WMU Campus History

1940 Campus Maps : Western State Teachers College

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Western Michigan College of Education


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bullet Like most of the country - indeed, most of the world - Western State Teachers College was adversely affected by the Great Depression.  There were staff cutbacks and salary reductions.  Enrollment dropped to a low of 1,388 in 1934 from the 1927 high of 2,316.

bullet However, not long after Paul V. Sangren became President in 1936, the State Board of Education strengthened the requirements for teacher certification.  New elementary and secondary teachers were to complete four years of college and current teachers were to upgrade their certification with additional college credit.  This led not only to a greater demand for four-year degrees, but to a need for a master's level curricula.  The first graduate-level classes at the state teachers colleges were offered in 1938-39, administered by the University of Michigan graduate school.

bullet By the fall of 1940, 2,550 students were enrolled at Western, of which 208 were graduate students.  The physical campus had expanded and been fully developed in the area bounded by Davis Street, Bellevue Place, Austin Street, Oliver Street, and highway U.S. 12, which ran parallel to the Michigan Central Railroad tracks.

bullet In 1941 the State Legislature officially changed Western's title to the Western Michigan College of Education, a reflection not only of the enrollment growth and the developing graduate programs, but of the increase in stature of the teaching profession in the State of Michigan.

bullet At this point Western was poised for further expansion.  Thanks to a gift from Mrs. Anna Carstens Kanley, a donation to the State from the Upjohn Foundation, and a large appropriation from the State, additional properties were purchased to the west of the railroad tracks.  A total of 155 acres were purchased for $135,000, a phenomenal deal even by the standards of the day.

bullet The Western campus grew from roughly 60 acres in 1936, to 75 acres in 1940, to 230 acres in 1946.

Circa 1940 football game in the recently completed Waldo Stadium

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Location Map

Campus Map

Note: Comparing the 1925 and the 1940 maps, there are discrepancies with some of the street names.   Oakland Drive and Michigan Avenue start and stop at different places on the two maps, and the 1940 map shows Michigan Avenue parallel to the railroad instead of crossing it.



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