreation facilities, one for each of the three campuses. The Michigan Union and Michigan League are student activity centers located on Central Campus while Pierpont Commons is on North Campus. The Michigan Union in particular houses a majority of student bodies including the student government. There are also several engineering projects teams, including the University of Michigan Solar Car Team, which placed first in the American Solar Challenge four times and third in the World Solar Challenge three times.

File:Annarbor um diag.jpg
The diag, a path and hangout

The Michigan Daily is the student-run daily newspaper. Other student publications include the conservative The Michigan Review, the progressive Michigan Independent, and the humorous publications The Michigan Every Three Weekly and Gargoyle. WCBN (88.3 FM) is a freeform radio station; WOLV-TV is a student-run television station that is primarily shown on the University's cable television system.

Student government

Housed within 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 the voice of students and manages student funds on the campus. The Michigan Student Assembly is a member of the statewide Association of Michigan Universities. In recent years MSA has organized a shuttle bus to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and brought musical acts such as Guster and Ludacris to campus.

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. Students in the LS&A are represented by the LS&A Student Government. The University of Michigan Engineering Council manages student government affairs for the College of Engineering.

Michigan "fight song"

The University of Michigan's "fight song" is The Victors, written by student Louis Elbel in 1898, following a last-minute victory over the University of Chicago that clinched a league championship. The song was declared by John Philip Sousa as "the greatest college fight song ever written." It includes a reference to the university being the "champions of the West." At the time Michigan was part of the western United States. The alma mater song is The Yellow and Blue. A common rally cry is "Let's Go Blue!" Although mainly used at sporting events, the fight song can be heard at other competitive events that U-M wins. The fight song is sung during graduation commencement ceremonies.

Famous alumni

Template:Mainarticle There are more than 425,000 living alumni, among the largest number of living alumni of any American university. Campus tour guides and orientation meetings commonly report that the university is the only one with an alumni association represented on the moon, due to the U-M flag being one of only two placed there (the other being the U.S. flag), along with a charter for the U-M Alumni Association moon chapter. The items were placed there by the Apollo 15 crew.[21]

Famous alumni include former President Gerald R. Ford, playwright Arthur Miller, Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, Google co-founder Larry E. Page, actor James Earl Jones, actress Lucy Liu, TV journalist Mike Wallace, former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg, actress Ruth Hussey, Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, Mayo clinic co-founder William James Mayo, Nobel Prize-winner (Physics) Samuel Ting, Nobel Prize-winner (Medicine) Marshall Nirenberg, screenwriter Judith Guest, Scopes trial attorney Clarence Darrow, authors Charles Major and Sandra Steingraber, and filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan. Several astronauts are U-M alumni, including the crews of Gemini 4 and Apollo 15.


  1. ^ Top 500 World Universities (2005). Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Accessed October 1, 2005.
  2. ^ Calculated with data from The Top American Research Universities (2004). TheCenter. Accessed October 1, 2005.
  3. ^ Enrollment by Degree Type and School/College (2004). UM News Service. Accessed October 2, 2005.
  4. ^ The Top American Research Universities (December 2004). TheCenter. Accessed October 2, 2005.
  5. ^ University of Michigan Rankings (7-13-2005).
  6. ^ America's Best Graduate Schools 2006 - Health: Social Work (Master's). US News and World Report.
  7. ^  Rankings: The Philosophical Gourmet Copyright 2004: by Brian Leiter.
  8. ^ Academic Year Tuition and Fees for Full-Time Students (8-18-2005). University of Michigan Office of Budget & Planning. Accessed October 7, 2005.
  9. ^ Ulaby, Fawwaz T. Annual Report on Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity at the University of Michigan FY2004. (February 17, 2005). UM Research.
  10. ^ University of Michigan - Research (3-21-2005). U of M Office of Budget and Planning - Electronic Fact Pages. Accessed September 15, 2005.
  11. ^ UROP is First (2005). LSAMagazine.
  12. ^ University of Michigan Libraries (1-11-2005). U of M News Service. Accessed September 19, 2005.
  13. ^ Carter, Brian (2000). Eero Saarinen-Operational Thoroughness A Way of Working. Dimensions Volume Fourteen.
  14. ^ Top 10 Most Power Programs. (8-18-2003).
  15. ^ University of Michigan Football - National Championships. University of Michigan Athletics History (2002).
  16. ^ Michigan in the Heisman Trophy Voting. (2005).
  17. ^ The 10 greatest rivalries (1-3-2005).
  18. ^ The Harris Poll - College Basketball. HarrisInteractive.
  19. ^ Housing Fact Sheet. UM Housing (2005).
  20. ^ University of Michigan System Profile. July 2001.
  21. ^ About the Association - Famous U-M Alumni (2005).


  • Fiske, Edward B. (2004). Fiske Guide to Colleges 2005 (Twenty-first Edition), Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc. ISBN 1402202296.
  • Fleming, Robben W. (1996). Tempests into Rainbows: Managing Turbulence, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472106740.
  • Holtzer (editor), Susan. (1990). Special to the Daily: The 1st 100 Years of Editorial Freedom at the Michigan Daily, Caddo Gap Press. ISBN 0962594520.
  • Peckham, Howard H. (1994). The Making of The University of Michigan 1817-1992, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472065947.

External links


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