The University of Michigan celebrated its bicentennial, and its impact on American higher education, in 2017. Across the full array of activities, it broadly engaged the University community, drawing in faculty, students, staff, alumni, and members of the community beyond the University. It promoted the University via several high-profile events. It offered moments of fun, recognition, creativity, aspiration, memory, and thought. It galvanized the community’s pride in its institution and connected members of the community to the University in new ways.
The bicentennial raised awareness and revitalized understanding of the University’s rich and complex history. It encouraged reflection on the University’s future during a time of transition and transformation in higher education. The mix of activities devoted to the bicentennial demonstrated the possibility of combining celebration and critical self-examination — or, as President Schlissel said at one point, “celebration and cerebration.”