Northern Michigan University

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Northern Michigan University
Type Public
Established 1899
Endowment $50 million (FY2017)
President Fritz Erickson
Academic staff
Students 7,290
Undergraduates 6,642 (Winter 2017)
Postgraduates 648 (Winter 2017)
Location Marquette, Michigan, U.S.
46°33′32″N 87°24′19″W / 46.55901°N 87.40525°W / 46.55901; -87.40525Coordinates: 46°33′32″N 87°24′19″W / 46.55901°N 87.40525°W / 46.55901; -87.40525
Campus Small City, 350 acres (1.4 km2)
Colors Green and Gold
Nickname Wildcats
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division II (primary)
NCAA Division I, men's hockey
Mascot Wildcat Willy
Northern Michigan University

Northern Michigan University (NMU) is a four-year college public university established in 1899 and located in Marquette, in the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. With enrollment of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Northern Michigan University is the Upper Peninsula's largest university.


Michigan's Constitution has established an autonomous Board of Control consisting of 8 members appointed by the Governor to eight year terms whose responsibility it is to hire/fire the President and oversee all expenditures of the University. Two of its members rotate off/on in two year intervals. The board elects its Chair.


Northern Michigan University was established in 1899 by the Michigan Legislature as Northern State Normal School to offer teacher preparation programs in Michigan's then-wild and sparsely populated Upper Peninsula. When it opened in 1899, NMU enrolled thirty-two students who were taught by six faculty members in rented rooms in Marquette city hall. The original 20-acre (81,000 m2) campus site at the corner of Presque Isle and Kaye Avenues was on land donated by local businessman and philanthropist John M. Longyear, whose namesake academic building, Longyear Hall, opened in 1900.

Throughout the school's first half-century, education and teacher training was school's primary focus. During this time, the school built the native sandstone buildings Kaye and Peter White Halls, as well as a manual training school next to the campus buildings, J.D. Pierce School. Modest enrollment increases led to several name changes:

  • Northern State Normal, 1899
  • Northern State Teachers College, 1927
  • Northern Michigan College of Education, 1942
  • Northern Michigan College, 1955[1][2]

In 1963, through the adoption of a new state constitution in Michigan, Northern Michigan was designated a comprehensive university serving the diverse educational needs of Upper Michigan. During this time, enrollment grew, due in large part to the 1957 opening of the Mackinac Bridge that links the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Health Sciences and Professional Studies.

Graduate education began in March 1935 when courses at the master's degree level were offered in cooperation with the University of Michigan. [3]

President Term Year(s)
Dwight B. Waldo 1899–1904
James H.B. Kaye 1904–1923
John M. Munson 1923–1933
Webster H. Pearce 1933–1940
Henry A. Tape 1940–1956
Edgar L. Harden 1956–1967
Ogden Johnson (Interim)
John X. Jamrich 1967–1983
James B. Appleberry 1983–1991
Mike Roy (Interim)
William H. Vandament 1991–1997
Judith l. Bailey 1997–2004
Leslie E. Wong 2004–2012
David S. Haynes (Interim) 2012–2014
Bonnie Betzinger 2014–present

Academic profile[edit]

NMU has four academic divisions:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Walker L. Cisler College of Business, named for philanthropist Walker Lee Cisler.
  • Graduate Education and Research
  • College of Health Sciences and Professional Studies: • School of Education, Leadership and Public Service • School of Nursing

Within these four academic divisions 180 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered.[4]

Placement Data[5]

  • The percentage of alumni continuing their education immediately after graduation: 19.3%
  • The percent of alumni employed/continuing education within six months of graduation: 81.1%


Northern Michigan University Academic Mall
The Academic Mall connects Jamrich Hall, West Science, New Science and the Learning Resource Center.

NMU is a tobacco-free campus.[6]

Instructional Spaces

In the 10 buildings where classes are held, there are at least 210 instructional spaces, each having a Wi-Fi signal strong enough to accommodate not only the instructor(s) but every student. 112 of these rooms seat at least 30 students. There are 63 general use classrooms which can be scheduled for multiple disciplines. All but 4 general-purpose rooms are smart classrooms fitted with technology for projecting images and sound from one’s laptop computer. There are 14 tiered classrooms, 10 of which are considered lecture halls with a seat-count of at least 90. The largest lecture hall, Jamrich 102, seats 501. There are 58 labs covering the gamut of arts and sciences. There are 28 departmental classrooms, 16 of which are "smart". There are 3 distance learning facilities, the largest of which is Mead Auditorium which seats 100.

Art and Design

  • This facility contains over 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of studios, lecture halls, digital green screen room, sound studio, photography suite, critique and screening rooms, as well as the DeVos Art Museum. The DeVos Art Museum displays 10–12 exhibitions per year of contemporary international, national, regional, and local art. At over 4,000 square feet (370 m2) it is the largest art gallery on campus and the only art museum with a permanent collection in the Upper Peninsula.[7]

Berry Events Center

  • Northern's multi-purpose student events center, funded in part by a $2 million donation by 1971 alumnus John Berry, opened in 1999 and is the home of the Northern Michigan University hockey and men's and women's basketball teams. The 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) facility contains an Olympic-size (200 ft. x 100 ft.) ice sheet and seats over 4,000 for hockey events. The Berry Events Center was built on the site of the former Memorial Stadium.

Cohodas Hall

A hayride passes through the heart of NMU's campus. Cohodas Hall can be seen in the background.
  • The tallest building on campus, Cohodas Hall houses administrative offices and the College of Business. Completed in 1975, the building stands on the site of Northern's original campus. It is named after U.P. banker and philanthropist Sam M. Cohodas.[8]

Forest Roberts Theatre

  • The 500-seat Forest Roberts Theatre is named after a former head of the Speech department. The theatre has a computerized lighting system and modern sound system. Performances of up to five major theatrical productions per year are held in this facility.[9]

Gries Hall

  • A former residence hall, Gries is now home to the Military Science, History, Political Science, and Economics departments, along with the Alumni Association offices and the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center.[10] The Ada B. Vielmetti Health Center on the first floor provides family health care and pharmacy services to students and staff.[11]

CB Hedgcock Building

  • Was completely renovated from a field house to a student service center in 2004. It now houses the offices of the Dean of Students, Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, Housing and Residence Life, Multicultural Education, and other student services. Also located in Hedgcock is the Reynolds Recital Hall, a 303-seat concert hall featuring state of the art technology.

Jamrich Hall

  • Jamrich Hall, opened in the fall of 2014, contains numerous large lecture halls and smaller classrooms. The primary classroom building on campus, this building is named for former university president John X. Jamrich.[12] The current Jamrich Hall replaced a prior Jamrich Hall which was built in 1968. The older Jamrich was demolished after the completion of the new building.

Lydia M. Olson Library

  • The Lydia M. Olson Library,[13] located within the Edgar L. Harden Learning Resource Center (LRC), houses a volume count of 544,219 titles and 29,365 of periodical subscriptions.[14]

McClintock Hall

  • The building features a Black Box Theatre for student-directed productions and state-of-the-art audio laboratories, as well as general classrooms.[15]

Physical Education Instructional Facility

  • Physical Education Instructional Facility (PEIF) opened in 1976. The facility houses the PEIF Pool, and the Vandament Arena, home of Wildcat volleyball. Also housed within the PEIF is a recreation center with a climbing wall, weight room, basketball courts, spinning room, seven racquetball courts, a dance studio, and various classrooms.[16]

Seaborg Science Complex

  • The Seaborg Science Complex comprises West Science and the New Science Facility. This facility is the home to the natural, physical and health science departments. The complex is named after Glenn Seaborg, an Upper Peninsula native.[17]

Superior Dome

  • The Superior Dome is the largest wooden dome in the world and is home to the NMU athletic department. The NMU football and other athletic teams play home games there. Seating capacity is 8,000 but can be rearranged to seat 16,000.

The Jacobetti Center

  • The Jacobetti Center is home to the Continuing Education and Workforce Development, which includes two departments: Engineering Technology and Technology and Occupational Sciences. A large lobby area, known as “the commons,” provides tables and seating for studying, discussions or enjoying food from the student-run Culinary Café. The upscale Chez Nous restaurant in the center serves as a training ground for cooking and hospitality services. The center is named for longtime Upper Peninsula State Representative Dominic J. Jacobetti.[18]

Whitman Hall

  • This facility contains the Dean of Health Sciences and Professional Studies, the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service, the Modern Languages and Literatures Department and the Center for Native American Studies. Before being purchased by the university in 2002, the building was home to an elementary school.


Northern Michigan University is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools

All education programs are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Other accreditations include the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology; American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; American Chemical Society; American Society of Cytology; Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Professionals (Surgical Technology); Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs; Council on Social Work Education; Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration Certification; International Association of Counseling Services, Inc.; Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology; Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation, State Board of Nursing; National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences; and the National Association of Schools of Music.

In addition, the nursing programs (practical nursing, baccalaureate, and master's degrees) are fully approved by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation, State Board of Nursing and the baccalaureate and master's degrees are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The baccalaureate degree programs of the Walker L. Cisler College of Business are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.[19]


The Teaching, Learning, and Communication (TLC) initiative places a notebook computer in the hands of every full-time undergraduate student and faculty. This initiative makes NMU one of the largest public university laptop programs in the world. Laptop program participants receive a new notebook computer every three years. Northern’s campus-wide effort for technological mastery helps NMU students compete in the high-tech global marketplace after they graduate. The university has national and international awards for its innovative work in the area of technology in higher education.

Vision of technology initiative[edit]

Northern Michigan University's vision for education in the 21st century is a learning environment that embraces technology to enhance student access, promote the development of independent learners and encourage greater student-faculty communication and collaboration. To help achieve this vision, the university implemented a laptop program in the fall of 2000 that ensures students and faculty have a standard set of tools (hardware and software) that meet a majority of their computing and telecommunications needs, promotes communication and enables quality support. NMU is the first public university in Michigan — but one of many nationwide — to pursue the idea of a "laptop" campus.

In the fall of 2009 the university initiated a WiMAX connection initiative. This far-reaching technology has brought Internet access to students off and on campus. It was the first educational facility to create such an initiative and an example of Northern's vision for the future. Because of its popularity and recognition, the campus was visited by President Barack Obama on February 10, 2011, where he praised the development in wireless technology and promoted a National Wireless Initiative to bring high-speed Internet to 98% of the U.S. by 2016.[20]

In 2015, the university began work on their LTE network. Northern has plans to mirror the WiMAX network coverage with LTE, and hopes to finish work by the end of the winter semester in 2016. The WiMAX network is scheduled to be turned off at the start of the fall 2017 semester.[21]

The university has a help desk and walk-in service center to handle laptop maintenance problems.

Cost to students[edit]

NMU leases the laptop computers and issues them to full-time students on a three-year replacement cycle (a student will never have a computer more than three years old). Continuing students who pre-register for the following fall will be able to use the laptop through the summer at no additional charge.

Part-time students have the option to participate in the program. For a fee, part-time students may also check out the laptops from the library on a daily basis.

Additional aspects[edit]

NMU continues to support and improve "specialty labs" as a function of need and resource availability. These are labs designed to meet the needs of specific academic programs that have special equipment and software needs (e.g., graphic design, computer science, GIS, CAD among others). The Center for Instructional Technology in Education (CITE) in the LRC supports faculty use of technology in instruction.[22]


A football signed by the 1978 Northern Michigan Wildcats football team

NMU’s Wildcats compete in the NCAA's Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in basketball, football, golf, skiing, cross country, soccer, volleyball, track & field, and swimming/diving. The hockey program competes in Division I as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Division II football team plays in the world's largest wooden dome, the Superior Dome.[23] Lloyd Carr, former head coach at the University of Michigan, former NFL coach Jerry Glanville, and Steve Mariucci, former head coach of the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, played football for NMU, and current Michigan State coach Tom Izzo played basketball at NMU. Northern Michigan's rivals in sports action are the two other major schools in the upper peninsula: Michigan Technological University, and Lake Superior State University.[24]

The winner of the annual football game between NMU and Michigan Tech is awarded the Miner's Cup.


The United States Olympic Training Site on the campus of Northern Michigan University is one of 16 Olympic training sites in the country. The NMU-OTS provides secondary and post-secondary educational opportunities for athletes while offering world-class training.

With more than 70 resident athletes and coaches, the NMU-OTS is the second-largest Olympic training center in the United States, in terms of residents, behind Colorado Springs. The USOEC has more residential athletes than the Lake Placid and Chula Vista sites combined. Over the years, it has grown into a major contributor to the U.S. Olympic movement.

Current resident training programs include Greco-Roman wrestling and weightlifting. Athletes must be approved by the NMU-OTS, their national governing body and NMU to be admitted into the program.

NMU-OTS athletes attend NMU while training in their respective sports. The student athletes receive free or reduced room and board, access to training facilities as well as sports medicine and sports science services, academic tutoring, and a waiver of out-of-state tuition fees by NMU. Although athletes are responsible for tuition at the in-state rate, they may receive the B.J. Stupak Scholarship to help cover expenses.[25]

On-campus NMU-OTS athletes live in NMU’s Meyland Hall, eat in campus dining halls, and train at the university’s Superior Dome.

The NMU-OTS also offers a variety of short-term training camps; regional, national, and international competitions; coaches and officials education clinics; and an educational program for retired Olympians.[26]

Student life[edit]

Residential life[edit]

Residence hall government is an important facet of student life and NMU. Ten to twenty students from each of the nine residence halls are elected and/or appointed to meet with the staff from their hall on a weekly basis. They represent their peers on a variety of matters pertaining to their residence hall community and campus life.

Students who participate in hall government have the option of participating in various leadership training activities.

One student from up campus (2 halls) and two from down campus (7 halls) are elected to serve on ASNMU, NMU's Student Government.

The on campus residence halls include:[27]

  • Gant Hall
  • Halverson Hall
  • Hunt Hall
  • Magers Hall
  • Meyland Hall
  • Spalding Hall
  • Spooner Hall
  • VanAntwerp Hall
  • West Hall

In addition to the residence halls, NMU operates and maintains four apartment buildings on campus.

The apartments are [28]

  • Woodland Park (Opened in 2006)
  • Lincoln Apartments
  • Center / Norwood Apartments
  • Norwood Apartments

Many halls that have been listed above contain "houses", smaller communities within each residence hall, which participate in campus events and socialize. Many have long-running traditions. For instance, Arctic House in Hunt Hall takes a swim in Lake Superior in the middle of winter. This is known as the Arctic plunge. Northern Michigan Hall traditions are numerous and involve the students, letting them bond as a community.

Groups and activities[edit]

Student organizations[edit]

NMU hosts a large number of student organizations which are governmental, academic, programming, social, religious, and athletic, as well as residence hall-related, in nature. There are over 300 registered student organizations that provide programs and activities for the campus community.

Army ROTC[edit]

NMU is the proud host of the United States Army Cadet Command's "Wildcat Battalion".[29] Roughly 70 Cadets train to earn their commissions as United States Army Officers in both the Active Duty and Reserve components. NMU ROTC also trains a specially selected group of Cadets to compete in the annual Ranger Challenge competition held in Fort McCoy, Wisc.

Greek life[edit]


Student Leader Fellowship Program[edit]

The Student Leader Fellowship Program (SLFP) is committed to developing competent, ethical, and community-centered leaders. Over a two-year period, students participate in six component areas (Fall Retreat, Mentors, Leadership Theory and Practice Course, Skill Builders! Leadership Workshops, Community Service Internship, and Special Occasions) focusing on self-development and community development.

The Volunteer Center[edit]

The NMU Volunteer Center is designed to assist students, both individuals and in student organizations, as well as faculty and staff at the university with finding ways in which they can contribute to the Marquette community.

Superior Edge[edit]

Unique to Northern, this citizen-leader development program is open to all NMU students, regardless of GPA, major or year in school. Participants can work on any or all of the edges; citizenship, diversity, leadership and real-world experience. Students log a minimum of 100 hours of volunteer, contact, classroom or work time for each edge and write a reflection paper. Achievement of edges is recorded on a student development transcript that is issued alongside a student's academic transcript.

The Superior Edge was developed in 2004–05 by a task force that included students, faculty, and staff. The Superior Edge encompasses a wide range of in- and out-of-classroom experiences that will provide Northern Michigan University students with a distinct advantage by better preparing them for careers, lifelong learning, graduate school, and life as engaged citizens.[30]

The North Wind[edit]

The North Wind began in 1972 as Northern Michigan University's second independent, student newspaper. The university's first newspaper was The Northern News, which was shut down due to published articles throughout the 1960s that painted the school in an unflattering manner. Coincidentally in 2015, a controversy arose between the school's administration and members of the North Wind staff, which reached federal court on claims of first amendment violations before the case was dismissed. Ray Bressette was elected the editor-in-chief following the controversy. The weekly paper covers news from the university and community alike and prints on most Wednesdays during the school year.[31]


WUPX is Northern Michigan University's non-commercial, student run, radio station broadcasting at 91.5 FM. WUPX provides NMU Students and the Marquette area with a wide variety of music, event announcements, and activities.[32]

Student government[edit]

The Associated Students of Northern Michigan University (ASNMU) is made up of three distinct branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Representatives elected to represent Student Affairs groups and Academic Affairs comprise the Legislative Branch with a member of the Legislative Branch elected as Chair of the Assembly. The All Student Judiciary (ASJ), the judicial branch of ASNMU, is a panel composed of 16 students who hear cases involving students who violate the regulations of the University Student Code. The Student Finance Committee (SFC) a sub-committee oversees the collection and disbursement of Student Activity Fee and govern the disbursement of funds to registered student organizations.

Notable alumni[edit]

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is an alumnus of NMU. As a result, NMU had the first Starbucks in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (located in the Learning Resource Center).[33] He is pictured in the poster at right.

Arts and culture[edit]

Business, government and research[edit]

Sports and entertainment[edit]

Charter schools[edit]

NMU operates seven charter schools throughout Michigan.[39]

As of July 1, 2014, NMU will add three more charter schools: Frances Reh Academy in Saginaw, George Crockett Academy in Detroit, and Universal Leadership Academy in Port Huron

Rankings and Honors[edit]

  • The 2008 edition of "America's Best Colleges", compiled by U.S. News & World Report, ranked Northern Michigan University as a Master's (Midwest) – Third Tier institution.[40]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "About Us | Northern Michigan University". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  5. ^ "2008–2009 Northern Michigan University Profile" (PDF). Northern Michigan University. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Home". Tobacco-Free. Retrieved 2016-03-22. 
  7. ^ "NMU Art & Design Information". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  8. ^ "Cohodas | NMU College of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  9. ^ "Forest Roberts Theatre | NMU College of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  10. ^ "Gries Hall | NMU College of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  11. ^ "About Us | NMU Ada B. Vielmetti Health Center". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  12. ^ "Jamrich Hall | NMU College of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  13. ^ "Library Home : Olson Library". 2010-05-14. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  14. ^ [1] Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "McClintock Building | NMU College of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  16. ^ "Physical Education Instructional Facility | NMU Athletics". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  17. ^ "Glenn T. Seaborg – Biography". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  18. ^ "Jacobetti Center | NMU Continuing Education". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  19. ^ "AACSB International-The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  20. ^ "Technology". Los Angeles Times. 
  21. ^ "LTE and WiMAX Networks at NMU". 2015-08-15. Retrieved 2015-09-23. 
  22. ^ "Featured Stories: Northern Michigan University". 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  23. ^ [2] Archived June 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ "University of Michigan Athletics – Football Coaches". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  25. ^ "NMU-OTS - Marquette, Michigan". 
  26. ^ "Home | United States Olympic Education Center". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  27. ^ "Residence Halls | NMU Housing and Residence Life". Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  28. ^ "Apartments | NMU Housing and Residence Life". 2008-08-16. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  29. ^ About Us | NMU Department of Military Science. Retrieved on 2013-08-02.
  30. ^ "Students making social contributions – | News, Sports, Jobs, Marquette Information". The Mining Journal. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  31. ^ WP Box. "About Us – The North Wind". 
  32. ^ "WUPX 91.5 FM Radio X Marquette". 
  33. ^ U.P.'s only Starbucks open on campus, NMU, August 25, 2003.
  34. ^ "Howard Schultz Biography Activist (1953–)". Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  35. ^ "JOHN D. HOLUM". 
  36. ^ [3] Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ "Coach Izzo Biography". Coach Izzo. 
  38. ^ "News_Release.Aspx". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  39. ^ "Home | NMU Charter Schools". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  40. ^ "Northern Michigan University – Best Colleges – Education – US News and World Report". 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hilton, Miriam. Northern Michigan University: The First 75 Years. Marquette, Michigan: Northern Michigan University Press, 1975.
  • Magnaghi, Russell. "A Sense of Time: The Encyclopedia of Northern Michigan University." Marquette, Michigan, Northern Michigan University Press, 1999. NMU Website, 2014.

External links[edit]