Click on the photos below to move along the timeline.
Special thanks to Greta Rey for pulling together the list of events for this timeline.
- In existence are the following: State Normal School at Ypsilanti, Central State Normal School at Mt. Pleasant, Northern State Normal School at Marquette.
- Governor vetoes bill passed by legislature creating a fourth normal school
- May 27. Governor Bliss signs bill providing for establishment of Western State Normal School.
- Jun. 23. Civic leaders offer State Board of Education incentives to locate new institution in Kalamazoo.
- Aug. 28. State Board of Education selects Kalamazoo as site for new Normal School. WMU was the last state sponsored teacher-training program in the state of Michigan authorized by the legislature.
- Oct. 19. Kalamazoo voters authorize city to borrow $70,000 to build and operate the new school.
- Nov. 27. State Board of Education selects Prospect Hill (an overgrown orchard) as campus site.
- WMU was originally founded to fulfill a teacher shortage and the lack of training opportunities in West Michigan.
- Apr. 1. Dwight Bryant Waldo selected by State Board of Education as “principal” of Western State Normal School.
- May 16. Work begins on grading land on Prospect Hill.
- May 19. Waldo announces creation of the Rural School Department. Ernest Burnham heads the department and develops it into a model program that is nationally recognized.
- Jun. 27. Western’s first session (six weeks summer) enrolls 117 students, who attend classes in the Kalamazoo High School Building.
- Sept. 26. First fall term begins.
- Sept. Training School begins with grades one, two and four. Grades one and two housed in the Methodist Church House, grade four on the third floor of the YMCA.
- Oct. 10. Men’s Athletic Association created.
- Oct. 12. Beginning of the Rural Sociology Seminar.
- Jan. 18. The Rural Sociology Seminar constitution adopted.
- Jan. 25. Western State Normal Athletic Association’s organization completed. Open to all male students interested in team sports. A girls’ basketball team also exists.
- Feb. Orchestra organized.
- Apr. 6. Chapter of Young Women’s Christian Association started at Western.
- Spring 1905-09. Training School’s classes housed in the city’s new Vine Street School.
- Spring 1905. Training School adds grades three, five and six.
- Jun. 22. Western’s first commencement. Granting of life teaching certificates to five students and three-year rural teaching certificates to four students.
- Summer 1905. Extension program initiated. Summer classes for teachers working for extension of life certificates.
- Sept. 1. Administrative offices moved from Kalamazoo College building into newly constructed Administration Building (central portion of East Hall).
- Sept. Department of Art established. Domestic Economy and Manual Training departments absorb the Drawing Department.
- Oct. 24. Men students form the Riley Literary Society.
- Nov. 21. Women students form the Amphictyon (literary) Society.
- Nov. 23. Administration (and classroom) Building dedicated. Department of Manual Training remains housed in a city school building.
- Department of Expression is spinoff of English Department. Renamed Speech Department in 1908.
- Seven students complete life certificates for teaching, through extension program.
- Language Department divides into German and Latin Departments.
- Rural Education Department holds first rural progress day for residents of area rural communities. Conducted continuously until 1940.
- Jun. 22. Gymnasium and classroom building dedicated (north section of present East Hall).
- Jun. Railroad (trolley) dedicated. In use until 1947.
- Sept. Model one-room school opens in Kalamazoo district #2 (Oakwood), where rural education students observe a Western-appointed teacher in action.
- Manual Training Department renamed Manual Arts Department.
- State of Michigan appropriates $60,000 for a training school building.
- Campus Training School Building completed (south section of present East Hall).
- Training School adds seventh grade.
- Physical Training Department divided into Physical Education for Men and Physical Education for Women.
- Domestic Science Department and Art Departments divided.
- Training School adds eighth grade.
- Rural Education Department inaugurates regular conference on campus of county school commissioners (superintendents).
- Normal High School begins with grade 9 (later named State High School, then University High School)
- High school students will now be part of the Training School and will use their own high school classrooms, separate from college classrooms..
- Western offers a course in commerce. Three years later in has grown to be the Commerce Department.
- The Department of Handwriting is established but offers no college credit. It continues until 1940.
- Athletics fields developed between Asylum Road ( Oakland Drive) and Michigan Central Railroad tracks.
- The German Department is renamed Modern Language Department, as French is introduced. In 1919 it introduces Spanish.
- State Board of Education authorizes state normal schools to offer third year of work in preparation for life certificates and Western requires it.
- Terms "major" and "minor" officially introduced into curriculum.
- Sept. Rural Education uses a model one-room school on Michigan Avenue, replacing the Oakwood school. In use until 1924.
- State Board of Education grants degree privileges to state’s normal schools and Western begins to offer four-year bachelor’s degrees.
- Oct. Completion of U.S. Government barracks for use by Student Army Training Corps.
- Nov. 11. World War I ends.
- Dec. 21. Student Army Training Corps disbanded. Government deeds barracks to Western, which uses the building for classrooms until it is razed in June, 1953.
- Two-year course in physical education for men introduced.
- Sept. Manual Training Building completed.
- Industrial Arts Department renamed Manual Arts Department.