Spirit of Detroit celebrates University of Michigan's 200th anniversary

The Spirit of Detroit will look a little blue for the rest of the month. It will be sporting a University of Michigan shirt to commemorate the university's 200th anniversary.

The university was established in the city of Detroit on Aug. 26, 1817 by the governor of the Michigan Territory, Lewis Cass, and several legislators. They enacted a bill to establish a University of Michigania -- also called Catholepistemiad.

Catholepistemiad was a word made up by one of the legislators, said to mean a "system of universal science." As you can imagine, nobody called it that.

The University of Michigan's website says this college was more like a high school before there were high schools, but it was still paid for largely with public funds.

There was never really a "campus" in Detroit, only one building on Bates Street, a block or two from the site of Cadillac Square. In 1837, a gift of 40 acres from land developers in Ann Arbor sealed the decision about where the institution would go. That 40 acres is now what's known as the Diag.

Some disagree on the official founding date of the university, but the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in 1930 that the University had been a continuous legal entity from the original founding in Detroit through its modern incarnation.

The Spirit of Detroit will wear the U of M shirt from August 24 - August 31, 2017. You can find the statue outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center on Woodward Avenue. 

On Sept. 17, a special day of events will also commemorate U-M's founding in Detroit. The Detroit Festival will celebrate and reflect upon U-M's connections to the city in the past, present and future.

You can read more about the University of Michigan's bicentennial and the events celebrating it at bicentennial.umich.edu