It began as the Detroit Medical College.

In the decades that followed, from the late 19th Century into the 21st,  from a training school to a teachers’ college, from city college to a university, Wayne State University has grown into an urban institution of international stature with educational and research facilities on 220 acres in Midtown.

Old Main Building, Wayne State University
Old Main Building, Wayne State University
Attribution: Del arte at en.wikipedia

With nearly 32,000 students, drawing from every U.S. state and more than 60 countries, Wayne State University now ranks in the nation’s top 50 largest public universities.

Quick facts:

  • More than 370 undergraduate, post-bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, professional, specialist and certificate programs in 13 schools and colleges.
  • 75 percent of WSU’s 245,000 alumni live in Michigan, providing leadership for the state’s economic renewal.
  • WSU is Detroit’s sixth-largest employer.
  • WSU opened 11 new buildings since 2000, including three residence halls.
  • The School of Medicine, with more than 1,000 students, is the largest single-campus medical school in the nation.
  • The Law School was selected a Best Value Law School for 2010 by The National Jurist Magazine.
  • TechTown, the Wayne State research incubator and technology park, serves nearly 120 startup companies.

Wayne State University’s Jewish Connections

Among the first generations of students at Wayne State were Jewish immigrants and servicemen returning from war. Many were the first of their families to get a college education. They took the bus to classes in a variety of repurposed buildings, from the iconic Old Main to former homes scattered throughout Wayne’s small campus.

The names and faces on campus have changed today, as has Detroit’s immigrant population. But, the spirit of the students has remained remarkably true to the origins of the University. While there is a vibrant campus life with students living in residence halls, many students live off campus and attend classes part time. Many of them work full time jobs. Many of them are married with children. Wayne State has students attending classes through their adult years, spending a lifetime educating themselves.

Did you know?

  • Historically, more members of the Jewish community are graduates of Wayne State University than of any other college or university.
  • Established in 1946, Hillel of Metro Detroit (HMD) – home base for campus life, serving Jewish college students and young adults (18-30) on six campuses,  provides a myriad of programs and opportunties to connect, work and play in the greater Detroit area.
  • Established in 1988, the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies is a cooperative venture between Wayne State University and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and United Jewish Foundation. Since its founding, the Center has carved a vital niche for itself in the world of Jewish scholarship and letters, and offers a rich array of programs and activities including broadly-defined cultural events.
  • Open since August 2012, Gold ‘n’ Greens has kicked it up a notch, introducing a fresh fusion of cuisine – the best of Kosher, vegan and vegetarian choices in a cheerful hall at the entrance of the Yousif B. Ghafari Residence at Williams Mall.
  • Sixteen buildings on the Wayne State University Campus bear the name of Jewish philanthropists  – legendary in their time – reflecting the accomplishments of a Jewish community grateful to the University.


 Buildings of Wayne State University

How many buildings can you name?

  • The Richard Cohn Building, 5557 Cass Avenue, Home to the College of Nursing, Dedicated 1957
  • Emma Lazaroff Schaver Music Building, 5451 Cass Avenue Renamed 1986
  • Helen L. DeRoy Auditorium 5203 Cass Avenue, Dedicated  1964
  • Helen L. DeRoy Apartments, 5200 Anthony Wayne Drive, Opened 1974
  • (Nate) Shapero Hall of Pharmacy,  5501 Gullen Mall, Dedicated 1965
  • The Prentis Building, 5201 Cass Avenue, home to the School of Business Administration, renamed for Meyer L. Prentis, 1965
  • Helen Vera Prentis Lande Building, 550 East Canfield Avenue, Classrooms and research laboratories for medical and basic science faculty, Dedicated 1965
  • Student Center Building and the Charles E. Grosberg Religious Center, 5221 Gullen Mall, Dedicated 1971
  • Vera Shiffman Medical Library, 320 East Canfield Street,Dedciated 1970
  • Leonard M. Simons Building, 5959 Woodward, Headquarters for the Wayne State University Press, Dedicated 1994
  • Louis M. Elliman Clinical Research Building, 421 East Canfield Street,  Dedicated April 1989
  • Max Jacob House, 541 Reuther Mall, Renovated as the President’s home, Dedicated 1999
  • Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center, 5201 Gullen Mall, Dedicated 2000
  • Spencer H. Partrich Auditorium, 471 West Ferry Mall, Dedicated 2001
  • Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, 259 Mack Avenue, Dedicated 2002
  • Marvin I. Danto Engineering Development Center, 5050 Anthony Wayne Drive, Dedicated 2008