History of the University
Wayne State University’s story begins in 1868 with the founding of the Detroit Medical College, now the School of Medicine. In 1881, the Detroit Normal Training School was established, which is now the College of Education. The now-iconic Old Main Hall was built in 1896 as Central High School, which began adding college classes in 1913. Those classes evolved into the Detroit Junior College (offering a two-year general education program) in 1917, which became the College of the City of Detroit (with four-year degree programs) in 1923, and now is the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
In 1924, the College of Pharmacy was organized, and six years later the first regular graduate courses were offered in liberal arts and education. Frank Cody became the first president in 1933, with the existing colleges united into a university organization, eventually named Wayne University, taken from Wayne County in honor of General Anthony Wayne.
Wayne University continued to grow, adding the School of Social Work, the Law School, and the School of Business Administration. In 1956, it was renamed Wayne State University. In 1963, Wayne State was designated one of Michigan’s three constitutionally established universities. Wayne State has since grown to become one of the 50 largest public universities in the United States, offering nearly 350 degree and certificate programs through 13 schools and colleges.
1868 — The Detroit Medical College, forerunner of the School of Medicine, was established.
1881 — The Detroit Normal Training School, forerunner of the College of Education, was established.
1917 — The Detroit Junior College, offering a two-year program in general education, was established in ‘Old Main' and later developed into the College of Liberal Arts.
1923 — The Detroit Normal Training School became a four-year degree-granting institution under the name of the Detroit Teachers College. The first degrees were granted in 1924. The Detroit Junior College became the College of the City of Detroit with four-year degree programs. The first degrees were conferred in 1925.
1924 — The College of Pharmacy was organized.
1930 — The first regular graduate courses were offered in Liberal Arts and Education. The first Master's degrees were conferred in 1932.
1933 — The College of Engineering and the Graduate School were established.
1933 — The Colleges of Liberal Arts, Education, Engineering, Medicine and Pharmacy and the Graduate School were united by action of the Detroit Board of Education into a university organization, temporarily called the Colleges of the City of Detroit.
1934 — The name Wayne University was adopted, taken from Wayne County and, ultimately, from General Anthony Wayne.
1935 — The School of Public Affairs and Social Work was organized. In 1950 it became the present School of Social Work.
1937 — The Law School, established in 1927 as Detroit City Law School, came into the University.
1945 — The first doctoral programs were authorized in the fields of Chemistry, Physiological Chemistry and Education.
1945 — The College of Nursing, which began as a program in the College of the City of Detroit, became a separate college.
1946 — The School of Business Administration, originating in the College of Liberal Arts, became the tenth academic unit in the University.
1956 — Wayne University became Wayne State University by Act 183 of Michigan Public Acts of 1956.
1959 — Monteith College was established.
1959 — Wayne State University became a constitutionally established University by popularly adopted amendment to the Michigan Constitution.
1964 — The Division of Urban Extension was established.
1973 — The College of Lifelong Learning was established as successor to the Division of Urban Extension.
1973 — The College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions was established.
1974 — The College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions was formed from merger of the College of Pharmacy and the Division of Allied Health Professions, School of Medicine.
1985 — The School of Fine and Performing Arts and the College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs were established.
1989 — The name of the School of Fine and Performing Arts was changed to the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts.
1993 —The College of Science was established.
2001 — The name of the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions was changed to the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
2002 — The College of Lifelong Learning was discontinued and its programs transferred to other units.
2004 — The College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science were merged into the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
2005 — The College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs was discontinued and its programs transferred to other units.
2008 — The Irvin D. Reid Honors College was established.
2009 — The Library and Information Science Program was established as the School of Library and Information Science.
2011 — The Warrior football team made its first appearance in the NCAA Division II championship game.
2014 — The Advanced Technology Education Center opens in Warren, Michigan.
2015 — The Integrative Biosciences Center, a $90 million facility dedicated to eliminating health disparities in Detroit, opens.
2015 — The name of the School of Business Administration was changed to the Mike Ilitch School of Business.
2017 — The name of the School of Library and Information Science was changed to the School of Information Sciences.
2018 — The Mike Ilitch School of Business opens its new facility.
2019 — Wayne State opens the Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments.
Location of the University
More than 100 buildings provide housing for the services, instructional and research needs of the University and its students and staff. Most academic and service units of the University are located on the main campus in Midtown Detroit, largely bounded by York Street on the north, Woodward Avenue on the east, Forest Avenue on the south and Trumbull Street on the west. The major classroom, laboratory, library and other academic buildings are located east of the John C. Lodge Freeway; most of the athletics and recreational facilities are on the west side of the freeway.
The School of Medicine and its affiliated teaching hospitals and clinics are located a short distance south and east of the main campus in the Detroit Medical Center. The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is also located on the medical campus. The Mike Ilitch School of Business is located south of main campus in the District Detroit area. Certain smaller instructional and service units are located in other parts of the metropolitan area.