The early history of the university is an account of originally unrelated colleges and schools which were united in 1933 into a single institution, Wayne University, under the control of the Detroit Board of Education. In 1956, this institution became Wayne State University by formal action of the Governor and Legislature of Michigan. The following specific events are among the most significant in the university's first century of development.
1868 - The Detroit Medical College, forerunner of the School of Medicine, was established.
1881 - The Detroit Normal Training School, forerunner of the College of Education, was established.
1917 - The Detroit Junior College, offering a two-year program in general education, was established in 'Old Main' and later developed into the College of Liberal Arts.
1923 - The Detroit Normal Training School became a four-year degree-granting institution under the name of the Detroit Teachers College. The first degrees were granted in 1924. The Detroit Junior College became the College of the City of Detroit with four-year degree programs. The first degrees were conferred in 1925.
1924 - The College of Pharmacy was organized.
1930 - The first regular graduate courses were offered in Liberal Arts and Education. The first master's degrees were conferred in 1932.
1933 - The College of Engineering and the Graduate School were established.
1933 - The Colleges of Liberal Arts, Education, Engineering, Medicine and Pharmacy and the Graduate School were united by action of the Detroit Board of Education into a university organization, temporarily called the Colleges of the City of Detroit.
1934 - The name Wayne University was adopted, taken from Wayne County and, ultimately, from General Anthony Wayne.
1935 - The School of Public Affairs and Social Work was organized. In 1950 it became the present School of Social Work.
1937 - The Law School, established in 1927 as Detroit City Law School, became part of the university.
1945 - The first doctoral programs were authorized in the fields of Chemistry, Physiological Chemistry and Education.
1945 - The College of Nursing, which began as a program in the College of the City of Detroit, became a separate college.
1946 - The School of Business Administration, originating in the College of Liberal Arts, became the 10th academic unit in the university.
1956 - Wayne University became Wayne State University by Act 183 of Michigan Public Acts of 1956.
1959 - Monteith College was established.
1959 - Wayne State University became a constitutionally established university by popularly adopted amendment to the Michigan Constitution.
1964 - The Division of Urban Extension was established.
1973 - The College of Lifelong Learning was established as successor to the Division of Urban Extension.
1974 - The College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions was formed from merger of the College of Pharmacy and the Division of Allied Health Professions, School of Medicine.
1985 - The School of Fine and Performing Arts and the College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs were established.
1989 - The name of the School of Fine and Performing Arts was changed to the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts.
1993 -The College of Science was established.
2003 - The College of Lifelong Learning joined the College of Urban Labor and Metropolitan Affairs.
2004 - The College of Science and The College of Liberal Arts merged to form The College of Liberal Arts and Science.
2005 - The College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs joined the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.