Fast Facts

Western Michigan University 

Established: 1903
Main Campus: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Main phone: (269) 387-1000
Fall 2016 enrollment: 23,252
Nickname: Broncos
Mascot: Buster Bronco
Colors: Brown and gold

WMU is a tobacco-free campus.

Top national institution

Western Michigan University is a globally engaged, national research university that promotes success for learners at all levels and stands out among America’s more than 4,600 public and private degree-granting colleges and universities.

The Carnegie Foundation classifies WMU as one of just 157 public, and 222 public and private, institutions that conduct research at the “higher” or “highest” levels.

Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious honor society, has selected WMU and just 102 other public institutions to shelter one of its chapters.

U.S. News & World Report has designated WMU one of America’s best national universities for 26 consecutive years and has placed it in the top-tier of those universities since 2011.

Washington Monthly categorizes WMU as both a top-100 national university and a Best Bang for the Buck school.

Military Times ranks WMU among the best institutions for veterans, and WMU is the only Michigan school to appear on all seven years of its annual Best for Vets list.

INSIGHT into Diversity consistently honors WMU for its “outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

The Sustainable Endowments Institute presented WMU with one of its six 2015 Best of GRITS—Green Revolving Investment Tracking System—awards, honoring the University as the large nonprofit institution with the most carbon emissions saved to date.

Campuses and facilities

Photo of a WMU flight student walking in front of a row of the University's Cirrus planes.

WMU’s aviation site is home to the largest flight school in the Midwest.

WMU’s campuses and other landholdings encompass 1,289 acres and 171 buildings (including utilities structures) and feature some of the finest facilities in the Midwest.

Campuses

Aviation site—Located at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in nearby Battle Creek, WMU's sophisticated fleet of aircraft and educational facilities for flight, maintenance, and management and operations programs constitute the aviation campus.

East Campus—Located in Kalamazoo just west of the downtown, the East Campus is comprised of landholdings east of Stadium Drive. It has become a hub for health and human services programs and as WMU's birthplace, features the University’s most historic buildings.

Main Campus—Located in Kalamazoo just west of the downtown, the Main Campus is comprised of landholdings west of Stadium Drive. It is home to a majority of WMU’s academic programs, campus services, instructional buildings and residence halls.

Parkview Campus—Located in Kalamazoo three miles south of the Main Campus, the Parkview Campus is home to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences as well as WMU’s Business Technology and Research Park.

Facilities

State-of-the-art buildings are available in areas such as business, chemistry, education, health and human services, science research, and the visual and performing arts. In addition, ongoing improvements to residential neighborhoods across the Main Campus keep a variety of resources and amenities close at hand.

  • Photo of students studying at outdoor café tables shaded by gold umbrellas.

    Outdoor café tables across campus are convenient places to congregate.

    Main Campus apartments, residence halls and apartment-style complexes are able to house more than 7,000 students, and 90 percent of degree-seeking, first-time freshmen lived on campus in fall 2016.
  • Five dining centers and seven cafés, including a new facility offering nine distinctive food venues in a restaurant-like atmosphere, provide a variety of meal and takeout options.
  • Kalamazoo-area landholdings include two nature preserves that are open to the public and used for research as well as education.

Regional locations and online education

Extended University Programs offers academic, professional and enrichment programs close to home through online and lifelong education units as well as 11 regional locations in Michigan and Florida.

Main offices

  • General: (269) 387-4200
  • Online Education: (269) 387-4200
  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU, (269) 387-4200
  • Professional Development and Lifelong Learning, (269) 387-4200

Michigan regional locations

  • WMU-Battle Creek: (269) 965-5380
  • WMU-Grand Rapids, Beltline: (616) 771-9470
  • WMU-Grand Rapids, Downtown: (616) 771-4100
  • WMU-Lansing: (517) 483-9728
  • WMU-MetroDetroit, Auburn Hills: (248) 485-4500
  • WMU-MetroDetroit, Clinton Township: (586) 226-4838
  • WMU-Muskegon: (231) 777-0500
  • WMU-Southwest, Benton Harbor: (269) 934-1500
  • WMU-Traverse City: (231) 995-1846

Florida regional locations

  • WMU-Punta Gorda: (941) 626-2598
  • WMU-Tampa Bay: (813) 419-5100 ext. 5164

Academic colleges

Affiliated Professional Schools

Number of programs and degrees awarded

WMU offers scores of degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It ranks second among Michigan’s 15 public universities in the number of bachelor’s programs offered.

  Degree programs offered
2016-17
Degrees awarded
F.Y. 2015-16
Degrees awarded
since 1918
Totals 257 5,091 288,183
Bachelor’s 149 3,644 216,356
Master’s 75 1,320 68,195
Specialist 1 2 560
Doctoral 32 125 3,072

Enrollment (fall 2016)

WMU attracts a diverse, culturally rich student body from around the state, country and globe.

  • Total students: 23,252
  • Men: 11,309, or 49 percent
  • Women: 11,943, or 51 percent
  • Minorities: 5,147, or 22 percent
  • Michigan: 19,601, or 84.3 percent
  • U.S. territories, other states: 1,818, or 7.8 percent
  • Other countries: 1,833, or 7.9 percent
  • Undergraduate: 18,313, or 79 percent
  • Graduate: 4,939, or 21 percent

Human resources (fall 2016)

This section does not include every employee category.

  • Total: 4,237
  • Regular staff: 1,912
  • Full-time faculty: 884
  • Faculty chairs: 50
  • Part-time faculty: 512
  • Graduate assistants: 512

Financial operations (fiscal year 2015-16)

CategoryDollars
Total current funds $508,986,275
General fund $330,330,67
Auxiliary enterprises $93,862,458
Other activities $84,793,138

Research and sponsored programs

Fiscal yearDollars awarded
2015-16 $23,520,176
2014-15 $35,166,491
2013-14 $27,179,910
2012-13 $24,180,349
2011-12 $22,748,380

Private support*

*Includes highly liquid assets, gift pledges, in-kind gifts, deferred
gifts and unmatured bequests received by the WMU Foundation
**Includes unrestricted funds for support of the medical school

Area F.Y. 2015-16
Total $70,302,260
Paper Technology Foundation $416,765
WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine $1,497,212
WMU** $68,388,283

Economic impact (2010)

Jobs created 9,539
Total spending impact $819,700,000
Student spending $242,600,000
Visitor spending $16,600,000
University spending $535,000,000

Student costs

Although one of the five Michigan universities to have received the Carnegie Foundation’s top research designation, WMU ranks ninth in tuition and fees among the state’s 15 public universities. 

Information about tuition and fees is available online and includes differential tuition charged to students in the Haworth College of Business, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and College of Fine Arts. Information about on-campus housing and dining costs also is available online.

Entering freshman profile (fall 2016)

  • Average GPA: 3.38
  • ACT composite score: 20-25

Financial aid and scholarships (fiscal year 2015-16)

WMU awarded nearly $266 million in financial assistance to 18,399 students. About $50.5 million of this total went to 3,211 graduate students.

Student life

Aerial photo of the Main Campus pedestrian mall filled with students and visitors enjoying the annual Bronco Bash.

Campus and community members fill the Sangren Pedestrian Mall each fall for the Bronco Bash welcome-to-Western party.

The student affairs division supports WMU’s academic mission, engages students in learning and personal development, and helps the University maintain its inclusive campus climate. Among its many responsibilities are overseeing the housing and dining system, Career and Student Employment Services, and an accredited health center complete with counselors and psychologists who are dedicated to helping students manage educational, career and personal issues.

Photo of the ESPN College GameDay cast choosing WMU as the likely winner of a 2016 football game they were featuring.

When "ESPN College GameDay" featured WMU football in 2016, alumnus Greg Jennings, middle, and ESPN's Lee Corso, wearing the Bronco headgear, correctly predicted WMU would win the contest. Photo credit: ESPN

WMU offers a vibrant climate for arts and entertainment. Students can choose from scores of cultural events; more than 1,400 plays, concerts and exhibitions staged by the fine arts college; and performances by comedians, musicians and other popular entertainers sponsored by such student groups as the Campus Activities Board. WMU also is home to Miller Auditorium, the third largest theatre in Michigan, which presents everything from high-profile concerts and multimedia extravaganzas to Broadway shows and internationally acclaimed performances of ballet, opera, music and dance.

In addition, some 400 student organizations provide a wealth of additional opportunities for fun and recreation as well as educational, professional, social and spiritual growth. Meanwhile, WMU is an NCAA Division I school in the Mid-American Conference (Football Bowl Subdivision) and National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Committed to gender equity, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics adds to the vitality of campus life by offering 16 varsity sports.

Men’s sports

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Soccer
  • Tennis

Women’s sports

  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Indoor track and field
  • Outdoor track and field
  • Volleyball

Graduate education

More than one-fifth of WMU’s students are enrolled in one of the University’s 108 graduate programs. They are welcomed into faculty labs and studios, and participate in groundbreaking work being done in partnership with businesses, industries, nonprofits and governments across Michigan and around the world.

Many graduate offerings are nationally or internationally recognized, such as clinical psychology, creative writing, geosciences, engineering management, evaluation, medieval studies, occupational therapy, physician assistant, public affairs, rehabilitation counseling and speech-language pathology.

International education

Photo of an international student sharing a cultural skill from her home country with an attendee at one of WMU's annual International Festivals.

International students share their cultures at annual events.

WMU was the first American university to require all students to study the non-Western world, and all of its degree programs include a global awareness component in their general education requirements. In addition, students may enroll in internationally focused majors or minors in areas such as business, politics, select world regions, and global and international studies and in languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish.

Faculty members routinely engage in scholarly activities around the globe, while hundreds of the University’s domestic students annually study overseas. These students can take advantage of some 100 WMU-operated study abroad programs in more than 40 countries, as well as countless other offerings available through the University’s worldwide linkages with other universities and organizations.

The University's history of international involvement dates back to 1911, when WMU granted its first degree to an international student. Today, 1,833 students from 100 other countries study on campus, some of whom are enrolled in the University's fully accredited intensive English language program for international students. They are supported by the Haenicke Institute for Global Education, which fosters international exchanges, transnational education programs and other global engagement activities as well as guides and bolsters internationalization of both the academic and campus environments.

Worldwide information resources

Computing facilities are available in classrooms, laboratories and residence halls across the campus. In addition, WMU operates Michigan’s fourth largest university library system and one of the the top-100 such systems in the country. Library patrons have access to hundreds of online databases and millions of physical and electronic materials as well as the holdings of 70,000 libraries worldwide.

University Libraries

  • Zhang Legacy Collections Center: (269) 387-8490
  • Swain Education Library: (269) 387-5223
  • Maybee Music and Dance Library: (269) 387-5237
  • Waldo Library (main): (269) 387-5155

Alumni (2015)

WMU has more than 247,000 alumni worldwide, living in all 50 U.S. states and about 140 other countries. Nearly 73 percent—180,188 alumni—reside in America. Of that number, 126,416 or 51 percent reside in Michigan.

  • The top six other countries where alumni reside, in descending order, are Malaysia, India, Japan, Canada, Thailand and China.
  • The top six other states where alumni reside, in descending order, are Illinois, Florida, California, Indiana, Texas and Ohio.
  • The largest concentrations of alumni are in the metropolitan areas of Kalamazoo; Detroit; Chicago; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • About 91 percent of alumni residing in Michigan live south of a line extending from Muskegon County in the west to St. Clair County in the east.

Major milestones in WMU history

Photo of WMU's two trolleys in operation.

Grateful riders were able to use the "Normal Railroad" year-round for nearly 40 years.

May 27, 1903—WMU is established by act of the Michigan Legislature as a preparatory school for teachers and named Western State Normal School.

1904—The first classes are offered, with 117 students enrolled.

1905—Two-year teaching certificates are awarded at the first commencement.

1908—Michigan’s shortest standard-gauge rail route opened on the northeast corner of what is now Heritage Hall, with a double-track rail bed running up Prospect Hill from Davis Street. The Normal Railroad, affectionately known as “the trolley,” was powered by a stationary electric motor at the top of the hill and was in operation until 1947.

1909—The first regional location opens in Grand Rapids.

1920—The first bachelor’s degrees are awarded.

Photo of the 1924 band assembled outside in a “W” formation.

The “W” formation has been a staple of Western bands at least as far back as 1924.

1939—The school nickname is changed from the Hilltoppers to the Broncos.

1953—The first master’s degrees are awarded.

Feb. 26, 1957—WMU becomes the state’s fourth public university and receives its fifth and final name.

1968—The first doctoral degrees are awarded.

1997—A chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, America’s premier honor society, is established at WMU.

2000—WMU is classified as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

2012—A private nonprofit medical school is launched by WMU, Kalamazoo’s two world-class teaching hospitals and community philanthropists. Two years later, the newly named WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine enrolls its first class of students.

2014—WMU affiliates with the nation’s most diverse private nonprofit law school, forming the WMU Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Photo of three 2016 football fans making the "W" symbol with their hands.

Bronco fans turned out in record numbers for the 2016-17 football season.

2015—Heritage Hall opens atop East Campus’ Prospect Hill. Formerly named East Hall, the 1905 structure was extensively renovated to take it from being the oldest and least energy-efficient building on campus to one of the most energy-efficient buildlings in southwest Michigan.

 2016—WMU receives provisional licenses to offer aviation and several other of its high-profile academic programs at Florida campuses in Punta Gorda and Riverview, with final approval coming the following year.

2017—WMU’s Cotton Bowl appearance marks only the second time that a Mid-American Conference football team was selected for a New Year’s Six bowl game. Although the undefeated, No. 15-ranked Broncos lost the contest by eight points to No. 8 Wisconsin, the 2016-17 team ended its season with 73 program records broken.