Chancellor Daniel Little: 18 Years of Impact

Daniel Little is the fifth and longest-serving chancellor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, having led the campus since July 2000. For 18 years, he has led campus-wide efforts to provide a transformative education that is rooted in a commitment to regional impact.

See how the campus has grown—including new responsive academic programs and modern learning and research facilities—since 2000.


  • November 30 - The inauguration of Daniel E. Little as UM-Dearborn’s fifth chancellor takes place on campus.


  • September 11 - Chancellor Little kept the campus open after the New York City and Washington D.C. attacks so that the campus community had a place to mourn, process and talk through events.

  • October - A grant of $381,750 from the Community Foundation was secured to develop the Rouge River Gateway Trail from Hines Drive through campus to Michigan Avenue, the first trail in the foundation’s Greenways Initiative.


  • September 5 - UM-Dearborn acquires Fairlane Training Center from Ford Motor Co., adding 30 acres, 318K square feet and 1,000 parking spaces to campus.

  • November 10 - The newly renovated University Center (formerly the University Mall) opens with student services offices, student organization offices, bookstore, food service and meeting rooms.


  • Summer - The Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive receives $100,000 from the Henry S. and Mala Dorfman Family Foundation to support continued work on the archive and help its preservation and dissemination to students, researchers and the public.


  • May 19 - Chancellor Little announces a fresh vision for UM-Dearborn as a “metropolitan university.” Goals include increasing enrollment, enhancing student engagement, deepening academic excellence and achieving metropolitan impact.


  • October 27 - UM-Dearborn dedicates the new Science Learning and Research Center.

  • December - The Child Development Center and Oakwood Healthcare sign an agreement to support Oakwood’s Program for Exceptional Families.

  • Fall - The new Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems building opens.


  • October 9 - UM-Dearborn hosts the Republican Presidential Candidate Debate, which focused on the American economy.


  • Fall - UM-Dearborn’s first two Ph.D. programs launch in manufacturing systems engineering and information systems engineering.


  • Fall - The School of Education (now College of Education, Health, and Human Services) launches its first doctoral degree, an Ed.D.

  • September 23 - UM-Dearborn celebrates its 50th anniversary.


  • March - UM-Dearborn is named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.


  • Fall - Students and faculty collaborate to design Honors Transfer Innovators, one of the nation’s only transfer-friendly honors programs focused on creativity and leadership.


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

  • The university unveils its Flags of the United Nations Mural. The mural, designed by Motawi Tileworks, represents the international nature of the university community.


  • September 1 - More than 400 students move into The Union at Dearborn, marking the first housing option designed for UM-Dearborn students in more than 25 years.

  • September 1 - The School of Education becomes the College of Education, Health, and Human Services. The transition allows the university to continue to offer exemplary teacher preparation programs while launching new opportunities in healthcare and human services to meet regional demand.  

  • March 18 - Recognized for the campus’ commitment to inclusion and diversity, Chancellor Little receives the Trailblazer Award from the Western Wayne County NAACP Branch.


  • December 4 - Chancellor Little joined President Obama, the First Lady, Vice President Biden and hundreds of college presidents and higher education leaders during the White House College Opportunity Day of Action to announce new actions to help students prepare for and graduate from college.


  • January 7 - UM-Dearborn is named a recipient of the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification. The distinction—earned by only 361 campuses nationwide—recognizes the university’s commitment to being deeply engaged with its larger community through teaching, learning, research and service that makes a difference.

  • May - Former U.S. Rep John D. Dingell and UM-Dearborn announce a partnership designed to bring Dingell to campus to work with faculty and students.


  • September 9 - UM-Dearborn celebrates the opening of the Natural Sciences Building.

  • September 23 - The university launches the Talent Gateway, which provides students with self-driven opportunities to leverage their personal, professional and academic experiences to develop competencies that employers seek, such as critical thinking, creativity and innovation.


  • April 20 - U-M Regents approve the schematic design of a new Engineering Laboratory Building. The $90M project received a $30M capital outlay from the State of Michigan in 2016.

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