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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 –2018)


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

557 buildings, including 106 with academic or instructional space

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


Interim President

John Engler

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)


Students (fall 2017)

Approximately 50,019 total: from all 83 counties in Michigan, all 50 states in the United States and Washington, D.C., and 133 other countries

38,996 undergraduate, 11,023 graduate and professional

51.6 percent women, 48.4 percent men

19.5 percent students of color, 13.7 percent international students

Faculty and academic staff

Approximately 5,666

Support staff employees

Approximately 7,115

Living alumni

Approximately 563,000 worldwide


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

Outstanding record of students earning prestigious national and international scholarships: Goldwater, 44; Rhodes, 18; Churchill, 18; Truman, 16; Marshall, 16; Udall, 12; Hollings, 7; Gates, 4; and Mitchell, 4

Freshman class profile (middle 50 percent of fall 2017 entering class): high school GPA, 3.5–3.9; SAT combined score (math and critical reading), 1120–1290; ACT composite score, 23–28

More than 275 education 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 • Interim Dean: Mark Largent
  • College of Music • Dean: James Forger
  • College of Natural Science • Dean: Phillip M. Duxbury
  • College of Nursing • Dean: Randolph Rasch
  • College of Osteopathic Medicine • Interim Dean: Andrea Amalfitano
  • College of Social Science • Dean: Rachel Croson
  • College of Veterinary Medicine • Dean: John Baker


External funding totaled $596 million in 2016–17

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

Global Impact Initiative is recruiting more than 100 new faculty members in research areas in which MSU can make the most impact while expanding human knowledge, including genomics, environment, precision medicine, advanced physical sciences, and big data

Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, a $730 million scientific user facility funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, MSU, and the State of Michigan, will advance understanding of rare isotopes and provide research opportunities for scientists and students from around the globe

Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering aims to foster collaboration among the sciences on campus and beyond, creating endless possibilities for transforming patient care with new biomedical discoveries  

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


Average annual funding of $85 million for international work over past five years

Ranks No. 10 in the nation for education abroad participation and No. 16 for international student enrollment

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

More than 325 international institutional partnership agreements in 80 countries

More than 30 internationally focused centers, institutes, and offices


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

Offers academic and professional degree and certificate programs extended to off-campus learners, with more than 30,000 enrollments in 136 online, blended, and off-campus 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

For the 2016-17 academic year, 32,223 students participated in community-engaged learning and/or community service opportunities 


U.S. News & World Report ranks MSU

  • 85th among the world's top 100 universities 
  • 35th among the nation's public universities 
  • First in the nation for 24 straight years for graduate programs in elementary and secondary education
  • First in the nation for graduate programs in African history, nuclear physics, organizational psychology, rehabilitation counseling, and supply chain management
  • First in the nation for undergraduate program in supply chain

One of the top 80 universities in the world, according to the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2017

Ranks 38th among public universities for in-state students in Kiplinger’s 2017 edition of Best Values in Public Colleges

Ranks in the top 30 in the world in plant and animal science at No. 9, agricultural sciences at No. 17, economics and business at No. 26, and environment/ecology at No. 30

Among the top-producing research institutions of Fulbright Scholars in the United States, 2016-17

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


General fund budgeted revenues (2017–18): $1,343,500,000

  • Tuition and fees: 72 percent
  • State appropriations: 21 percent
  • Other university funds: 7 percent

General fund budgeted expenditures (2017–18): $1,343,500,000

  • Scholarships and fellowships: 10.5 percent
  • Physical plant operations and institutional support: 21.1 percent
  • Academic and related services: 68.4 percent



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

MSU women's golf team named 2017 Big Ten Champions

In spring 2017, 141 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten Honors. Five Spartan athletes earned a perfect 4.0 GPA, the most among any Big Ten university

20 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 900

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