Historical Timeline

Historical Aerial View of Ferris Campus
January 6, 1853 Woodbridge Nathan Ferris born near Spencer, Tioga County, New York.
September 7, 1853 Helen Frances Gillespie born in New Haven, New York.
December 23, 1874 W.N. Ferris and Helen Frances Gillespie married at her home in Fulton, New York.
September 1, 1884 W.N. Ferris and H.G. Ferris open the Big Rapids Industrial School in temporary quarters in the Vandersluis Block (present location of JC Penney Co.) in Big Rapids.
January, 1885 Big Rapids Industrial School moves to permanent home at the northwest corner of Michigan and Maple Streets in the Big Rapids Northern National Bank Building.
January, 1885 Name of Big Rapids Industrial School changed to Ferris Industrial School.
1893 Marius Preysz asks W.N. Ferris for training in pharmacy. His success in passing the state board examination encourages Mr. Ferris to establish a pharmacy department.
January, 1894 Ferris Industrial School moves into and dedicates its new building (Old Main) on the corner of Oak and Ives Streets.
January, 1894 Ferris Industrial School incorporated, with capital stock of $50,000.
1898 Name changed from Ferris Industrial School to Ferris Institute.
1900 W. N. Ferris sells capital stock in Ferris Institute to the public, keeping a controlling interest in his own hands.
1901 Pharmacy Annex Building constructed.
1901 Helen Gillespie Ferris retires as teacher and vice president of Ferris Institute.
1902 Bert Scott Travis becomes secretary and treasurer of Ferris Institute. Gerrit Masselink becomes Vice President of Ferris Institute..
January 1, 1913 W.N. Ferris inaugurated Governor of Michigan.
January 1, 1915 W.N. Ferris inaugurated Governor of Michigan for second term.
March 23, 1917 Helen Gillespie Ferris dies.
August 14, 1922 W.N. Ferris marries Mary Ethel McCloud of Indianapolis, Indiana.
November 7, 1922 W.N. Ferris elected United States Senator from Michigan.
1923 W.N. Ferris sells controlling interest in Ferris Institute to Gerrit Masselink and Bert Scott Travis. Ferris institute is reorganized as a non-profit school with non dividend bearing stock.
October 30, 1926 First homecoming, sponsored by Phi Sigma Chi fraternity.
March 23, 1928 W.N. Ferris dies in Washington, D.C.
March 24, 1928 Gerrit Masselink takes office as second president of Ferris Institute.
April 25, 1929 Gerrit Masselink dies. An advisory board of Grover C. Baker, E.M. Clark, K.G. Merrill and E.J. Parr chosen to manage the school. E.M. Clark, as chair of the board, becomes acting president.
September 4, 1929 Alpheus A. Worcester takes office as acting president.
October 19, 1929 Alumni building dedicated.
July 1, 1930 Wells D. White takes office as fourth president.
August 25, 1931 The Board of Incorporators, a group of 39 businessmen, purchase Ferris Institute from the old stockholders and select a board of trustees from their numbers to govern the school.
February 12, 1931 Pioneer sports writer Lester "Jap" Williams gives the Ferris Institute athletic teams (notably the Basketball team) the nickname "Bulldogs."
1931 Wells D. White leaves the presidency, an executive board consisting of E.M. Clark, E.J. Parr and K.G. Merrill chosen to manage the school. E.M. Clark, as chairman of the board, is acting president.
1931 B.S. Travis retires as secretary and treasurer of Ferris Institute, but continues teaching.
1932 Ernest E. Brown of Oklahoma takes office as fifth president.
February 14, 1936 Ernest E. Brown leaves the presidency to become president of Northwestern State Teachers College in Alva, Oklahoma.
February 17, 1936 E.M. Clark appointed acting president.
July 13, 1936 Merle S. Ward takes office as seventh president.
February, 1943 Ferris Institute alumnus Colin Smith introduces a bill in the legislature for the state to purchase Ferris Institute. It passes both houses but is vetoed by Gov. Harry Kelly.
April, 1946 Merle S. Ward leaves the presidency after a misunderstanding with the Board of Trustees.
July 10, 1946 Byron J. Brophy takes office as president.
May 17, 1949 Governor G. Mennen Williams signs bill accepting Ferris Institute as a gift to the State of Michigan, which will take over its governance on July 1, 1950.
February 21, 1950 Old Main and Old Pharmacy buildings destroyed by fire, only the Alumni Building and some minor buildings left standing.
July 1, 1950 Ferris Institute becomes a state college.
February, 1952 Byron J. Brophy resigns as president because of ill health.
February, 1952 Karl G. Merrill named acting president.
September 8, 1952 Victor F. Spathelf takes office as 10th president.
July 1, 1963 Name changed from Ferris Institute to Ferris State College.
Fall, 1968 First Ferris undefeated football team (7-0-1). Bob Leach was the head coach.
December 15, 1970 Victor F. Spathelf retires as president.
December 16, 1970 John R. Smith takes office as acting president.
March 15, 1971 Robert L. Ewigleben takes office as 12th president.
1983-1984 Celebration of centennial of Ferris State College.
June 30,1984 Robert L. Ewigleben retires as president.
July 1, 1984 J. William Wenrich takes office as 13th president.
November, 1987 Name changed from Ferris State College to Ferris State University.
September 5, 1988 J. William Wenrich leaves the presidency.
September 6, 1988 Roy J. Tiede takes office as interim president.
July 31, 1989 Roy J. Tiede ends his term as interim president.
August 1, 1989 Helen Popovich takes office as 15th president.
July 31, 1994 Helen Popovich retires as president.
August 1, 1994 William A. Sederburg takes office as interim president.
August 1, 1995 William A. Sederburg officially appointed the 16th president.
May 2003 William A. Sederburg leaves office to accept position as president of Utah Valley State College.
May 2003 Scott Hill-Kennedy appointed as interim president.
July 2003 David L. Eisler takes office as the 18th president.