University History

University of Michigan-Dearborn was founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Co.

Since registering our first class of 34 students, we’ve continued to grow into a comprehensive university and continue to refine and enhance our vision, contributions and impact in southeast Michigan.

cover of first course catalog


University of Michigan-Dearborn Center opens for classes in September.

Junior, senior, and first-year graduate students are enrolled in three degree programs: Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration. 34 students are registered; the director is William Stirton.



Our university sees expanded engineering and business offerings, introduces new programs in liberal arts and sciences and teacher education and strengthens our emphasis on experiential learning through co-ops.




20 students receive their degrees at our first graduation ceremony held on campus.

UM-Dearborn signage


Name of campus is changed to UM-Dearborn Campus.



Director Stirton affirms the continuance of campus as upper division and graduate.



Director William Stirton retires; Norman Scott becomes Dean of campus.



University sees our campus become more diverse, and we celebrate our first Black Awareness Days. Our reach expands as we complete articulations projects in math and science with community colleges.



The childcare center (later the Early Childhood Education Center) opens.

Electrical engineering master’s degree begins.

University of Michigan-Dearborn is adopted as campus name.

Leonard Goodall is appointed chancellor.

First freshman class of 313 enrolls; total enrollment is 1,369.



Michigan Senate appropriates planning money for library and athletic building.

Alumni Society Board


Master’s of management degree begins.

New academic units announced: College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters, Schools of Management, Education and Engineering.

First Alumni Society Board is elected.



Varsity soccer and women’s varsity basketball teams are formed.



Master’s of education degree begins.

Regents appropriate $773K for renovations to the Engineering building.

School of Engineering programs receive first accreditation separate from Ann Arbor.



First Alumni Day at UM-Dearborn; first annual UM-Dearborn fundraising drive begins.

Library Groundbreaking


Fieldhouse and ice arena open; Science Learning Center begins operation.

Groundbreaking for Library.

Agreement between UM-Dearborn and HFEE is established to mesh Associate Degree and B.G.S. (known as 2+2).



M.S.E. in Industrial and Systems Engineering begins; new concentrations in International Studies and Public Administration begin.





William Jenkins is named second chancellor.



Holocaust Survivor Oral History Project begins.

MBA begins, replacing the masters of management degree.



School of Engineering receives accreditation by ABET.

First UM-Dearborn Honors Convocation is held.

Regents approves inclusion of UM-Dearborn in “Campaign for Michigan.”



Ford Motor Company gifts $800K for computer aided engineering lab.



Campus adopts a 5-year plan, embracing 6 goals: enhance academic instruction and research, continue affirmative action, enrollment goal of 6,900, improve physical facilities, expand involvement with community and improve campus environment for students.

Armenian Research Center opens.



Division of Education renamed School of Education.

Library renamed the Edward and Helen Mardigian Library, a result of a total gift of $850K (the largest gift from an individual at the time).

Manufacturing Systems and Engineering Lab building opens.



Blenda Wilson is named third chancellor.



Groundbreaking for general campus renovation projects, entirely funded by the State with $11.6M. They are focused on turning the SAB into a central administrative and fine arts building and created the science/computing wing.

First chancellor’s medallion awarded at commencement.





Child Development Center receives accreditation from the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs; one of only 34 in Michigan to be certified; full-day kindergarten program begins.



Graduate enrollment tops 1,000 for first time.



James Renick becomes fourth chancellor.



Articulation agreements with Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College for 2 + 2 program are established.



Chancellor Renick establishes Volunteer Day to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

Groundbreaking for School of Management, School of Engineering and Center for Corporate and Professional Development.

UM-Dearborn celebrates its 35th anniversary – there are now more than 19,000 alumni.



First graduate program in CASL, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, is approved by Regents.

School of Management is given accreditation by AACSB.

Pledge of $500K from Heinz and Waltraud Prechter and the World Heritage Foundation to support the formation of an Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems (IAVS).

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School of Engineering renamed the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Groundbreaking for new Environmental Interpretive Center.



Groundbreaking for new CASL building.

UM-Dearborn is ranked among top ten public regional universities by U.S. News & World Report.

First time for two separate commencements: Engineering & Management and CASL & Education.



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Opening of the new Wellness Center at the Fieldhouse.

Inauguration of Daniel Little, fifth chancellor.

Online School of Education master’s program launched.



UM-Dearborn ranks 8th among public regional universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.

Grant of $381,750 from Community Foundation secured to develop Rouge Gateway Trail from Hines Drive through campus to Michigan Ave, the first trail in the foundations’ Greenways Initiative.



First online admissions application for prospective freshmen.

UM-Dearborn signage


First Convocation for incoming freshmen.

Opening of newly renovated University Center.



Schools of Education and Management begin classes in Fairlane Center South and Fairlane Center North after purchasing the building from Ford.



New campus logo utilizing the block M is introduced.

Chancellor Little announces a fresh vision for UM-Dearborn as a “metropolitan University”. Goals include increasing enrollment in the next decade, enhancing student engagement, deepening academic excellence and achieving metropolitan impact.



Establishment of first endowed collegiate professorship in honor of Richard Czarnecki in the School of Management.

Course Transfer System, an online tool to help community college students determine which courses will count toward a degree at UM-Dearborn, launches.

Dedication of new Science Learning and Research Center.

Agreement signed between UM-Dearborn’s Early Child Development Center (ECEC) and Oakwood Healthcare to support Oakwood’s Program for Exceptional Families.

iLabs opens in College of Business.

UM-Dearborn signage


Opening of IAVS building.

Mardigian Library launches pilot program for remaining open 24 hours during final exams.

Inaugural eCities project in College of Business begins.



AACSB accreditation is renewed for School of Management; fewer than 10% of business schools are accredited.

ECEC moves to its new home on Rotunda Drive.

Launch of 2 Ph.D. programs in Engineering: Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Information Systems Engineering.



Regents approve name change for School of Management to College of Business.

UM-Dearborn celebrates 50th anniversary.

School of Education launches new doctorate in education degree (Ed.D.) with 18 students enrolled.



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UM-Dearborn's Business Experiential Learning Laboratory (BELL), a new high-tech classroom in the College of Business that simulates a real-world trading room, opens.



UM-Dearborn helps launch the nation’s first statewide university-business engagement network.

Center for Labor and Community Studies opens at UM-Dearborn.

Cross Country becomes a varsity sport.

UM-Dearborn goes smoke-free.

UM-Dearborn signage


Groundbreaking for the Union at Dearborn.

Soccer becomes varsity sport.

UM-Dearborn awards its first doctoral degree to Xuan Zhou, who earned a Ph.D. in automotive systems engineering.

School of Education earns TEAC accreditation.

UM-Dearborn unveils “Flags of the United Nations” mural to represent the international nature of campus.



The Food Pantry announces a partnership with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.

Regents approve name change for the School of Education to College of Education, Health, and Human Services (CEHHS).

U-M publicly launches its Victors for Michigan campaign.

Campus changes its athletic nickname from Wolves to Wolverines.



Lacrosse made its debut as a varsity sport.

More than 80 donors raised over $10,000 as part of UM-Dearborn's first Giving Blueday.

UM-Dearborn receives 13.5M gift from Arthur and Mary Kochoff’s estate – the largest gift to the university.

First idea pitch event held (now referred to UM-Dearborn Business Idea Pitch Competition).

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CEHHS and Beaumont initiative awarded $750,000 to launch Center for Autism.

UM-Dearborn earns Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for its commitment to the region.

UM-Dearborn celebrates its 50,000th graduate.

Stamelos Gallery is established at Mardigian Library.

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UM-Dearborn’s Talent Gateway is created.

UM-Dearborn celebrates the opening of the Natural Sciences Building.

The men's ice hockey team wins the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League Tournament.

UM-Dearborn continues a 15-year winning streak at the 2016 Model Arab League conference.

Wrestler Marina Goocher brought a national title to UM-Dearborn after winning the National Collegiate Wrestling Association, 130-pound weight class.

The new Engineering Fabrication Center in the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Lab is completed and ready for 21st century learning.



The women’s soccer team plays its first regular season contest as a varsity sport, taking on Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind.

Maker space opens: The Student and Professional Shop in the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Lab includes a 24-seat classroom, several 3D printers, a metal fabrication shop, and areas for welding, carpentry, and industrial engineering.

Beaumont Health and UM-Dearborn collaborate to open Autism Center.



Highest university enrollment – 9468 students.

Domenico Grasso is named sixth chancellor of UM-Dearborn.

Go Blueprint for Success (campus first strategic plan) is launched.



UM-Dearborn doctoral programs become affiliated with Rackham Graduate School.

The Urban Futures Initiative launches.

Brahim Medjahed, Computer & Information Science, is named Michigan Association of State Universities Professor of the Year.





UM-Dearborn pivots to online learning and operations due to COVID-19 pandemic.

UM-Dearborn’s ‘Maker Lab’ joins fight against pandemic by making PPE from home.

U.S. Department of Education (TRIO program) awards UM-Dearborn with 1.2M grant to assist students who are low-income, first-generation opportunities to earn a degree.

UM-Dearborn named a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Scholars.

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UM-Dearborn announces flexible approach to classes due to COVID-19.

New Engineering Lab Building opens for classes.

Regents approve the Go Blue Guarantee program for UM-Dearborn campus.

UM-Dearborn is ranked 5th among regional public universities and 31st among all regional Universities in the Midwest as reported in U.S. News & World Report.

College of Business MBA programs ranked #1 in Michigan as reported in U.S. News & World Report.

College of Business ranked as Best Undergraduate Business School in Poets & Quants.

University secures record grant funding for research, primarily from National Science Foundation, more than $4 million in first two months of fiscal year.

Mathematics Associate Professor Yunus Zeytuncu is honored as the Michigan Association of State Universities’ (MASU) Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year.

UM-Dearborn receives $8M gift from anonymous donor — the second largest gift in university history.

Campus joins the White House’s COVID-19 college vaccine challenge as one of more than 200 Universities and colleges.



UM-Dearborn softball team wins first WHAC tournament championship.

Community “town gown” bike ride with Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammound.

The first Chancellor Inclusive Excellence Fellows are announced.

Learn4ward launches, a streamlined admissions process with Henry Ford College.

Omron Robotics and Human Factors Lab opens in the ELB.

The University Center is named for former Chancellor James C. Renick.



UM-Dearborn excels in the Higher Learning Commission's reaccreditation report.

First-year student enrollment is the highest in university history.

U-M Board of Regents reappoints Chancellor Domenico Grasso to lead the university for five more years.