University of Michigan and Michigan Medicine celebrates diversity and academic excellence with list of milestones

January 28, 2021

University of Michigan and Michigan Medicine celebrates diversity and academic excellence with list of milestones

The University of Michigan and Michigan Medicine have a long standing history of milestones and "firsts." This Black History Month, we celebrate these and many others who have blazed a trail of academic excellence at our institution. Are we missing anyone? We would like to keep this list as updated as possible, please email medicinedei@umich.edu if you notice a missing milestone.

Year
Event

1853
Samuel Codes Watson, medical student, is the first known African American student admitted to the University

1870
Madelon Louisa Stockwell is the first woman admitted to the University; she graduated in 1872 (Literature).

1871
Amanda Sanford becomes the first woman alumna of the University of Michigan by graduating from the Medical School (her grades were the highest of the 90 students).  Sarah Killgore of Crawfordsville, Indiana, graduated with a law degree on the same day

1872
Dr. William Henry Fitzbutler became the first African American person to graduate from the University of Michigan Medical School (Homeopathy).

1872
First Asian student (Japanese) admitted to University of Michigan

1876
Mary Henrietta Graham, lit. 1880, is the first known African American woman admitted to the University.

1877
First Puerto Rican student enrolls at University of Michigan in the Department of Medicine and Surgery '80, José Celso Barbosa

1878
First African American to receive M.D., Grace Roberts    

Martha Hughes Cannon, MD. University of Michigan Medical School graduate and first female State Senator elected in the United States of America

1879
First sorority, Eta chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, established at University of Michigan.

1885
June Rose Colby is the first woman to receive a Ph.D. upon examination.

1885
First women graduates from the Medical School (Sophia Bethena Jones).

1890
Women's League established for women students, alumnae, and faculty; the Michigan League building is dedicated in 1929.

1892
First Chinese students admitted to University of Michigan.

1895
Marian Sarah Parker becomes the first woman to graduate with a B.S. in Civil Engineering.

1896
Eliza Mosher is appointed first Dean of Women, and becomes first woman faculty member.

1897
First woman instructor in the sciences, Fanny Elizabeth Langdon.

1902
Barbour Gymnasium, a facility specifically for women, is completed.

1902
Association for Mutual Aid of Colored Students is established.

Year
Event

1905
Women's Athletic Association is formed.

1909
First Jewish sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, is established.              

Alpha Phi Alpha is established and is the earliest known University of Michigan African American fraternity.

1911
First Jewish faculty member, Louis A. Strauss.

1915
University's first two all-women residence halls, Martha Cook and Helen Newberry, open.

1917
A central corresponding committee of alumnae, which in 1920 changes its name to the Alumnae Council of the Alumni Association, is established. Claire Sanders is the first dean and Regent Levi Lewis Barbour establishes the Barbour Scholarships for Oriental women.

1921

 Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Nu Chapter was chartered on April 7, 1921 on the University of Michigan's campus.

1926
Negro-Caucasian Club founded.

1929
The Michigan League is opened as a meeting place for female students, faculty, and staff.

1936
International Center established with J. Raleigh Nelson as director.

Elizabeth C. Crosby, Neuroanatomist, first woman to receive full professorship at the University of Michigan Medical School

1947
Center for Japanese Studies formed.      

1954

Latunde Odeku– the first African-American neurosurgeon trained in the United States and also Africa’s first neurosurgeon, who completed his neurosurgical residency at U-M from 1954-1960.

1963
Co-educational dormitories are approved beginning with the Fall term, and a single director of residence halls is appointed to administer both men's and women's housing.

1964
Center for Continuing Education of Women founded (now called the Center for the Education of Women).

1968
First male undergraduate nursing students graduate; the first male completed the nursing graduate program in 1964.

1968
Barbara Newell is appointed the acting vice president of Student Affairs. She is the first woman to serve as an executive officer of the University.

1970
Center for Afro-American and Africa Studies is launched.

1971
Commission for Women established.

1972
Henry Johnson appointed as VP for Student Services, the first African American administrator.

1973          

 
Intercollegiate varsity athletic program for Michigan women established with the introduction of six varsity sports.         

1982

Dr. Keith Black at Cedars Sinai – graduate of our program and now the first African-American chair of a neurosurgery department with a residency program

1990
University faculty members from Psychiatry and the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education conduct seminal research on diversity in higher education (ongoing).

1993
The Board of Regents outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation.   

1998

Dr. Terry Samuels, Michigan Native American medical student, of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Indians, graduates from the University of Michigan Medical School.

1999
Dr. Patricia Gurin (Psychiatry/Women’s Studies) provides the expert report on the Educational Value of Diversity for admissions lawsuits.

2002
First female University of Michigan President (Dr. Mary Sue Coleman).

2003
Affirmative Action lawsuits decision handed down (discussed in the section below).

2003
First female Medical School department chair (Dr. Valerie Castle, Department of Pediatrics).

2005
First female Department of Neurosurgery chair in the nation (Dr. Karin Muraszko).

2006
First female University of Michigan Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (Dr. Theresa Sullivan).

2006
Proposal 2 was adopted by Michigan voters.

2006
University of Michigan launched the Diversity Blueprint Task Force.

2006
University of Michigan Medical School revised admissions and financial aid policies, but still supports a diverse environment.

2009
First female Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs (Dr. Ora Pescovitz).

2009
First African American Medical School department chair (Dr. John Carethers, Department of Internal Medicine).