Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University, at Mount Pleasant, Mich.; coeducational; est. 1892 as a normal school, became Central State Teachers College in 1927, achieved university status in 1959. The university maintains a forest that is used for botanical and biological research. The Clarke Historical Library contains material on the Old Northwest Territory.

Central Michigan University (also known as CMU) is a coeducational state university located in Mount Pleasant in the U.S. state of Michigan. Nearly 28,000 students are enrolled, of which approximately 20,000 are undergraduates, making the university the fourth largest in Michigan. CMU also has off-campus sites located in 15 states and 10 countries. CMU offers students their choice of 27 degrees through eight academic divisions.


Central opened its doors in 1892 as the Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute. At that time, few of the state's teachers received any formal training in teaching. School founders made teacher training their mission in founding the state's second normal school. The seal was transcribed in 1892 to read: Sapientia, Virtus, Amicitia – Wisdom, Virtue, and Friendship.

Thirty-one students attended classes in second-floor rooms over an office on the corner of Main and Michigan streets in downtown Mount Pleasant. Most students at the time were eighth-grade graduates, attending the "Normal" for a few weeks or months prior to beginning their careers as teachers. Within the first two years, land was acquired and a $10,000 Normal School Building was constructed where Warriner Hall now stands.

In 1895, the Michigan State Board of Education assumed control of the school, renaming it Central Michigan Normal School. By 1918, the campus consisted of 25 acres with five buildings, one of which — Grawn Hall — is still in use, though substantially remodeled.

A fire destroyed the school's main building in 1925, and Warriner Hall was built to replace it. Prior to World War II, the school's name changed again — first to Central State Teachers College, then to Central Michigan College of Education.

On June 1, 1959, with 40 buildings standing on a campus and an enrollment of 4,500 students, Central was renamed Central Michigan University, a designation that reflected growth in the complexity of the school's academic offerings as well as its physical growth in the post-war period.


Central Michigan University offers degrees and programs at the bachelor's, master's, specialist's and doctoral levels. Undergraduate students can select from more than 3,000 classes in 150 programs, and graduate students have the choice of more than 60 programs. The university offers degrees in 25 areas.

CMU has seven academic divisions:

  • The College of Business Administration
  • The College of Communication and Fine Arts
  • The College of Education and Human Services
  • The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions
  • The College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • The College of Science and Technology
  • The College of Graduate Studies

Academic work on campus is supported by the recently renovated Charles V. Park Library which holds one million books and can seat up to 2,655 patrons at a time.

For many years CMU has offered an MBA program for selected employees of the Defense Contract Audit Agency.


The school's athletics programs are affiliated with the NCAA Division I-A and compete in the Mid-American Conference. The school colors are maron and gold, and the school, and its students and alumni are referred to as Chippewas which is sometimes shortened to Chips. This nickname is used with consent of the nearby Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, who have a positive relationship with the university. The university was placed on the NCAA's list of schools with "hostile and abusive" nicknames in August 2005, but appealed the decision, with the support of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. On September 2, 2005 the university announced that their appeal of the decision had been upheld.

The school athletics logo has changed over time, once featuring an Indian spear, but is now a stylized block letter "C". Within the university this logo is often referred to as the "flying C" or the "running C", although it is actually called the "action C". The current version of the athletic trademark was first used in 1997. The "flying C" logo was designed by an IET Department undergraduate student in 1995.

CMU's football team won the second NCAA Division II national championship in 1974 by defeating the University of Delaware 54 to 14. The team was voted national champion in the Associated Press College Division poll. The Chips have also been national runner-up twice. In 1958 the men's swimming and diving team was runner-up to North Central College at the second annual NAIA national meet, which was held in Muncie, Ind. Central's baseball team was NCAA Division II runner-up in 1971, having lost to Florida Southern College 4 to 0 in the championship game. In 1994 and 2006, they won the MAC Championship in football. In 2006 against Ohio and then defeated Middle Tennessee State in the Motor City Bowl. The Chippewas won a second consecutive MAC Championship in 2007, with a 35-10 victory over Miami (OH). Frequently defeating both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University in dual meets, CMU's wrestling team won its 10th straight MAC championship and seventh straight conference tournament title in 2008. The Chippewas tied for seventh at the NCAA Championships, scoring a school-record 69 points. Four individuals earned All-America honors.

CMU was a member of the Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1950-1970.


Currently, an internet-mediated psychology study examining delaying gratification is being conducted, which provides feedback on strategies people use to seek happiness.

CMU also emphasizes research on Alzheimer's Disease, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, and forensic interviewing.

The CMU Advanced Materials Research Initiative is a newly funded effort in the College of Science and Technology that supports interdisciplinary education and advanced materials research.

Center for Professional and Personal Ethics

Housed in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, the Center for Professional and Personal Ethics (also known as the "CPPE") sponsors visits by nationally and internationally known speakers. Past visitors include Jeffrey Wigand, Mike Wallace, Coleen Rowley, Adam Penenberg, Don McCabe, Christopher Peterson, Ann Colby, and Anya Kamenetz. Students working with the Center have created an academic integrity handbook known by the CMU community as the CMU Redbook. Students working with the Center also focus on voter education and help to educate their peers about how Michigan election law affects student voters.

Graduate School

The Central Michigan University College of Graduate Studies includes 50 doctoral programs and 55 masters-level programs. Available areas of study include Business Administration, Communications, Education, Health, Social Sciences, and Science & Technology.

The Department of Mathematics, the Department of History, and the Department of Psychology currently offer PhD programs.

Graduate students are involved in organizing a student union to earn a living wage.

The Ph.D. program in the Science of Advanced Materials builds on successful research programs of faculty from several departments in the College of Science and Technology (CST) to provide students with a strong, interdisciplinary foundation in the science of advanced materials, with training in current techniques for the predictive modeling of new materials, their synthesis, and their characterization. It addresses a growing need in Michigan and across the U.S. for workers with training in advanced materials research.

Notable alumni

Residence life

Central Michigan University is home to 22 on-campus residence halls, arranged in four areas throughout the campus. In 2006, the 21st and 22nd residence halls on campus opened in what was currently the East complex.

  • North Residence Halls: Larzelere, Trout, Calkins, Robinson, Barnes
  • South Residence Halls: Beddow, Merrill, Thorpe, Sweeney
  • East Residence Halls: Saxe, Herrig, Woldt, Emmons, Celani, Fabiano
  • The Towers: Carey, Cobb, Troutman and Wheeler ("The Original Towers"), Campbell, Kesseler, Kulhavi ("The New Towers")

All residence halls except for the Celani, Fabiano, The Towers, Barnes Hall, and Robinson Hall are two-bedroom suites designed for 4 or 5 persons. The Original Towers, nine-story high-rise residence halls designed primarily for freshmen, feature one-bedroom suites. The New Towers, as well as Fabiano and Celani, are designed primarily for upperclassmen, and are four-bedroom suites. Robinson Hall and the original section of Barnes are the only residence halls designed for double occupancy. Residents of both the New Towers and Robinson Hall pay an additional charge over the standard room and board rate.

Each district is connected to one of four Residential Restaurants. The Towers features the RFoC, or Real Food on Campus, and the East Complex features the Fresh Food Company. Each area also has an after hours snack shop. Only Barnes Hall, the oldest residence hall at CMU, is not directly connected to a residential restaurant. The original section of Barnes Hall is also the only part of any residence hall on campus that has community bathrooms.

Some residence halls are designated as official Residential Colleges, associated with a particular academic department, allowing students who choose to live there opportunities for study and collaboration with other students from similar programs.

  • Carey Hall-Business
  • Herrig Hall-Music
  • Emmons Hall-Health Professions
  • Woldt Hall-Science and Technology
  • Calkins Hall-Education
  • Larzelere and Trout Halls-Honors Program

CMU offers both co-ed and single-gender residence halls. Sweeney Hall is for females only, Merrill Hall is for males only. Since the Fall 2005 semester, Calkins Hall, home of the Education residential college, is co-educational, after a long history of being females only. The other residence halls are either co-ed by building or by floor. In the fall of 2007, Beddow and Thorpe Halls became co-ed due to a decline in students requesting to live in single-gender residence halls.

Construction began on two more buildings, colloquially known as the "Woldt Towers", near the East Quad in the spring of 2005. The buildings are somewhat similar in design to the New Towers, opened in 2003. On December 1, 2005, one of the buildings was named The Ben and Marion Celani Residence hall to recognize the generosity of Detroit area businessman Thomas Celani and his wife Vicki. On April 20, 2006, the remaining building was named the Fabiano Family Residence Hall, recognizing their contribution to the school. John S. Fabiano served on the board of trustees 1999-2004, and also owns the Fabiano Brothers Inc, an alcohol distribution company. These two new halls opened for the fall semester of 2006, along with a new Residential Restaurant to serve the residents of the six East Area halls.


The campus' student-run newspaper is Central Michigan Life, an award-winning newspaper published Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the academic year. It won more than 50 collegiate journalism awards in the 2007-2008 school year. There is also a college radio station run by students and headed up by Dr. Jerry Henderson, FM 91.5 WMHW, there is also a locally produced one hour newscast run by Professor Rick Sykes and performed and technically produced by students called News Central 34, as well as the student-run college TV station MHTV. In 2005, a student-operated music label called Moore Media Records (MMR) was established.

In addition, the university owns and operates WCMU-TV, the region's PBS station, and WCMU-FM, the NPR affiliate. Both stations serve most of Northern Michigan, including the eastern Upper Peninsula, through a network of repeater stations.

Also established in 2003 is White Pine Music, the recording label of the CMU School of Music.

On February 2, 2008, Central Michigan University's online magazine, Grand Central Magazine, was launched. Currently updated weekly, the magazine is run through CMU's Department of Journalism and features magazine style features from the world of sports, entertainment, style, technology and travel.

Songs of CMU

Fight Song (primary fight song)

The Fighting Chippewa
Fight, Central, down the field,
Fight for victory!
Fight, fellows, never yield,
We're with you, oh varsity!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Onward with banners bold, to our colors we'll be true
Fight for maroon and gold!
Down the field for CMU!

Varsity! Rah! Rah!
Victory! Rah! Rah!
CHIPPEWA, we're proud of our nickname!
Hear our song!
Loud and strong!
CENTRAL is going to win this game!

Come on and...
(Repeat first stanza)
by Howard 'Howdy' Loomis, Class of '35

Hail to the Chippewa! (Secondary Fight Song)

Hail to the Chippewa
All hail to the Chippewa!
Those valiant men who wear maroon and gold
will fight, fight, fight, our honor to uphold!
Hail to the Chippewa
All hail to the Chippewa!
We salute you warriors brave and true,
Win or lose, we're proud of you!

by Norman C. Dietz

Alma Mater

Alma Mater hear us now,
Ever more we praise thee.
Hear us pledge our sacred vow,
Ever to defend thee.

Mighty Mother, queen of Earth eternal,
Precious emblem of our lives supreme.
Ever symbolizing truth and knowledge,
In glorified esteem.

(Repeat first stanza)

Words and Music by Ruth Mavis, class of 1929

Greek life

Social Fraternities:
Alpha Chi Rho, Alpha Sigma Phi, Beta Theta Pi, Delta Chi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Kappa Tau, Phi Sigma Kappa, Phi Sigma Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Lambda Beta, and Sigma Tau Gamma.

Social Sororities:
Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Lambda Omega, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Alpha Sigma Tau, Delta Phi Epsilon, Delta Zeta, Phi Mu, Phi Sigma Sigma, Sigma Kappa, Sigma Sigma Sigma, and Zeta Tau Alpha.

The majority of Greek houses are located in the student neighborhood just north of campus. Main Street is home to many of these houses and has traditionally been a staple on the CMU social life. The few remaining houses are located south of campus on Deerfield Road.

The CMU Promise

In July 2005, CMU made national headlines by offering the "CMU Promise", a program that raised tuition rates by nineteen percent for incoming freshmen, but guaranteed these rates would be frozen for "up to" the next five years. The program was implemented as a response to shrinking state funding streams. Modeled after a program at Western Illinois University, the tuition guarantee is the first of its kind in Michigan. The university kept its commitment to the promise in 2006, as tuition rates for all undergraduate students between their second and fifth years were kept constant. However, tuition rates for incoming freshmen increased by nearly 18% to an in-state figure of $251 per credit hour, a rate that will remain constant until summer of 2011.

On 14 February 2008, the Board of Trustees voted to discontinue the CMU Promise for incoming freshmen and transfer students, effective Fall 2008.

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