1994 : MSU Classes Cancelled, but the University Remains Open

January 19, 2023 all-day

January 19, 1994

About 30 students braved the cold to wake up President Peter McPherson at  Cowles, the President’s  Residence, chanting “Hell no, it’s 40 below” and “Frostbite is not right”.   McPherson listened and an announcement was released at 5:30 a.m. that classes were cancelled.

Classes were suspended not because of snow but due to cold weather (18 degrees below zero; wind chill, 51 degrees below zero), the second coldest temperature recorded this century. The university remained open and faculty and staff were told to report for duty.

Addendum : Top Six MSU Closures Due to Snow, Cold, or a Combination

Number 1.  The first time the campus  was closed was on January 27, 1967, when 26 inches of snow fell on campus.

Number 2.  A freak snowstorm on April 3, 1975 dumped 15 inches of wet snow, making roads and sidewalks impassable. Many people weren’t prepared for that kind of weather so late in the spring. It later led to one of the biggest floods in mid-Michigan history about 2 weeks later.

Number 3. The blizzard of ’78 also forced the university to suspend classes, after 24 inches of snow closed MSU for 2 days on January 26 & 27.

Number 4.  Cold weather was the reason why MSU suspended classes on January 19, 1994. Temperatures were 18 degrees below zero, with a wind chill of 51 degrees below zero, the second coldest temperature recorded this century. While classes were suspended, the university stayed open.

Number 5.  On February 2, 2011, classes were suspended for blizzard conditions that brought nearly a foot of snow, high winds and frigid temperatures. University critical functions were maintained, while electronic services and business operations were done remotely. The National Weather Service called this a “top 10 storm” for Michigan.

Number 6.  January 6-7, 2014.  After nearly two days of suspended operations, classes at MSU are expected to resume at 5pm Tuesday, marking the sixth time in university history it had to close to due to weather.


Recent MSU Closure Marks 6th Time in University History“, WILX News, Channel 10, January 7, 2014.

Eve Adoulos and Hillary Gatlin, “A History of Snow Days at MSU”, Tales from the Archives: Volume One, Campus and Traditions, 1917.