September marks the unofficial transition into a new season – fall. This means back-to-school, football, and colder weather. As of 2018, there are almost 200 colleges, universities, and trade schools within Michigan and if we go back decades, there are a few schools that opened this month. Take a step back into history and learn how these five schools got started.

  • Ferris State University: On Sept. 1, 1884 Woodbridge N. Ferris founded the Big Rapids Industrial School in Big Rapids, Michigan. Ferris served as the Governor of Michigan and represented the state in the United States Senate. Over 100 years later the school he founded would become known as Ferris State University, home to almost 15,000 students each year.
  • University of Detroit Mercy: Before the consolidation of The University of Detroit and Mercy College of Detroit in 1990, the University of Detroit was established to improve the lives of Detroit residents through higher education. The school held its first classes on Sept. 3, 1877.
  • Finlandia University: Located in the Upper Peninsula, Finlandia University was originally established on Sept. 8, 1896 as Suomi College with 27 students – the first Finnish college in the country.
  • Alma College: On Sept. 12, 1887 Alma College opened with 95 students, and now enrolls almost 1,500 students annually and boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 12 students to every one faculty member.
  • Michigan Technological University: Originally established to train mining engineers, Michigan Mining School opened on Sept. 15, 1886. It became Michigan Technological University in 1964 to better reflect the transition away from mining and to showcase the other academic programs offered.

Want to know more about what happened this month throughout Michigan’s history? The Historical Society of Michigan is a great resource. And for more ways to stay involved in your community and keep up on Michigan’s latest happenings, check out Empowering Michigan.

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