This is the "Timeline 1920-1929" page of the "University of Detroit: a history" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

University of Detroit: a history  

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Timeline 1920-1929 Print Page

Red & White


Stadium Completed

Timeline 1920-1929


Thespian Club founded. Wendell Hall was elected the first president. The first production was Shakespeare’s As You Like It, staged at Orchestra Hall in the spring.



January 19: Delta Sigma Pi, Theta chapter, begins with 22 charter members.

Fall:  Father John McNichols S.J. is installed as university president.

September: Department of Aeronautical Engineering inaugurated.

October 3: Sigma Sigma Alpha organizes.



Department of Architectural Engineering started in the College of Engineering. It will eventually become the School of Architecture in 1965.

January: The University Theatre founded. It is the outgrowth of the Thespian Club which had begun in 1920.

January 1: Newspapers announce the purchase of land for a new campus at Livernois and Six Mile.

Chi Sigma Phi organizes a chapter in Engineering.

April: A drive to raise $125,000 for a new stadium begins.  The fund contains pledges for $80,000 by the 28th.  Eventually $127,000 is raised, an amount equaled by the Dinan brothers.

July 1: Groundbreaking for the new stadium at Livernois and Six Mile. This will be Dinan Field.

September: Detroit Union rents the first floor and basement of a house at 627 E. Jefferson and opens the first union quarters. A union fee of $10 is placed on tuition.

Pearl K. Quermbach organizes the Coeds’ Union. Theresia Schneider, first president. Membership is 115 in the first year

Day school at Commerce and Finance opens with 45 freshman.

October: “Freres” social fraternity organized.

November: The Coeds’ Union opens its first quarters in the Engineering building.

November:  Groundbreaking for the powerhouse.




Union pin adopted.

First Yearbook “The Red and White” appears, edited by Donald J. McGaffey.

Formation of the Intra-Fraternity Council.



University teams are now referred to as the Titans.

September: Rev. George A. Keith, S.J., appointed first Dean of Men.

October: Varsity News fee placed on tuition. Varsity News magazine appears. 

November: Alpha Sigma Tau, Jesuit honor society, opens Detroit chapter.



January: Dept. of Aeronautics wind tunnel is completed.

January 18:

Delta Pi Kappa, journalistic fraternity, organizes a Detroit chapter with 18 charter members. John J. Slevin, editor Varsity News is the first president.

February 15: First Annual Frosh Frolic at the Book-Cadillac Hotel.

March: Miss Florence Donahue appointed first Dean of Women.

June 10: ‘D” Club organized to include all that have ever won a Varsity letter.

June 12: Mary Quinn, Marcella V. and Kathleen G. MacHale are the first women to receive master’s degrees from the university.

September: Grand Rapids Club organized.

October: A student band of 45 make a first appearance in new red and white uniforms. Charles Schumm is first band director, Arthur Schuman, first drum major.

November 26: Groundbreaking for the faculty building on Six Mile Road.

The John P. Scallen Medal is awarded for the first time to Francis J. Bowler.




January: First co-ed basketball team organized.

March: Alpha Chi chapter organized with 16 charter members.

March: A petition circulates asking that the Charleston be allowed at the university’s annual J-Hop.

April: Band fund drive begins.

April 16: Architectural fraternity Chi Delta Theta was organized.

May 4: First annual Soph Prom, General Motors Ballroom.

Jerry L. Dixon is the first African-American to graduate from the law school.

May 30: The cornerstone of the new faculty building on the McNichols Campus is laid by Bishop Gallagher.  The proceedings are dampened somewhat by a thunderstorm.

December 15: The hymn “Alma Mater” written by James S Pooler and Paul M. Mertz, authors of the first Union opera, is taught to students at a smoker in the gymnasium.

December 19: Premier of the first Union opera, “Marry Ann” at Shubert- Detroit. General chairman of the opera committee, Cornelius F. McIntyre.  Book by James S. Pooler. Lyrics by Paul M. Mertz and Angelo Lorenzo. There were seven evening and two afternoon performances. 11,229 paid admissions.




February: the name of the year book, “Red and White” is changed to “The Tower.”

March: Dramatic society “The Jesters” organized by cast and chorus of the first Union opera. James Shea, first president.

April 22: First Jubilee Junior-Hop, Crystal and Fountain Ballrooms, Masonic Temple.

Summer: Everything but the Law School, Night School, and the High School moves to the new campus on Six Mile and Livernois.

September: Enrollment is now 2,738.

October: The library is moved from the downtown campus to the third floor of the engineering building.  At this time there are about 50,000 books in the collection.

October 8: Unveiling of the tablet on the Memorial Tower bearing the  names of the 12 U of D students killed in the Great War. (The majority were not killed in combat, but by influenza.)



Father McNichols renamed university president for another six years.



January: Tower fee is added to tuition.

April 28-May4: The third annual union opera Hoofs My Dear is at the Temple Theatre.

(Add / Edit Text 



Fifty Years Ago

Horkey Farmhouse "Gesu Mission"

Unveiling Tablet at Memorial Tower


Loading  Loading...