History and Mission

History and Mission

University Mission Statement

We deliver action-based undergraduate and graduate education and discover new knowledge through research and innovation. We create solutions for society’s challenges through interdisciplinary education, research, and engagement to advance sustainable economic prosperity, health and safety, ethical conduct, and responsible use of resources. We attract exceptional students, faculty, and staff who understand, develop, apply, manage, and communicate science, engineering, technology, and business to attain the goal of a sustainable, just, and prosperous world. Our success is measured by accomplishments and reputation of our graduates, national and international impact of our research and scholarly activities, and investment in our University.

University Vision Statement

Michigan Tech will lead as a global technological university that inspires students, advances knowledge, and innovates to create a sustainable, just, and prosperous world.

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From its humble beginning as a training school for mining engineers, Michigan Technological University has grown into a leading public research university and a key educational partner within the state of Michigan, the nation, and beyond. Here, a look at the University’s journey through the leadership of its nine presidents.

  • 1885—The Michigan Mining School began with four faculty members and twenty-three students on the second floor of the old Houghton Fire Hall.
  • Marshman E. Wadsworth, 1887–1898—Student and faculty numbers increased, and the School was moved to its present location.
  • Fred W. McNair, 1899–1924—Several new buildings were created and a number of modifications were made to the School’s academic programs.
  • William Hotchkiss, 1925–1935—The Michigan Mining School became the Michigan College of Mining and Technology. The College kept current with changes in society by adding programs in chemical, electrical, civil, and mechanical engineering, and in forestry.
  • Grover C. Dillman, 1935–1956—The College procured the village of Alberta, Michigan, with its sawmill and 4,000-acre forest, from the Ford Motor Company and added programs in engineering administration, physics, and geological engineering.
  • J. Robert Van Pelt, 1956–1964—The long-dormant PhD programs were revived and an aggressive research initiative began. In 1964, the College officially became Michigan Technological University.
  • Raymond L. Smith, 1965–1979—Enrollment grew from 3,400 to more than 7,600, and the number of faculty increased to nearly 300. The University saw the addition of ten buildings, a variety of new programs, and a sharp increase in research dollars.
  • Dale F. Stein, 1979–1991—Graduate research and University funding were the focuses of this era, culminating in the naming of Michigan Tech as one of the state’s four nationally recognized research universities.
  • Curtis J. Tompkins, 1991–2004—During this time, the University gained new academic stature, receiving recognition from U.S. News and World Report and other national rankings.
  • Glenn D. Mroz, 2004–Present—Under Mroz’s leadership, research funding has continued to grow, topping $56 million annually, and the financial picture of the University has improved dramatically. Ninety percent of Tech’s 430 faculty now hold the highest degree in their field, and enrollment has grown steadily to more than 6,700.