When it first opened its doors in 1899 as Northern State Normal School, 32 students were greeted by a faculty of six on a 22-acre campus. Northern's first day of classes, now celebrated as NMU's birthday, was held on September 19, 1899.
During this time, educating teachers was the sole mission of the school. Northern underwent its first name change to Northern State Teacher's College in 1927, and changed again in 1942 to Northern Michigan College of Education.
From College to University
As enrollment swelled in the '50s and '60s, this small teacher's college became a diversified institution with dramatic growth in faculty and facilities. With the diversified courses came a new name, Northern Michigan College, in 1955.
Under a state constitution in 1963, Northern, like all public institutions in Michigan, was granted university status and an autonomous Board of Trustees, as well as its name change to today's Northern Michigan University.
The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives house the historical records of Northern Michigan University and historical materials documenting the history of the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan, including Alger, Delta, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee and Schoolcraft counties.