Wayne State Historical Timeline

Historical timeline

1868 - 1897


Detroit Medical College (predecessor of the School of Medicine) founded


Detroit Normal Training School (predecessor of the College of Education) founded


Detroit Medical College and Michigan Medical College merge to create the Detroit College of Medicine


Detroit College of Medicine publishes first edition of its student magazine, The Leucocyte


Central High School building completed

1898 - 1927


David Mackenzie named principal of Central High School


First college classes held at Central High School

Detroit College of Medicine reorganized and renamed Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery


College classes at Central High School become accredited by North Central Association


Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery admits first female students

Detroit Normal Training School begins admitting married women

Detroit Junior College becomes authorized by the state legislature and begins offering two-year liberal arts and sciences program


Detroit Junior College publishes first edition of its student newspaper, The Collegian, and adopts old gold and Kelly green as school colors

Detroit Normal Training School begins admitting male students and introduces first evening classes and summer session

Control of the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery is transferred to the Detroit Board of Education


Detroit Normal Training School upgraded to four-year institution and renamed the Detroit Teachers College


Detroit Junior College upgraded to four-year institution and renamed the College of the City of Detroit (also known as City College)

David Mackenzie named dean of the College of the City of Detroit


College of Pharmacy founded

Detroit Teachers College awards first bachelor’s degrees


College of the City of Detroit celebrates first graduating class


High school classes move from Central High School building, which is designated the Main Building of the College of the City of Detroit


College of the City of Detroit adopts Tartars as mascot

Detroit Law School founded

1928 - 1957


Department of Engineering established


Department of Nursing established

Detroit Teachers College moves to Main Building


Detroit Board of Education combines six colleges — liberal arts, education, pharmacy, engineering, medicine and a graduate school — into one university, with Frank Cody named president


Wayne University adopted as name


School of Social Affairs founded

Wayne University holds first homecoming


School of Social Affairs renamed School of Public Affairs and Social Work


Detroit City Law School accredited by American Bar Association and incorporated into Wayne University as Law School


Department of Business Administration established


Wayne University Press (later renamed Wayne State University Press) formed


Architect Suren Pilafian wins competition for developing master plan for Wayne University campus

University purchases first block of campus real estate (Warren to Putnam, west of Cass)

College of Medicine staffs 36th General Hospital in Europe, which operates throughout World War II in Algiers, Naples and three cities in southern France

Horace H. Rackham Building becomes first new building completed in the Cultural Center of Detroit since 1927

Warren E. Bow named president of Wayne University


University purchases Michigan College of Mortuary Science and renames it Department of Mortuary Science


University purchases second block of campus real estate (Putnam to Merrick)

The Office of Veteran Affairs established to help World War II veterans continue education, enter vocational training programs and find jobs


College of Nursing founded

University purchases third block of campus real estate (Merrick to Kirby)

David D. Henry named president of Wayne University


University purchases Webster Hall hotel and renames it the Student Center Building

The School of Business Administration was established


Veteran enrollment peaks at 7,685 students in the fall


State Hall completed

University awards first doctoral degree in biochemistry


Postwar enrollment peaks at 18,612 students during calendar year


Main Building officially renamed Old Main

School of Social Work given separate status from the School of Public Affairs


Engineering Building at 5050 Third Avenue completed

Radio station WDET-FM given to university by UAW-CIO

Clarence B. Hilberry named president of Wayne University


General Library and Science Library completed


Medical Science Building (later renamed Health Sciences Building) completed at 1401 Rivard (street later transforms into Chrysler Service Drive)

Tartar Field debuts north of Ford Expressway


Music Building of Community Arts Center completed


State legislature approves Public Act 183, granting state control and support of the university, which becomes Wayne State University

Art Building of Community Art Center completed

War Memorial Mall dedicated

University purchases Bonstelle Playhouse and renames it Wayne University Theatre (and later Bonstelle Theatre)

1958 - 1967


University Archives formed

Minoru Yamasaki presents master plan for campus

McGregor Memorial Community Conference Center completed


First six-member Wayne State University Board of Governors appointed after statewide election, completing transfer to state control

Monteith College founded

Community Arts Auditorium, Alumni House/President’s home and Richard Cohn Memorial Building completed

University purchases Bliss Motors Building and renames it Administrative Services Building

Last of temporary barrack classrooms demolished


College of Education Building and Life Science Building completed


Student Center Building renamed David Mackenzie Hall

University purchases Chatsworth Tower and Chatsworth Annex

University purchases First Church of Christ, Scientist and renames it Hilberry Theatre

The Office of Counseling for the Handicapped established at a time when Wayne State was one of 11 universities in the nation to provide inclusive services for disabled students


Helen Newberry Joy Residence for Women (now Reuther Mall) completed


Second Avenue closed to motor vehicles and becomes the center of campus

Helen L. DeRoy Auditorium completed


Shapero Hall, Physics Research Building and Medical Research Building completed

William R. Keast named president of Wayne State University


Law School Building on Ferry Mall completed

Wayne State University Police Department established


The South End replaces The Daily Collegian as Wayne State’s student newspaper to expand coverage outside of the university to topics such as civil rights and the Vietnam War

Frederick C. Matthaei Physical Education and Recreation Building completed

Center for Urban Studies established

1968 - 1977


Vera Shiffman Medical Library completed

Wayne State celebrates its centennial

Third Avenue renamed Anthony Wayne Drive


University Center (new student center) completed


Speech and Languages Building, Chemistry Building, and Science Library completed

College of Pharmacy launches Ph.D. program


General Lectures Building completed

Campus installs blue light phone system, a direct line to Wayne State University Police Department

George E. Gullen, Jr., named president of Wayne State University


Gordon H. Scott Hall of Basic Medical Sciences completed

Center for Chicano-Boricua Studies in Monteith College established

General Library renamed G. Flint Purdy Library (ultimately becomes Purdy/Kresge Library)


College of Lifelong Learning founded

School of Social Work begins offering bachelor’s degrees


Helen L. DeRoy Apartments completed

Wayne State joins Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference

University dedicates Reuther Mall and Ludington Plaza

College of Pharmacy and Division of Allied Health Programs merge into the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions


Walter P. Reuther Library completed

College of Nursing launches Ph.D. program

Preservation Wayne (later renamed Preservation Detroit) formed

Board of Governors votes to end Monteith College and complete phase out by 1981

Speech and Languages Building renamed Alex Manoogian Hall


Warren Avenue widened

Medical Research Building renamed Helen Vera Prentis Lande Medical Research Building

1978 - 1987


University purchases Thompson Home for Old Ladies

Thomas Bonner named president of Wayne State University


Second Avenue Mall renamed Gullen Mall


Wayne State acquires Merrill Palmer Institute for Child Development, which later merges with Skillman Center for Children and Families to form the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development


David Adamany, Wayne State’s longest-serving president, begins his tenure


Health Sciences Building renamed Shapero Hall

Barnes and Noble begins operating the Wayne State Bookstore

Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council holds inaugural Pride Festival at Wayne State


College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs and College of Fine and Performing Arts founded

Mortuary Science begins offering bachelor’s degree

Shapero Hall renamed Natural Science Building and Science Library renamed Science and Engineering Library


University dedicates Frederick Linsell House as the Office of the Dean for the College of Fine and Performing Arts

1988 - 1997


Programs in Speech and Rhetorical Processes, Journalism and Radio-TV-Film transferred from the College of Liberal Arts to the College of Fine and Performing Arts


Department of Africana Studies established

University purchases St. Andrew’s Memorial Episcopal Church

College of Fine and Performing Arts renamed College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts


Wayne State University and the University of Windsor sign exchange agreement

Faculty/Administration Building completed

University restores William Rands House to serve as the School of Business Annex


David Mackenzie Hall demolished by implosion

Biological Sciences Building completed


College of Science founded


Wayne State University classified as a Research I university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Old Main begins major renovation

Wayne State University Press moves to Leonard N. Simons Building


Academic/Administrative Building and University Tower Apartments completed


Manufacturing Engineering Building completed

Planetarium addition completed in Old Main


David Adamany Undergraduate Library and Elaine L. Jacob Gallery addition of Old Main completed

Irvin D. Reid named president of Wayne State

1998 - 2007

1999 Warriors replace Tartars as school mascot
2000 Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center and addition to Law School completed
2001 College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions renamed Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

North Residence Hall, Welcome Center, Wayne State University Bookstore, and Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences completed

University purchases Maccabees Building

University launches online system for course registration

2003 South Residence Hall completed

First phase of TechTown completed

Helen Newberry Joy Residence Hall demolished


Towers Residential Suites completed

College of Science merges with College of Liberal Arts, becoming the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

North Hall renamed Yousif B. Ghafari Hall

Chatsworth Annex demolished

2008 - 2017


Irvin D. Reid Honors College founded

Jay Noren named president of Wayne State

2009 School of Library and Information Science founded

Allan Gilmour named president of Wayne State

Warrior Football makes its debut in an NCAA Division II national championship game

The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights opens to study and support the civil rights of underrepresented communities in urban areas 

2013 M. Roy Wilson named president of Wayne State
2014 Advanced Technology Education Center (ATEC) debuts in Warren, Michigan 
2015 Integrative Biosciences Center, a $90-million facility dedicated to eliminating health disparities in Detroit, debuts 
2016 The Mike Ilitch School of Business breaks ground on new headquarters in the District Detroit 

Wayne State breaks ground on Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments, which will add 841 beds to campus

School of Library and Information Science renamed School of Information Sciences

2018 Wayne State University commemorates 150th anniversary