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MSU Facts

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community



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)
    1. John Engler (2018–2019, Interim)
    2. Satish Udpa (2019, Acting)
  21. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. 



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 

566 buildings, including 110 with academic or instructional space

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



Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. 

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Teresa A. Sullivan, interim provost 

Executive Vice President for Administration


Executive Vice President for Government, Communications and Advancement

Kathleen Wilbur

Board of Trustees

Dianne Byrum, Chairperson (term ends Jan. 1, 2025)

Joel I. Ferguson (term ends Jan. 1, 2021)

Melanie Foster (term ends Jan. 1, 2023)

Dan Kelly, Vice Chairperson (term ends Jan. 1, 2025)

Brian Mosallam (term ends Jan. 1, 2021)

Nancy Schlichting (term ends Jan. 1, 2023)

Brianna T. Scott (term ends Jan. 1, 2027)

Kelly Tebay (term ends Jan. 1, 2027) 


Students (fall 2018)

Approximately 50,351 total: from all 83 counties in Michigan, all 50 states in the United States and Washington, D.C. and 141 other countries

39,423 undergraduate, 10,928 graduate and professional

51.9 percent women, 48.1 percent men

20.6 percent students of color, 12.4 percent international students

Faculty and academic staff

Approximately 5,722

Support staff employees

Approximately 7,201

Living alumni

Approximately 576,000 worldwide


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

Outstanding record of students earning prestigious national and international scholarships: Goldwater, 46; Rhodes, 19; Churchill, 18; Truman, 16; Marshall, 16; Udall, 12; Hollings, 7; Gates, 4; and Mitchell, 4

Freshman class profile (middle 50 percent of fall 2018 entering class): high school GPA, 3.5–3.9; SAT combined score (math and critical reading), 1130–1300; ACT composite score, 23–29

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 • Dean: Lawrence Ponoroff
  • Lyman Briggs College • Dean: Michele Jackson
  • College of Music • Dean: James Forger
  • College of Natural Science • Dean: Phillip M. Duxbury
  • College of Nursing • Dean: Randolph Rasch
  • College of Osteopathic Medicine • Dean: Andrea Amalfitano
  • College of Social Science • Dean: Rachel Croson
  • College of Veterinary Medicine • Dean: Birgit Puschner


Total research expenditures totaled $695 million in 2017

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, environmental science, precision medicine, advanced physical sciences and computation

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

Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering brings together algorithm development and analysis, data science, high-performance computing and applications across disciplines in science and engineering  

Home of AgBioResearch, which funds the research of more than 325 scientists who conduct research in on-campus facilities and at 14 outlying research centers across the state


Average annual funding of $77 million for international work over past five years

Ranks No. 8 in the nation for education abroad participation and No. 18 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 40,000 enrollments in 140 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 2017-18 academic year, 32,241 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 25 straight years for graduate programs in elementary and secondary education
  • First in the nation for graduate programs in African history, higher education administration, nuclear physics, organizational psychology, rehabilitation counseling and supply chain management
  • First in the nation for undergraduate program in supply chain

One of the top 70 universities in the world, according to the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2018

Ranks 40th among public universities for in-state students in Kiplinger’s 2018 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. 18, economics and business at No. 28 and environment/ecology at No. 34

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 (2018–19): $1,391,500,000

  • Tuition and fees: 72.1%
  • State appropriations: 20.6%
  • Other university funds: 7.3%

General fund budgeted expenditures (2018–19): $1,391,500,000

  • Labor: 2.7%
  • Supplies, services and equipment: 32.3%
  • Academic and related services: 65%



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

Women’s golf team named 2018 Big Ten Champions, its second straight Big Ten Championship title

In spring 2019, 116 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors. MSU led the conference with eight student-athletes posting a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA.

22 straight NCAA appearances by men’s basketball team, including 10 Final Fours

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