Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan USA. Founded in 1855, it was the pioneer land-grant institution and served as a model for future land-grant colleges in the United States under the 1862 Morrill Act. Its alumni include at least six winners of the Pulitzer Prize. MSU’s record of Rhodes Scholars has led the Big Ten since the 1970s. MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, telecommunication, and music therapy. Today its study-abroad program is the largest of any single-campus university in the country, offering more than 200 programs in more than 60 countries on all continents including Antarctica. It is considered to be one of America's Public Ivy universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States.
Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. After World War II, the number of students tripled as the institution became a major university. Today, MSU is the eighth-largest university in the United States, with 47,100 students and 2,954 faculty members.
MSU's Division I sports teams are called the Spartans. They compete in the Big Ten Conference in all sports except ice hockey, in which the team is part of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. MSU's football team won the Rose Bowl in 1954, 1956, and 1988 and boasts six national championships. Its men's basketball team won the NCAA National Championship in 1979 and 2000 while currently enjoying a streak of six Final Four appearances in the last 12 seasons. MSU men's ice hockey has won national titles in 1966, 1986, and 2007. Cross Country has historically been Michigan State's most successful sport; especially during a four-decade period spanning roughly 1930-1970 during which the Spartans won eight NCAA championships and numerous other conference and national titles.
The Michigan Constitution of 1850 called for the creation of an "agricultural school", though it was not until February 12, 1855 that Michigan Governor Kinsley S. Bingham signed a bill establishing the United States' first agriculture college, the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. Classes began on May 13, 1857 with three buildings, five faculty members, and 63 male students. The first president, Joseph R. Williams, designed a curriculum that required more scientific study than practically any undergraduate institution of the era. It balanced science, liberal arts, and practical training. The curriculum excluded Latin and Greek studies, since most applicants did not study any classical languages in their rural high schools. However, it did require three hours of daily manual labor, which kept costs down for both the students and the College. Despite Williams' innovations and his defense of education for the masses, the State Board of Education saw Williams' curriculum as elitist. They forced him to resign in 1859 and reduced the curriculum to a two-year vocational program.
Land Grant pioneer
In 1860, Joseph R. Williams became acting lieutenant governor and helped pass the Reorganization Act of 1861. This gave the College a four-year curriculum and the power to grant master's degrees. Under the act, a newly created body, known as the State Board of Agriculture, took over from the State Board of Education in running the institution. The College changed its name to State Agricultural College, and its first class graduated in the same year. However, there was no time for an elaborate graduation ceremony: the Civil War had just begun, and the first alumni enlisted to the Union Army. The following year, Abraham Lincoln signed the First Morrill Act of 1862 to support similar colleges, making the Michigan school a national model. Williams never witnessed the cause to which he had dedicated so much of his life, having taken ill and died the previous year.
MSU's sprawling campus is located in East Lansing. The campus is perched on the banks of the Red Cedar River. Development of the campus started in 1856 with three buildings: a multipurpose building called College Hall, a dormitory later called "Saints' Rest", and a barn. Today, MSU's contiguous campus consists of 5,200 acres (21 km2), 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of which are developed. There are 556 buildings: 100 for academics, 131 for agriculture, 166 for housing and food service, and 42 for athletics. Overall, the university has 22,763,025 square feet (2,114,754.2 m2) of total indoor space. Connecting it all is 26 miles (42 km) of roads and 100 miles (160 km) of sidewalks. MSU also owns 44 non-campus properties, totaling 22,000 acres (89 km2) in 28 different counties.
The oldest part of campus lies on the north bank of the Red Cedar. It includes Collegiate Gothic architecture, plentiful trees, and curving roads with few straight lines. It was in this area that the College built its first three buildings, of which none survive. Other historic buildings north of the river include Cowles House, the president's official residence, and Beaumont Tower, a carillon clock tower marking the site of College Hall, the original classroom building. To the east lies Eustace-Cole Hall, America's first freestanding laboratory for horticulture. Other landmarks include the bronze statue of former president John A. Hannah, the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, and the painted boulder known as "The Rock", which is a popular spot for theatre, tailgating, and candlelight vigils. On the northwest corner of campus lies the University's hotel, the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. The university also has a museum, initiated in 1857. MSU Museum is one of the oldest museums in the Midwest and is accredited by the American Association of Museums.
The campus south of the river consists mostly of post-World War II International Style buildings with sparse foliage, relatively straight roadways, and numerous parking lots. The "2020 Vision" Master Plan proposes replacing these parking lots with parking ramps and green space, but these plans will take many years to reach fruition. As part of the master plan, the University erected a new bronze statue of "The Spartan" in 2005. This replica replaced the original modernist terra cotta statue, which can still be seen inside Spartan Stadium. Notable academic and research buildings on the South Campus include the Cyclotron and the College of Law. This part of campus is home to the MSU Horticulture Gardens and the adjoining 4-H Children's Garden. South of the gardens lie the Canadian National and CSX railroads, which divide the main campus from thousands of acres of university-owned farmland. The university's agricultural facilities include the Horse, Dairy Cattle, Beef Cattle, Sheep, and Poultry Teaching and Research Farms, as well as the Air Quality Control Lab and the Diagnostics Center for Population and Animal Health.