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James Burrill Angell with Faculty, 1876

James Burrill Angell with Faculty, 1876 image

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(first row, third from right), 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."

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Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society