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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

Feb. 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

Jan. 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

5,300-acre campus 

563 buildings, including 107 with academic or instructional space

Nearly 20,000 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 Health Sciences

Norman J. Beauchamp Jr.

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)

Renee Knake (term ends Jan. 1, 2023)

Brian Mosallam (term ends Jan. 1, 2021)

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

Kelly Tebay (term ends Jan. 1, 2027) 


Students (fall 2019)

49,809 total: from 82 counties in Michigan, all 50 states and 138 other countries

39,176 undergraduate, 10,633 graduate and professional

52% women, 48% men

21.5% students of color, 11.4% international students

Faculty and academic staff

Approximately 5,703

Support staff employees

Approximately 7,365

Living alumni

Nearly 495,000 worldwide


More than 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate and professional study

Outstanding record of students earning prestigious national and international scholarships: Goldwater Scholars, 47; Rhodes Scholars, 20; Marshall Scholars, 18; Churchill Scholars, 16; Truman Scholars, 16; Udall Scholars, 12; Mitchell Scholars, 4; and Gaither (Carnegie) Junior Fellows, 3

Freshman class profile (middle 50 percent of fall 2019 entering class): high school GPA, 3.5–4.0; SAT combined score (math and critical reading), 1130–1310; ACT composite score, 23–29

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

Offers academic and professional degree and certificate programs extended to off-campus learners, with more than 50,000 enrollments in 140 online, blended and off-campus programs

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 • Interim Dean: Aron Sousa
  • James Madison College • Interim Dean: Linda Racioppi
  • 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 • Interim Dean: Mary Finn
  • College of Veterinary Medicine • Dean: Birgit Puschner


Total research expenditures totaled $715 million in 2018

Top federal funding agencies: Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture and Department of Defense

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 $82 million for international work over past five years

Ranks No. 12 in the nation for education abroad participation and No. 25 for international student enrollment

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

340 international institutional partnership agreements in 80 countries

More than 30 internationally focused centers, institutes and offices


Community-engaged work by faculty, staff and students is embedded in each of MSU’s 17 degree-granting colleges

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

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

Stimulates science education and exploration through large-scale public events like the MSU Science Festival, Science Gallery Detroit and the Michigan Science Olympiad State Tournament

Delivered more than $5,818,000,000 in statewide economic impact in 2018, spending more than $589,000,000 with local businesses


U.S. News & World Report ranks MSU

  • 84th among the nation's top 100 universities 
  • 34th among the nation's public universities 
  • First in the nation for 26 straight years for graduate programs in elementary and secondary education
  • First in the nation for graduate programs in African history, curriculum and instruction, 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 2019

Ranks No. 53 among public universities for in-state students in Kiplinger’s 2019 edition of Best Values in Public Colleges

Ranks in the top 40 in the world in plant and animal science at No. 8, agricultural sciences at No. 18  and environment/ecology at No. 38

Member of the prestigious 65-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 (2019–20): $1,449,200,000

  • Tuition and fees: 72.7%
  • State appropriations: 20.1%
  • Other university funds: 7.2%

General fund budgeted expenditures (2019–20): $1,449,200,000

  • Labor: 2.7%
  • Supplies, services and equipment: 32.4%
  • Academic and related services: 64.9%



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

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

Women's cross country named Big Ten Champions in 2019

91% all-time-high graduation success rate for student-athletes

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