10 Cool Things about Northern Michigan University

Faces of NMU students in winter

Northern Michigan University, founded in 1899, is a regional comprehensive university of approximately 9,000 students, offering 180 degree programs. The most popular majors are art and design, nursing, education, criminal justice and biology. Degrees range from the doctor of nursing practice to master’s, bachelor’s, associate, certificate and diploma. NMU is the second most affordable of Michigan’s 15 public universities. It is the Upper Peninsula’s largest institution of higher education, one of its top five employers, with approximately 1,000 employees, and a major economic contributor to the region.


1. The President chose NMU

  • Former president Barack Obama chose NMU as the site to announce his Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative in 2011. Obama held up Northern's WiMAX network as a leading example of broadband's capabilities. NMU is the first university in the U.S. to build and operate its own WiMAX network, and makes it available to Marquette County governments, police and fire departments at K-12 schools.

2. Turning students into leaders

3. Community Engagement

  • NMU is one of about 300 higher education institutions in the nation to earn the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. NMU students and staff volunteer more than 100,000 hours in the community each year and partner with local groups through service learning courses. www.nmu.edu/volunteer

4. Incredible new international opportunities

       Cuba: NMU is one of only 16 U.S. institutions granted a license for study abroad programs in Cuba and the first to go beyond Havana.
       Milan: 18 art and design students exhibited at the prestigious Salone Satellite furniture show in Milan, Italy in spring 2011.

5.  U.S. Olympic Training Center on campus

  • Hundreds of top athletes train athletes train for their sport and get an education at the same time at the only U.S. Olympic training center on a college campus. Its presence has also helped bring two U.S. Olympic Team Trials and two World Cups in short track speedskating to Marquette.

6. Top rankings

  • Furniture design school
  • Undergraduate design program
  • Military friendly institution
  • Best new poets
  • Teacher education program

7. Awesome alumni

    Including Howard Schultz, CEO and chairman of Starbucks; Tom Izzo, head coach for the Michigan State University men's basketball team; John Lautner, visionary architect; Leah Hocking, Broadway actress; and Teri List, senior vice president and treasurer at Proctor & Gamble.

8. Pivotal student/faculty research

  • Researching genes that may play critical roles in human tumor formation and growth at the Upper Michigan Brian Tumor Center
  • Testing a new class of drugs that treat the attention and memory problems caused by schizophrenia
  • Uncovering 23 new archeological sites at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

9. A leader in green (and gold)

  • First LEED certified residence hall in the Midwest in 2006. Now four residence halls are certified by The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. All new construction will be green. sustainability
  • Partnership for People, Planet and Profits: Fostering Socially, Environmentally, and Economically Sustainable Entrepreneurship program with two Brazilian universities

10. Great arts and entertainment

  • Whether it's a play at the Forest Roberts Theatre, a Northern Nights Performing Arts Series concert, NMU Music Department event, innovative media at the DeVos Art Museum or riveting speakers and performers brought to campus by student groups, there's always something to do. (As of 2012-13)