WMU Campus History

1957 Campus Maps : Western Michigan University

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1958 photo of Burnham Residence Hall

WMU Seal

1957 was a momentous year for Western Michigan College. It officially became Western Michigan University, composed of five schools:

  • Applied Arts and Sciences
  • Business
  • Education
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Graduate Studies

bullet 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.

bullet In many ways Western was well poised for this transition.  Much of the institutional growth from Teachers College to University was in science and technology areas.  The curricula and programs developed over the 30s, 40s, and 50s often reflected a regional need to train people to support local industry, such as agriculture, paper and pulp technology, automotive and airplane technology, and chemical manufacturing.  

bullet 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.

bullet 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.




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1903 W. Michigan Ave.
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5313 USA
(269) 387-8543 or 387-8544 | (269) 387-8818 Fax


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