We began celebrating the Centennial of the Graduate School in January with special events and special funding opportunities, and we’ll continue into the fall with projects throughout the university funded by the Graduate School as we mark our first one hundred years. However, 1912 saw the formal institution of a graduate school at U-M; it was not the beginning of graduate education at our university.
As we were planning ways to celebrate our Centennial year we thought it would be fun to put together an illustrated timeline; that will be up on our website in the fall. Finding material was easy, as anyone who’s even taken a look at the Bentley Library’s website will know. It’s an incredible treasure and if you have an interest in U-M in the recent or distant past you should take a look: http://bentley.umich.edu/.
But planning the timeline brought up the question: are we talking only about the history of the Graduate School only or about graduate education at Michigan? We opted for the latter. After all, we’re not celebrating a building or an administrative decision but the entire tradition.
I recognized the opportunity to tell our story in another way, too. My job doesn’t provide the time to write the entire history of graduate education at Michigan (I wish!) but at least I could put together a summary of each decade. So that’s what we’re going to include with the timeline. But how much more fun to share each decade here in the blog and work our way up to the present time.
Writing the history for each decade also provided the opportunity to answer some of the questions I’ve heard many times over the past fifteen years that I’ve been working here. What does the Graduate School actually do? Why do we need a Graduate School? Did the Graduate School always have that role at the university? What does the Graduate School at U-M do that’s different from other graduate schools at other universities?
Don’t worry, I won’t be expecting you to slog through footnotes and appendices. It’s a summary of developments in each decade, not my dissertation! I do want to begin by listing the main sources I used, though, and I know many Michigan fans would enjoy taking a look through them, too.
The first is an excellent read, The Making of the University of Michigan, 1817-1992 by Howard H. Peckham, edited and updated by Margaret L. Steneck and Nicholas H. Steneck. The other sources are all available online, three on the Bentley Library’s website and one on Rackham’s website. These are:
- The University of Michigan An Encyclopedic Survey in Four Volumes, edited by Wilfred B. Shaw. http://name.umdl.umich.edu/AAS3302.0001.001
- History of the University of Michigan, by the late Burke A. Hinsdale, with biographical sketches of the regents and members of the university Senate from 1837 to 1906, edited by Isaac N. Demmon. http://name.umdl.umich.edu/ADX8153.0001.001
- The Bentley Image Library. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/b/bhl
- A Chronicle of Graduate Education 1845 to 1982, Mary M. Easthope. http://www.rackham.umich.edu/about_us/what_is_rackham/chronicle/
My post today is just to provide context and an introduction to the “history of” posts we’ll begin to run next week. And I really do welcome any comments or questions on any of them!
About the Author
Pat McCune, Senior Project Manager, Rackham Graduate School
Published in: Graduate School News