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Mission and Tradition

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan delivers a purposeful, pragmatic liberal arts education that provides students with adaptable skills to solve problems in an era when new fields disappear as quickly as they emerge. The College’s faculty are on the frontlines of new ideas and pioneering research across every discipline. LSA provides a limitless education that emphasizes curiosity, collaboration, and adaptation.

LSA Mission

To achieve preeminence in creating, preserving, and applying knowledge and academic values, and to enrich the lives of students and transform them into leaders and citizens who challenge the present and illuminate the future.


The College of LSA has its roots in the constitution of the State of Michigan, written in 1835, recommending a university for the “promotion of literature, the arts, and sciences.” Two years later, when Michigan became a state, lawmakers passed an act to provide financially for the organization and government of the University of Michigan. This act stated that the University would consist of three departments, including law, medicine, and the “department of literature, science, and the arts.”

From its earliest days, LSA was the center of research and teaching, providing the building blocks of innovation that today inspire ideas and hands-on transformation.

Commitment to the Future

Nearly 200 years of historical groundwork are the platform on which the College can look forward, not only responding to change, but also anticipating and planning for it. Fundraising efforts and a robust endowment of more than $954 million mean the best and brightest minds can access the College through scholarship support, regardless of their financial circumstances.

We are committed to building on our extraordinary heritage so that every student may acquire knowledge both inside and outside of the classroom.

Timeline and History

A lot happens in two centuries, especially in the oldest College on campus. Created for the University of Michigan’s Bicentennial, this timeline celebrates milestones and special highlights within U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. For 200 years, LSA has seen students, faculty, and alumni make history; departments evolve; museum collections be established and grow; and so much more. We hope you enjoy this look at some of the most remarkable moments along the way.