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149 years and counting …

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May 18, 2017

Author and humorist Mark Twain was credited with the quote: “A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes.”

For thousands of Wayne State alumni, faculty and staff, the countdown has begun leading to the university’s sesquicentennial, marking 150 years of growth and commitment to higher education, research and the Detroit community.

On this date, May 18, in 1868, Wayne State University was officially founded as the Detroit Medical College. The first academic term began on Nov. 3, 1868.

Another significant date was April 22, 1956, when the Michigan Legislature adopted Act 183 “to establish and regulate a state institution of higher learning to be known as Wayne State University.” This legislative act opened the doors for Wayne State to join Michigan’s other select public universities.

Wayne State’s timeline, however, contains numerous significant dates, as outlined in two published books about the founding and developments of one of Michigan’s 15 public universities.

Combined, A Place of Light: The History of Wayne State University by Leslie L. Hanawalt (Wayne State University Press, 1968) and Reminisces of Wayne, edited by Henry V. Bohm and Paul J. Pentecost (Cushing-Malloy, 1999), include 25 pages of bulleted historical events concluding in 1995.

During the next 12 months, momentum will build as the university community prepares and engages in campuswide activities and events marking Wayne State’s rich history and sesquicentennial. The official celebration period will run from Jan. 1, 2018 to Nov. 1, 2018.

“Throughout the year leading up to its sesquicentennial, Wayne State will celebrate its history and its future focus through communications, promotional materials, collaborative initiatives, events and discussions that demonstrate the university’s commitment to our stakeholders, our community and the advancement of knowledge,” said Michael Wright, vice president of marketing and communications and chief of staff. “We will tell our story with pride and clarity and facilitate the telling of our story by others in ways that leave no doubt regarding our indelible, positive impact and vision for the next chapter of the university.”

Further information about Wayne State’s sesquicentennial events and celebration will be released as it becomes available through wayne.edu, Today@Wayne, campuswide emails and other e-publications.

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