Michigan was the first large, prestigious university to admit women. A regent referred to the admission of women as a “dangerous experiment,” but James B. Angell, who became president the following year (1871), defended it staunchly. During his thirty-eight-year tenure, programs that had been part of the Literary or Medical College became colleges on their own: Engineering, Dentistry, Homeopathic Medicine, and Pharmacy. Angell’s several trips to China negotiating federal trade agreements established strong ties to the Far East. More than fifty new buildings were built, filling out the original Central Campus square. The students, most of whom he knew by name, called him “dear old Prexy.”
Angell persuaded Dr. Eliza Mosher, one of the Medical School’s earliest women graduates, to leave her prosperous medical practice and become the first dean of women in 1895. As professor of hygiene, she was the first female faculty member and a strong believer in exercise for women.
Much beloved professor of Latin, Henry Simmons Frieze served three times as acting president. A gifted musician, he founded the University Musical Society and collected classical works of art that formed the beginning of what grew into the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
That's a Fact! In 1865-1866, with 1, 205 students, UM was the largest University in the country.