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Timeline 1877-1899 Print Page

First Building

University Seal

1897 Football Team "Tigers"

Timeline 1877-1899


April 5: Bishop Borgess transfers his cathedral church and residence at Jefferson and Antoine to the Jesuits, who in turn agree to found and maintain a college in Detroit. The cornerstone to this church was laid June 29, 1834.

June 3: Rev. John B. Miege, S.J., former bishop of Missouri and vicar apostolic of all the territory between the “United States and the Rocky Mountains” is appointed first president.

June 16: The first college building (the Trowbridge residence at 630 E. Jefferson) purchased for $21,500.

September 3: Sixty pupils enrolled. The first to register was W.J. St Aubin. The first faculty consisted of a president, vice-president, and three professors. The college began with high school classes only.

October 3: Acolythical Society founded.

November: Students library begun with one hundred volumes.



June 27: First commencement exercises were held at Merrill Hall.

September 20: Philomathic Society established.



June 26: Reverend G, Walsh, S.J. installed as president.

December 29: The first play “Elmo, the Druid Martyr” staged at the Detroit Opera House, George Parker in the leading role.



April 27: Detroit College incorporated under the laws of Michigan.

July: first extra-mural baseball game. Detroit College defeats Parke, Davis, and Co. 11-7 at Campeau and Fort St.



January 16: Students were admonished not to go skating on the Detroit river because it was too dangerous.

 June 28: First A.B. degrees awarded. Commencent exercises were held at the Detroit Opera House. The members of the first graduating class were: John A. Russell, Thomas C. McKeogh, James E. Lacroix, William H. Reaney, Conrad Sporer, Benjamin A. Nolan, James W. Kearns.

December 16: Sodality organized. Rev. Edwin Kelly, S.J. first director.



February 12:  John A. Russell files for a M. A. degree, the first in the history of the university.

May 5: The opening of a new College Museum was announced. It was situated in the new Collegiate department, the house on the north side of Jefferson, between the Moran and Griffin residences.

May 29: The physics and chemistry classes were tranfered to the Collegiate department building.

July 8: Father John P. Frieden S.J. becomes president of the university.



September:  Enrollment is 240 students.

December 27: James D. Foley S.J. installed as the sixth president of the university.



 November 20: Alumni Association organized by President Michael Dowling, S.J.


August 9: Excavations begin for Dowling Hall.

October 17:  Two students were caught forging notes of leave and were soundly whipped for it.



Faculty decide that scholastic reports should no longer be entrusted to the students, but should be mailed home to make certain that the reports reach the parents.

March 16:  New president Rev. M.P. Dowling. S.J. arrives.


June 24: Last assembly of students in the original building.

September 1: Classes open in newly completed building at 651 E. Jefferson.



October: First public appearance of the newly adopted colors—red and white.

October 1:  The number of student enrolled was 278.

November 14: A dramatic club was organized by Rev. Magivney.


June 9:  It was found that some prize essays had been copied from books. All who were guilty of such practices where called on to withdraw their essays at once; 15 of the 25 essays were withdrawn, changing at least two of the gold metals awarded.

December 28: Reverend Henry A. Schaapman S.J. installed as president.



November 26: First intercollegiate football game. St Ignatius College ( now Loyola University, Chicago) defeated Detroit College in Detroit on Thanksgiving.



January 16:  Henry Whipple Skinner presented designs for a debating metal.

March 25:  A committee of students is selected by the faculty to discuss plans for the founding of a campus magazine.

April 8:The Tamarack” a literary magazine appears. Maurice Chawke, editor, Jos J. Murphy, S.J., faculty moderator.  89 copies of the first issue sold to students.

May 12: First Skinner Debate. Medal won by John A. Davis.

December 27: Reverend James G. Foley, S.J. installed as president.



March 17: Reverend Michael P. Dowling installed as president.

June 14: First Field Day at Bois Blanc.


First Graduating Class

Dowling Hall


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