Sara Swanson

150 years ago this week…

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The change in funding of the University this week 150 years ago allowed for the building of University Hall in 1871, the first state built university building. University Hall stood where Mason Hall stands today. Illustration by Wilfred B. Shaw.

This year, 2017, marks the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of Manchester as a village. A significant change also took place 150 years ago this week that affected the course of the University of Michigan, helping to shape it into the institution that effects many of our lives daily. Although we are 30 minutes away in Manchester, the University continues to serve as a source of education, employment, enrichment, entertainment and traffic jams.

Wilfred B. Shaw reports in The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey, that on March 15, 1867, the State of Michigan levied a tax of one-twentieth of a mill on all property in the state to support the University of Michigan, and in doing so, Michigan became the first state to tax property to support a university. This date also marked beginning of the University of Michigan as a state university and not a national university, which it was for the thirty years before that time (or forty-one years if the Detroit period is included). Until 1867 the institution’s funding for the most part, was derived from the two townships of land granted in 1826 by the Federal Government and in minor degree from student fees.

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