Woodbridge and Helen Ferris started a school in 1884 that would become an institute, a college and eventually a state university.
Woodbridge Ferris visited many sites for his prospective school, but decided on Big Rapids, Mich., a small community known for its place in the logging industry, rather than education.
Though his efforts to develop and expand his school were great and successful, Mr. Ferris would also run and be twice elected to the governorship of Michigan. Later, he would run and win election to the United States Senate where he served until his death on March 23, 1928.
When a devastating fire in February of 1950 destroyed Old Main and the Pharmacy building, the future of the school, which was recently given to the state, was in question. In the subsequent decades the campus has been rebuilt and continued to grow. In 1963 the school would be renamed Ferris State College and new buildings populated the increasing campus area as well as larger number of students. In 1987 the university would change its name again to the current, Ferris State University.
Numbering over 13,500 students today and degrees ranging from associates to doctoral, the school that Ferris built has experienced a significant amount of change.
It is now 125 years after the doors were first opened. The classrooms are larger and the buildings are bigger. There are more students, faculty and staff, but as Woodbridge and Helen began their task a century and a quarter ago, and as the of the decades have tried and tested the Ferris’ school, the flame
continues to burn as a beacon from the past illuminating our future.