Although Michigan State University claims 1855 as its founding date, the Michigan Agricultural College actually opened two years after the passage of the enabling act by the Michigan Legislature.
Before it officially opened, University of Michigan President Henry P. Tappan lobbied for his school to take over the 22 sections of land set aside for the new college. The lobbying attempt failed.
Classes were first held on May 14, 1857.
In 1857, students could only study agriculture. Now, they can choose from more than 150 majors. Total enrollment in 1857 amounted to 63 students, comparable the 45,998 enrolled in spring of 2012, according to the Office of the Registrar.
Michigan Every Day
Kellie Rowe, MSU celebrates 155th birthday, State News, May 14, 2012.