Western Michigan University, along with Kalamazoo College, has long pushed Kalamazoo into the limelight as a “college town”. It was initially established as Western State Normal School, in 1903, for the training of teachers.  

It was in 1957 when Governor G. Mennen Williams signed a bill into law that created Western as a university, giving the school its current name. 

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The list of notable names that have attended WMU, over the years, is lengthy. Vernie Merze Tate stands out as the first African-American graduate of Western Michigan Teachers College. She received her degree in 1927.   

She went on to become the first African-American woman to attend the University of Oxford, and the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in government and international relations from Radcliffe College, which then became Harvard University. 

Out of that lengthy list, here are 11 celebrities, which you may recognize, who once attended Western Michigan University. 

11 Celebrities Who Attended Western Michigan University

7 Celebrities Who Attended Kalamazoo College

11 Celebrities Who Were Born In Kalamazoo

Not only is Kalamazoo known as the birthplace of Gibson Guitar, Checker Cab, and the Upjohn Company, but it's also the birthplace of a number of celebrities. Here are 11 well-known names that were born in Kalamazoo. Some of them grew up in the area, others quickly left town for greener pastures.

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