Central opened its doors in 1892 as the Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute. At that time, few of the state's teachers received any formal training in teaching. School founders made teacher training their mission in founding the state's second normal school.
Thirty-one students attended classes in second-floor rooms over an office on the corner of Main and Michigan streets in downtown Mount Pleasant. Most students at the time were eighth-grade graduates, attending the "Normal" for a few weeks or months prior to beginning their careers as teachers. Within the first two years, land was acquired and a $10,000 Normal School Building was constructed where Warriner Hall now stands.
In 1895, the Michigan State Board of Education assumed control of the school, renaming it Central Michigan Normal School. By 1918, the campus consisted of 25 acres with five buildings, one of which — Grawn Hall — is still in use, though substantially remodeled.
A fire destroyed the school's main building in 1925, and Warriner Hall was built to replace it. Prior to World War II, the school's name changed again — first to Central State Teachers College, then to Central Michigan College of Education.
On June 1, 1959, with 40 buildings standing on a 235-acre campus and an enrollment of 4,500 students, Central was renamed Central Michigan University, a designation that reflected growth in the complexity of the school's academic offerings as well as its physical growth in the post-war period.
And even though so much has changed over the last two centuries, our values today do not stray from those inscribed upon our seal in 1892: Sapientia, Virtus, Amicitia – wisdom, virtue, and friendship.
For more CMU history, stop by the Clarke Historical Library inside the Park Library for interesting artifacts and exhibits or visit the Web site.