MSU celebrates 158th birthday Tuesday
“Probably freshman year, I remember I was with a group of friends and we didn’t have bus passes. We walked from Brody (Complex) to Hubbard (Hall) and it was burning hot outside. We got lost twice.”
social work junior
If not for a signature made 158 years ago Tuesday, MSU might not be the university it is today.
On Feb. 12, 1855, Gov. Kinsley Bingham signed legislation establishing the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan — the first in many steps to create the “global university” experts call MSU today.
“For Michigan State University, (it’s) a day to celebrate the powerful vision that represented by the Morrill Act,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said during the State of the University address Tuesday.
“A lot has been said about its role in powering the prosperity for Americans being involved in higher education around the globe.”
More than a century later and that day still is guiding the direction of the university, although MSU has adapted to new needs of both students and the work force, University Archives and Historical Collection Assistant Director Portia Vescio said.
“Probably when Spartan Remix used to be in the Union when I was a freshman.” Will Harrell advertising senior
“Probably going to the Wisconsin-MSU football game because it was my first MSU game and Kirk (Cousins) had that Hail Mary.” Brion Thomas history sophomore
“When I got the TA position with the math department.” Weicong Zhou mathematics senior
College Hall was the first building at MSU, then Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. This photo was taken in 1880.
“It’s a testament that what they were doing back in those early years was necessary,” Vescio said of MSU’s longevity.
“Every great university continues to grow and adjust to meet the needs of the time. MSU has done that over the years, and I think MSU will continue to do that.”
Vescio said although MSU has grown tremendously from its about 70-person class in 1857, many of the university’s core values have remained the same since the start.
“A lot of the seeds of what we do today really were developed back in the early years,” Vescio said. “They’ve just grown at scale that people back then couldn’t imagine.”
MSU Director of Arts and Cultural Initiatives Kurt Dewhurst said MSU’s original mission as the first land-grant university was to help and teach the people of Michigan — an idea that has expanded to helping and teaching people from around the world.
“MSU has grown from being that pioneer land-grant university to being a university dedicated to a number of things and (that has) contributed to a number of things in society,” Dewhurst said. “I see a bright future and a more engaged future as a global university for Michigan State.”
Staff reporter Isabella Shaya contributed to this report.