What is today Lawrence Technological University was founded in 1932 as Lawrence Institute of Technology. The founder and first president was Russell E. Lawrence, who at the height of the Great Depression envisioned a new model of higher education that served both traditional students as well as working adults, and combined a teaching philosophy espousing both theory and practice.
He felt that engineering and technological achievements would be what would spur economic growth and recovery, both for the region and the nation. Henry and Edsel Ford agreed to lease their former Henry Ford Trade School building to the new university, located at 15100 Woodward Avenue at their iconic Model-T assembly complex in Highland Park. Lawrence Tech remained in this facility from 1932 until developing its own 102-acre campus in then-rural Southfield in 1955 on what had been a General Mills research farm.
Lawrence Institute of Technology was founded as an engineering school, so it is perhaps fitting that the first building constructed on the new campus was the College of Engineering building. The campus master plan was created by professer Earl W. Pellerin, who also led the teams that designed the Engineering, Architecture, and Science Buildings, University Housing-South, Campus Facilities building, and what was originally the president’s residence.
The Lawrence Technolgocal University’s College of Architecture and Design has its origins in the Architectural Engineering department of the School of Engineering under the direction of Earl W. Pellerin. Dr. Pellerin directed the architectural program developments from the institution’s founding in 1932 until his retirement in 1974.
The School of Architecture was created in 1962. A Bachelor of Architecture professional degree was offered beginning in 1973, and Master of Architecture professional degree program commenced in the Fall 1993.
Today Lawrence Tech offers more than 100 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. The 4,500-student, private not-for-profit university pioneered evening classes and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. In addition to Southfield, programs are also offered in Detroit, Lansing, Petoskey, Traverse City, and Toronto. Lawrence Tech also partners with universities in Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Lawrence Tech’s College of Architecture and Design has long been the largest in Michigan and among the 10 largest in the nation. Today, some 45 percent of the practicing architects in Michigan are Lawrence Tech graduates.
“College of Architecture and Design: History and Mission,” Lawrence Tech, accessed January 6, 2012.
“Lawrence Tech History: A Proud Heritage,” Lawrence Tech News. Accessed January 6, 2012.