When it first opened its doors in 1899 as Northern State Normal School, 32 students were greeted by a faculty of six on a 22-acre campus.
For many years, educating teachers was the sole mission of the school.
As enrollment swelled in the '50s and '60s, this small teacher's college became a diversified institution with dramatic growth in faculty and facilities.
Under a state constitution in 1963, Northern, like all public institutions in Michigan, was granted university status and an autonomous Board of Trustees.
The state's 15 public universities coordinate their activities through a statewide council composed of presidents and chancellors.