Founded as the Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute in 1892, the university took on its current name in 1959 following a period of considerable post-war growth. CMU has also previously been known as the Central Michigan Normal School, the Central State Teachers College, and the Central Michigan College of Education. In 1925, a fire destroyed the campus’ main building; the university built Warriner Hall, the school’s main administration building, in its place.
CMU’s lush Mount Pleasant campus spans 480 acres, though students can typically cross it by foot in about 15 minutes. The Warriner Mall, a shaded area near the center of campus, is a popular destination for students to sit around to study or relax. The Bovee University Center, located at the center of campus, is a meeting place for many students and faculty. CMU’s Student Activity Center is considered one of the finest college recreational facilities in the Midwest. The SAC was built in 1990 as an addition to Rose Arena.
While technically a city, Mount Pleasant (about two and a half hours northwest of Detroit by car) has a small-town feel, totaling just over 25,000 residents and covering 7.8 square miles. The 80-mile long Chippewa River flows through Mount Pleasant; the river and adjacent parks are popular destinations for nature and fishing enthusiasts. The city is also home to the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. Downtown Mount Pleasant has a few bars and restaurants that students frequent on weekends. The Ziibwing Center, a Native American museum, is a popular cultural destination and reminder of Mount Pleasant’s relationship with local tribes.
On the last Friday of classes before spring exams, Gentle Friday is held in Warriner Hall to help students unwind with free food, music, and games.
Every year on the 30th of October, a Legends of the Dark tour is held on North Campus. Tour guides regale students with ghost stories about the history of CMU and its campus.
The first Wednesday after Labor Day, retailers from the Mount Pleasant area set up booths on campus where they display their merchandise and give away free samples, giving new students a chance to see what the area has to offer.
One of the more popular events held during Greek Week is Greek Mock Rock, in which fraternities and sororities perform lip synched versions of their favorite songs and dances.
Jeff Daniels (attended) starred in films including Terms of Endearment and Arachnophobia.
Robert Griffin (1947) is a former US Representative and US Senator representing Michigan.
John Grogan (1979) is a journalist and the author of Marley and Me.
Chris Kaman (2003) is an NBA player for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Dan Majerle (1987) is a basketball color commentator and former NBA player.
The CMU teams, known as the Chippewas, are affiliated with NCAA Division I-A and compete in the Mid-American Conference. The team’s nickname is used with the consent of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, which supported the university in its appeal to retain the nickname in the face of NCAA resistance.
The most popular squad on campus is the football team, which won the Motor City Bowl in 2006 and took home the MAC title in 2006 and 2007. While some students feel that the other teams’ accomplishments are sometimes overshadowed by the football team’s successes, the administration and most students couldn’t be happier about the state of CMU football.
The CMU School of Music operates its own recording label, White Pine Music.
CMU is one of two Midwest schools that operate an island research facility.
More than 60% of CMU students volunteer or perform community service.
CMU is known for its commitment to researching Alzheimer’s disease.
The journalism department launched Grand Central Magazine, a weekly online culture magazine, in February 2008.
Half of the students living on campus are housed in one of the eight dorms that are collectively referred to as the Towers. No matter what day or time it is, the Towers are always buzzing with activity. All of the high-rise buildings are connected in the center by a lobby and residential restaurant, with access to a fitness center in the basement. Five of the dorms, called the Old Towers, are composed of units with a living room, bedroom, and bathroom shared by four people. Units in the other three, known as the New Towers, are not available to freshmen, and offer a living room, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchenette shared by four students.
About a third of CMU’s approximately 20,000 undergraduates live in one of the university’s 22 residence halls, which are split into four divisions: North, East, South, and the Towers.