1957 was a momentous year for Western Michigan College. It officially became Western Michigan University, composed of five schools:
Internationally 1957 was a momentous year as well: the Soviet Union
launched the Sputnik satellite. This would change greatly how science
and technology were viewed in this country, and would motivate the entire
educational system to produce more scientists and science teachers.
With the addition of the post-WWII baby boom the stage was set for tremendous
growth in post-secondary education. From 1956 to 1966 Western's enrollment
would increase 300%, from 5,300 to over 16,000 full-time students.
The first classroom building on the West Campus was the Science Building (McCracken Hall) in 1949. The nation's first Printing Management program was started in 1955, and a Paper Industries Laboratory was added to McCracken Hall in 1959 to support the nation's second Paper Technology program.
1957 also saw the completion of the Elmwood Apartments (married student housing), the Theodore S. Henry Hall for Men, the Student Center, and the Physical Education Building and Field House (the Gary Center and Read Fieldhouse). Waldo Library was under construction, and an addition to McCracken was in planning.