MSU Facts

Michigan State University Spartans work to advance the common good with uncommon will. The nation’s pioneer land-grant university, MSU began as a bold experiment that democratized higher education and helped bring science and innovation into everyday life. Today, MSU is one of the top research universities in the world—on one of the biggest, greenest campuses in the nation—and is home to a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists, scientists and leaders.



Founded in 1855

Prototype for 69 land-grant institutions established under the Morrill Act of 1862

First institution of higher learning in the United States to teach scientific agriculture

Official name changes

February 12, 1855 – Agricultural College of the State of Michigan

March 15, 1861 – State Agricultural College

June 2, 1909 – Michigan Agricultural College

May 1, 1925 – Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science

July 1, 1955 – Michigan State University of Agriculture and Applied Science

January 1, 1964 – Michigan State University


  1. Joseph R. Williams (1857–1859)
  2. Lewis R. Fisk (1859–1862)
  3. Theophilus C. Abbot (1862–1884)
  4. Edwin Willits (1885–1889)
  5. Oscar Clute (1889–1893)
  6. Lewis B. Gorton (1893–1895)
  7. Jonathan L. Snyder (1896–1915)
  8. Frank S. Kedzie (1915–1921)
  9. David Friday (1921–1923)
  10. Kenyon L. Butterfield (1924–1928)
  11. Robert S. Shaw (1928–1941)
  12. John A. Hannah (1941–1969)
  13. Walter Adams (1969–1970)
  14. Clifton R. Wharton Jr. (1970–1978)
  15. Edgar L. Harden (1978–1979)
  16. Cecil Mackey (1979–1985)
  17. John DiBiaggio (1985–1992)
  18. Gordon Guyer (1992–1993)
  19. M. Peter McPherson (1993–2004)
  20. Lou Anna K. Simon (2005 –)


Nickname: Spartans

Colors: Green and white

Mascot: Sparty

Conference: Big Ten

Campus profile

Located in East Lansing, three miles east of Michigan’s capitol in Lansing

5,200-acre campus with 2,100 acres in existing or planned development

545 buildings, including 103 with academic or instructional space

Approximately 19,600 acres throughout Michigan used for agricultural and natural resources research and education

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Lou Anna K. Simon

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

June Pierce Youatt

Board of Trustees

Brian Breslin, Chairman (term ends January 1, 2019)

Joel I. Ferguson, Vice Chairman (term ends January 1, 2021)

Dianne Byrum (term ends January 1, 2025)

Melanie Foster (term ends January 1, 2023)

Dan Kelly (term ends January 1, 2025)

Mitch Lyons (term ends January 1, 2019)

Brian Mosallam (term ends January 1, 2021)

George Perles (term ends January 1, 2023)

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Students (fall 2016)

Approximately 50,344 total: from 82 counties in Michigan, all 50 states in the United States, and 133 other countries

39,090 undergraduate, 11,254 graduate and professional

51.7 percent women, 48.3 percent men

18.7 percent students of color, 14.4 percent international students

Faculty and academic staff

Approximately 5,542

Support staff employees

Approximately 6,974

Living alumni

Approximately 552,000 worldwide

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More than 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional study

Outstanding record of students earning prestigious national and international scholarships: Goldwater, 43; Rhodes, 17; Churchill, 18; Truman, 16; Marshall, 16; Udall, 12; Hollings, 7; Gates, 4; and Mitchell, 3

Freshman class profile (middle 50 percent of fall 2016 entering class): high school GPA, 3.5–3.94; SAT combined score (math and critical reading), 1035–1210; ACT composite score, 24–29

More than 275 study abroad programs in more than 60 countries on all continents

Degree-granting colleges

  • College of Agriculture and Natural Resources • Ronald L. Hendrick
  • Residential College in Arts and Humanities • Dean: Stephen L. Esquith
  • College of Arts and Letters • Dean: Christopher P. Long
  • Eli Broad College of Business/Eli Broad Graduate School of Management • Dean: Sanjay Gupta
  • College of Communication Arts and Sciences • Dean: Prabu David
  • College of Education •  Dean: Robert Floden
  • College of Engineering • Dean: Leo Kempel
  • College of Human Medicine • Dean: Norman J. Beauchamp Jr.
  • James Madison College • Dean: Sherman W. Garnett
  • College of Law (affiliated) • Dean: Lawrence Ponoroff
  • Lyman Briggs College • Dean: Elizabeth H. Simmons
  • College of Music • Dean: James Forger
  • College of Natural Science • Dean: R. James Kirkpatrick
  • College of Nursing • Dean: Randolph Rasch
  • College of Osteopathic Medicine • Dean: William D. Strampel
  • College of Social Science • Dean: Rachel Croson
  • College of Veterinary Medicine • Dean: John Baker
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External funding totaled $589 million in 2015–16

Top federal funding agencies: Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and Department of Justice

Accelerating key research areas through the recruitment of more than 100 new faculty members as part of the Global Impact Initiative 

Selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to design and establish the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, a $730 million facility that will advance understanding of rare nuclear isotopes and the evolution of the cosmos

Home of AgBioResearch, which funds the research of more than 300 scientists who conduct research in on-campus facilities and at 13 outlying research centers across the state

Notable discoveries include homogenization of milk and the anticancer drug cisplatin

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Average annual funding of $75 million for international work 

Received $45 million from The MasterCard Foundation in support of a nine-year partnership to provide talented yet financially disadvantaged youths from Africa with access to quality education

Ranks No. 7 in the nation for study abroad participation and No. 11 for international student enrollment

Approximately 1,400 faculty and staff members engaged in international research and teaching

More than 300 international institutional partnership agreements in 80 countries

25 internationally focused centers, institutes, and offices

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Reaches into all 83 counties in Michigan through MSU Extension to share resources with individuals, communities, and businesses

Academic and professional degree and certificate programs extended to off-campus learners, with more than 25,000 enrollments in 115 online and blended programs

Music education, music therapy, and performance opportunities offered to residents of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities in Greater Lansing and Detroit by MSU’s Community Music School

Offers expanding community connections and opportunities for community-based scholarly work in Southeast Michigan through the MSU Detroit Center

Registered 27,475 students for service-learning and civic engagement placements in 2015-16

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U.S. News & World Report ranks MSU

  • 75th among the world's top 100 universities 
  • 45th among the nation's public universities 
  • First in the nation for 22 straight years for graduate programs in elementary and secondary education
  • First in the nation for graduate programs in nuclear physics, organizational psychology, and rehabilitation counseling 
  • First in the nation for undergraduate program in supply chain

Ranks 40th among public universities for in-state students in Kiplinger’s 2016 edition of Best Values in Public Colleges

Member of the prestigious 62-member Association of American Universities

Among the largest single-campus housing systems in the country, with 27 residence halls in five neighborhoods and three apartment communities

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General fund budgeted revenues (2016–17): $1,317,000,000

  • Tuition and fees: 71.2 percent
  • State appropriations: 21.2 percent
  • Other university funds: 7.6 percent

General fund budgeted expenditures (2016–17): $1,317,000,000

  • Scholarships and fellowships: 10.1 percent
  • Physical plant operations and institutional support: 23.2 percent
  • Academic and related services: 66.8 percent

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25 varsity squads: 12 intercollegiate sports for men and 13 intercollegiate sports for women

19 straight NCAA appearances by men’s basketball team, including nine Final Four appearances

One of the largest intramural sports programs in the nation

Facilities: Spartan Stadium, Breslin Student Events Center, Daugherty Football Building/Skandalaris Football Center, Berkowitz Basketball Complex, Munn Ice Arena, Jenison Field House, McLane Baseball Stadium (Kobs Field), DeMartin Stadium (soccer), Forest Akers Golf Courses, McCaffree Pool, Ralph Young Field (field hockey/track), Old College Field, MSU Tennis Facility, and three intramural facilities

Culture and entertainment

Broad Art Museum: committed to exploring global contemporary culture and ideas through art

Wharton Center for Performing Arts: four venues–Cobb Great Hall, Pasant Theatre, MSU Auditorium, and Fairchild Theatre–host a variety of cultural events

Breslin Student Events Center: state-of-the-art arena hosts special events such as concerts, commencements, ice shows, sporting events, banquets, conventions, and trade shows

MSU Museum: offers anthropological, biological, folklife, geological, and historical exhibits and programs

Abrams Planetarium: houses a Digistar 5 computer graphics planetarium projector and a 150-seat Sky Theater

Horticulture Gardens: six distinct gardens over 7.5 acres provide a living laboratory where plants and people grow together

Student organizations

Registered student groups: more than 650 each year

Student media: The State News and Impact 89 FM radio

Greek-letter community: more than 50 nationally affiliated organizations

Programs for persons with disabilities

Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities: provides disability-related information and referrals

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