Board of Regents of the University of Michigan

Regents History

The University of Michigan Board of Regents Historical Background

The governing board of the University of Michigan has undergone several major changes in structure and method of selection since the founding of the Catholepistemiad in 1817. The first board, covering the period 1817-1821, consisted simply of the officers of the university. In 1821 a Board of Trustees was established comprised of twenty members appointed by the territorial governor, who was himself an ex officio member. With the coming of statehood in 1837, the name was changed to the Board of Regents and the number of members reduced to ten, but appointments were still made by the governor. The new constitution of 1850 provided for election of the board, with a member representing each circuit court district. The final major change to the Board came in 1863 with provisions that the board would consist of eight members elected at-large for eight year terms. The terms would be staggered with two members elected each to 2, 4, 6 and eight year terms in the 1864 spring election. In 1963 the election date was changed to the Fall with terms beginning the following January first.

Terrence J. McDonald, director of the Bentley Historical Library, presented The Board of Regents in the History of the University of Michigan at the September 14, 2017 Board of Regents meeting. Additional information on the Board of Regents, the University of Michigan, and the state of Michigan can be found at the Bentley Historical Library.