Moments that define Wayne State University

Wayne State University: 150 years in the heart of Detroit

February 20


Wayne State signs contracts with Dillard and Tuskegee universities that pave the way for partnerships to prepare African American nursing faculty. #wsu150 #blackhistorymonth Image courtesy of @ReutherLibrary.



The Wayne Law Moot Court is founded to help students hone their written and oral advocacy skills. 


Wayne University becomes the second college in the country to install and run its own lithograph shop. The Student Activities Division funded the business, which was known as the University Print Shop. #wsu150


This 1914 drawing depicts the J4 Quartette, a musical group comprised of students from the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery, a predecessor of the Wayne State University School of Medicine. #wsu150


The mobile newsreel unit of the university’s TV station, WTVS-TV Channel 56, films a segment in 1957. 


As part of a seminar on death and disease in ancient Egypt, School of Medicine researchers perform an autopsy on Pum II, a mummy on loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Alumni Mary and @Paulglantz, who met during a class at Wayne State, participate in the launch of the #warriorstrong campaign. 


Street Medicine Detroit, a student organization in the School of Medicine that provides medical care to the city’s homeless residents, is founded.


Federal relief funds assigned through the New Deal allow for remodeling at the Main Building, which is later renamed Old Main.


Alexa Canady, M.D., joins the School of Medicine faculty. The nation’s first female African American neurosurgeon, Canady would stay at Wayne State until her retirement in 2001. 


Alumnus Abraham Nemeth (Ph.D. ’64) develops a Braille code for math and science notations, allowing blind scholars to pursue studies in many fields. #wsu150 :// 
Image courtesy of @ReutherLibrary.


The Frederick C. Matthaei Physical Education and Recreation Building is constructed as part of Detroit’s bid for the 1968 Olympics. The Summer Games would ultimately take place in Mexico City, with the Matthaei becoming part of WSU’s campus. 


Wayne State researcher Forest Dewey Dodrill, M.D., and General Motors engineers design a machine to temporarily replace the blood-pumping function of the heart, making open-heart surgery possible.


The drug AZT, created by Wayne State professor and researcher Jerome P. Horwitz, becomes the first federally approved treatment for AIDS.


Alumna Sonya Tayeh (CFPCA ’02) teaches a master class at Wayne State. The two-time Emmy Award-winning choreographer is best known for her work on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance.


To accommodate campus pedestrians, Second Avenue north of Warren is closed to vehicular traffic and ultimately becomes Gullen Mall.


Law School alumna Cora Brown becomes the first African American woman in the country to be elected to a state senate.


The College of Pharmacy graduates its first five pharmacists including Katie Moy Lim, the first female and first Chinese graduate of the college.


WSU faculty members Robert Harr and Paul Karchin are part of the research team awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering the Higgs boson, also known as "the God particle" — the most sought-after particle in the history of physics.


Wayne State University awards Rosa Parks an honorary degree.


The Detroit Normal Training School, a predecessor of the College of Education, is founded. The Washington School building, pictured, would serve as its home from 1895 to 1914. 


Playwright Neil Simon visits Wayne State University’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts for a master class. 


Wayne State students and faculty conduct an archaeological dig in Roosevelt Park. 


The Wayne State Tolerance Curve is used to establish the head injury criterion for federal motor vehicle safety standards.


Wayne State unveils special edition logos recognizing the university’s centennial. #wsu150


Students pose for a group photo during the J-Hop dance at the Fountain Ballroom in the Masonic Temple.


Alumnus Casey Kasem (B.S. ’58) represents Wayne State in the university’s promotional materials.


Women practice archery in a gymnasium once housed in Old Main.


The Cheese Gang, a freshman disciplinary student organization, is founded. The Cheese Gang would later become the Chega fraternity, which affiliated with the national fraternity Phi Sigma Epsilon in 1942.


Wayne State breaks ground on the Welcome Center and bookstore.


Our College of Nursing is founded.


Wayne State launches the OneCard with a “card-cutting” ceremony in the Student Center. 


Science Library construction is completed on campus.


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


John Wayne hosts the "Miss Wayne University" pageant on campus as part of the promotional tour for his film, The Searchers. 


The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognizes Wayne State as a top-tier research university.


Since its formation in 1918, the university’s student council has held regular elections, such as this one (date unknown).


 Wayne State students gain access to Gopher, a pre-HTML form of internet linking academic institutions across the country.


The Main Building (now Old Main) houses individual schools and colleges including the Detroit City Law School, Detroit Teachers College and the College of Pharmacy. Here, College of Pharmacy students are pictured working in a laboratory. 


The SS Wayne Victory, a World War II cargo ship named after Wayne University, is launched. The ship served the military throughout the remainder of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. 


After WWII, veterans attended Wayne University in record numbers. The influx of students led the university to set up temporary classrooms and use neighborhood homes to meet space demands. #wsu150


Wayne State College of Education teachers support area schools. #wsu150


Wayne State opens first university computational lab in the Midwest. #wsu150


Alumna Lily Tomlin receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Wayne State University. #wsu150


The first sorority on campus, An-Tik-Lik (later known as Alpha Theta Sigma), is established.


Wayne University’s WTVS-TV broadcasts an educational program, Preschooler, as part of the College of Education’s community outreach. 


Wayne University acquires the Temple Beth-El, which goes on to become the Bonstelle Theatre. Prior to the acquisition, students has conducted rehearsals in campus-adjacent houses due to lack of space. #wsu150


Twelve WSU students form a track and field team, the Roadrunners, and go on to win first place in the Michigan Wheelchair Games. Five members of the team ultimately compete as part of the 1968 U.S. Paralympic Team. #wsu150


“Old Main” becomes the official name of the former Central High School space, now Wayne State University’s most iconic building. #wsu150


The Detroit Medical College, a predecessor of Wayne State University, is founded by five Civil War physicians.