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Western Michigan University (WMU) is a public university established in 1903 by Dwight B. Waldo. When the school first opened, it was known as the Western State Normal School, but was renamed Western State Teachers College in 1927 and Western Michigan College of Education in 1941. On February 26, 1957 Governor G. Mennen Williams signed into law a bill making Western Michigan College the state's fourth public university.

WMU's main campus is located in Kalamazoo, Michiganmarker, USA. As of the Fall 2009 semester, the school has an enrollment of 24,576. The school is the fifth largest university in the state of Michiganmarker.The school's mascot is Buster Bronco, and the school colors are brown and gold.

WMU's College of Aviation is one of the largest aviation programs in the United Statesmarker; the university is also noted for its Paper Engineering and Behavior Analysis programs, as well as for the Haworth College of Business and Army ROTC program. WMU's theatre department has also produced many talented individuals working in the entertainment industry throughout the country. Additionally, the WMU School of Music is recognized as offering some of the best programs in the Nation for those with musical interests and aspirations.

WMU's expansion projects include a new Business and Technology park for research, a new aviation campus in Battle Creek, Michiganmarker, and extensive building renovation and restoration in the Kalamazoo campus, as well as a new chemistry building and a visual arts center.

WMU is the site of the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies.


The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching places WMU among the 76 public institutions in the nation designated as research universities with high research activity. U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of American colleges and universities includes WMU as one of the nation's top-100 public universities. Princeton Review included Western Michigan on its 'best Midwestern colleges' list for two years in a row. The University also had six Fulbright Scholars, the most of any school in the state of Michigan in 2006, these individuals are recognized for increasing understanding between the United States and other countries.

The university offers 254 degree programs through 9 colleges. The colleges that are part of WMU are: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Aviation, the Haworth College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the College of Fine Arts, the College of Health and Human Services, the Lee Honors College, and the Graduate College.

The Haworth College of Business operates out of Arnold Schneider Hall. The school is named for an alumnus, who gave a gift of $5,000,000 towards the construction of Schneider Hall, and later served on the school's board of directors. Aside from having a nationally recognized undergraduate business program, the Haworth College of Business has one of the oldest and most successful Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs in the state. It also is the sixth largest college of business in the country, with over 5,200 students.


WMU’s campuses encompass more than and roughly 150 buildings. Western is divided into five campuses in and near Kalamazoomarker:

West Campus

West Campus is the primary and largest WMU campus in Kalamazoomarker, and is usually referred to as "Main Campus." Most of the university academic and administrative buildings are located on West Campus, including the College of Arts and Sciences, Haworth College of Business, College of Education, College of Fine Arts, and the Lee Honors College. Many of the residence halls are found scattered throughout West Campus, while other dormitories (affectionately referred to as "The Valleys") are located quite a distance away from West Campus in Goldsworth Valley.

The Bernhard Center is a centrally located multi-purpose building to provide student and community groups with meeting space. Located within the Bernhard Center is the Bronco Mall, a one-stop-shop for students which includes a large 24-hour computer lab, a food court and dining area, a full service bank, and one of two school bookstores. Waldo Library and the attached University Computing Center are located on West Campus, as is the Dalton Musical Center. Recently constructed buildings on West Campus include the Richmond Center for Visual Arts and the new Chemistry Building, which replaces aging McCracken Hall.

McCracken hall is also the location of the Paper pilot plant. The plant handles research and small on-site production trials of paper for the university and private clients.

West Campus is also the site of Miller Auditoriummarker. A large entertainment venue seating nearly 3500 people, it is Michigan's fourth largest auditorium. Miller Auditorium hosts many events ranging from popular musicals and concerts to graduation commencements and film screenings. The Gilmore Theater Complex is located directly next to Miller Auditorium, and features three performance stages and faculty offices. The Richmond Center for Visual Arts was added to the Fine Arts Complex in 2007, then South Kohrman Hall was renovated into the Kohrman Hall Studios in 2008. Both house the Gwen Frostic School of Art.

East Campus

East Campus is the original development dating from when the university was founded in 1903. It contains many of the university's historical buildings including, East Hall, West Hall, North Hall, Walwood Hall, Spindler Hall, Vandercook Hall, and The Little Theater. Many of these buildings are located on a hill overlooking the city of Kalamazoomarker.

Oakland Drive Campus

The Oakland Drive Campus is the university's newest land acquisition. It is home to the university's College of Health and Human Services and the WMU Army ROTC program.

Parkview Campus

College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Parkview Campus

The Parkview Campus is home to the University's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Business Technology and Research Park. Erected in 2003, the $72.5 million building is and features two two-story wings connected by a middle glass enclosure. The state of the art campus is located about southwest of the main campus. Students often commute to the campus via a free shuttle bus that runs Monday through Friday between the main campus and the engineering college.

The campus contains the paper coating plant with space available for the paper pilot plant on west campus. The school offers 16 undergraduate engineering, technology and applied sciences programs, while the graduate level, the College of Engineering offers 11 master programs, and 5 doctoral programs.

College of Aviation

The College of Aviation offers the best education in aviation at a public university in Michigan, and with over 900 undergraduate students, it offers one of the largest (top 3) Flight Science programs in the nation. Backed by over 60 years of history and a strong industry reputation, the College of Aviation is a powerful force in the cutting edge aviation training.

College of Aviation provides 3 program options for students.

Aviation Flight Science

The Aviation Flight Science program emphasizes intellectual as well as technical competencies. The program is geared toward educating future captains and managers—not just training pilots. In the program, sudents study general education subjects, the basic sciences, aircraft systems, crew concepts, and resource management, advanced aerodynamics, professional flight, airline operations, management and administration, global navigation, and international flight. If students wish, they will also have an opportunity to be involved in faculty research projects geared toward moving the industry forward.

The program also features crew concept in the flight training environment, Crew Resource Management (CRM), the use of state-of-the-art simulators and Line Oriented Flight Crew Simulations, computer based training, and the most advanced flight training equipment with glass cockpit technology including Electronic Flight Information Systems (EFIS) and Flight Management Systems (FMS).

In the 1990s, the College of Aviation revised its curriculum to more effectively train students with no previous flight training and to focus on what the airline industry and aviation regulators regard as the critical components of aviation education. Through this revised curriculum students move from zero flight experience, to degree completion, to employment readiness. Once hired, the only further training required will be for conversion to operating with a specific airline on a specific aircraft. College of Aviation strives to remain in touch with the changing needs of the aviation industry so students can get the training and education they need to be a functional and productive part of it.

Aviation Maintenance Technology

The Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) program is a Bachelor of Science program that prepares students to enter technical positions in the aerospace industry. The curriculum focuses on aircraft structures and system design, operation, test, and inspection. These skills and knowledge coupled with a solid science foundation prepares the students for employment in a wide range of aircraft maintenance, manufacturing, and aviation support careers. The Bachelor of Science degree positions our graduates for technology leadership roles in the future.

The AMT program offers course work in advanced industry standards and practices including non-destructive test, composite construction and repair, avionics, and design for reliability and maintainability. In addition, students who complete the program qualify to take the examinations for the FAA Aviation Maintenance Technician certification with airframe and powerplant ratings which is recognized around the world as the standard of aviation technical knowledge.

WMU AMT graduates are highly regarded and sought after by industry. After graduation they go on to positions with airlines, corporate flight operations, manufacturers, government agencies, third party maintenance organizations, and fixed base operators. Air carriers and maintenance organizations routinely recruit WMU graduates. Many seniors have internships with local aircraft repair organizations, corporate flight operations and in WMU flight department's maintenance facility which in many cases turns into full time employment upon graduation.

The WMU AMT program is the premiere aviation technology program in the country and will prepare students for a challenging career in aerospace.

Aviation Administration

The Aviation Science and Administration program will increase students awareness of options and opportunities in the airline industry while helping them prepare for a variety of positions and careers, including:

  • Airline Administration and Management
  • General Aviation Administration and Management
  • Airport Management and Operations
  • Technical Support within the Aviation Industry
  • Technical Sales or Service

Apart from the general education that students will gain, the program concentrates on aviation related management subjects as well as business related groundwork including economics, finance, accountancy, and business enterprise. There are also several electives available to allow them to concentrate on specific areas of management such as organizational behavior, entrepreneurship, airline strategy, or multinational management. Future plans include the addition of state-of-the-art simulations of airport and airline management, planning and preparation for which will begin in Spring 2008.

Aviation Science and Administration program graduates are regularly hired to work for major airlines, airports and support industries such as United Airlines, O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Detroit Metro Airport and B.F. Goodrich Aerospace.

Vision.The College of Aviation's vision is to establish and maintain state-of-the-art, world-class professional aviation programs that are among the best in the world. The COA is examining various methods of teaching and pioneering revolutionary new methods of instruction designed to improve students leadership skills in the aviation industry. The COA strives to produce graduates who think critically, communicate effectively, and participate meaningfully and ethically in the dynamic field of aviation.

College facilitiesThe College of Aviation's ability to deliver this comprehensive education is enhanced by its state-of-the-art Cirrus SR-20 fleet and turbine engine testing sites. Facility is located in Battle Creek, Michiganmarker at WK Kellogg Field

Branch campuses

Western Michigan University also has several branch campuses that offer education to more than 6,000 students each year. These branch campuses are located in various cities throughout Michiganmarker:

Student life

Students enjoying WMU's Main Campus on a spring day.

Western Michigan offers a wide range of activities and student organizations for its students to get involved with. There are currently over 300 registered student organizations that students may join. Students are welcomed to school each year with Bronco Bash, an event with live entertainment performances and booths sponsored by student and community organizations.


The Campus Activities Board CAB is the main student organization responsible for bringing entertainment events for students. Some events the organization sponsors include "At The Show" concerts, "Bernie's After Hours" comedians, "Special Events Live" and "Miller Movies," presented at the school's main theater, Miller Auditorium. CAB sponsors both Bronco Bash and WMU's student Homecoming activities.

Others include the Student Entertainment Team, or SET. SET is a student organization dedicated to providing recreational, educational, cultural, and creative programming for WMU students and the community. SET brings free entertainment to Center Stage (in the Bronco Mall) including comedians, musical acts, game shows, and cultural events.

Student government

2009-2010 Student Body President Nate Knappen and Vice President Janine Putnam.
The Western Student Association ( WSA) is the primary body of student government at Western Michigan University. Current Student Body President Nate Knappen (Grand Rapids, MI) won his seat against challenger Stacey Nordstrand. Along with Knappen, Janine Putnam (Clinton Township, MI) serves as Student Body Vice-President. Andrew Ladd currently serves as the Speaker of the Senate.

Social groups

WMU sponsors or recognizes several groups aimed towards personal and social development. This includes Faith and Spiritual Development, LBGT Student Services, Greek Life, services for International Students, Multicultural Affairs, Off-Campus Life, and Sponsored Student Organizations.

Student groups

Placement of the Chemistry Building generated much controversy from student groups because it displaced a large portion of greenery in the center of West Campus. A temporary outdoor plaza was constructed outside of Sangren Hall in 2007 to replace the greenery. However, this also generated controversy and protests among students and faculty because of its aesthetic characteristics and costs. One such protest by a student group involved requesting the financial records of the construction and using chalk to depict the costs of each item on the plaza.

A controversy of a mandatory living wage for full time employees of the university is currently being disputed by both the university and students.

The College Republicans at Western Michigan University were voted "Best College Republican Chapter in the Country" in 2006.

Fraternities and sororities

Some of the fraternities established on campus include Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Chi, Delta Sigma Phi, Delta Sigma Pi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Phi Chi Theta, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Phi Sigma Kappa, Phi Sigma Pi, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Lambda Beta, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Pi and Tau Kappa Epsilon.

Some of the sororities established on WMU's campus are Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi, Alpha Xi Delta, Chi Omega, Delta Sigma Theta, Delta Zeta, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Alpha Iota, Sigma Gamma Rho, Sigma Kappa, Sigma Lambda Gamma and Zeta Phi Beta.

Health services

Western Michigan University students and faculty are served by Sindecuse Health Center. Resources include full clinical, diagnostic, and nursing services, health promotion options, sports medicine and therapy, dental services, and a pharmacy. Sindecuse Health Center is located on West Campus.


Fight song

Fight on, fight on for Western!

Take the ball, make the score

Win the game

Onward for the brown and gold

Push 'em back, push 'em back!

Bring us fame!

Fight on, fight on for Western!

Over one, over all, We will reign!

Fight, Broncos fight!

Fight with all your might!

Western win this game!

Alma mater

Western we sing to you, brown and gold

Western we bring to you faith untold

You challenge and inspire,

Your hope is our desire,

We sing to you our alma mater, brown and gold!

Official seal

In 1957, WMU art professor John Kemper drafted a sketch that would eventually be adopted as the official seal of WMU. The design has four main components—five stars, a tree, a stone arch, and a pyramid. The five stars symbolize the main academic units in place when WMU gained university status—the schools of Applied Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Graduate Studies. The tree signifies the University's continuing growth, while its roots acknowledge the institution's firm planting through its creation by the Michigan Legislature in 1903. The stone arch symbolizes a gateway to knowledge as well as solid growth, while the missing keystone indicates the University's growth is incomplete, with much more remaining to be accomplished and discovered. The pyramid stands for the building of knowledge and features a flame at its apex to signify enlightenment—WMU's true purpose.


Notable alumni


  1. Western Herald. "Special election appealed, Knappen is WSA president"
  3. WMU News — WMU College Republicans are nation's best

External links

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