The University of Michigan was established in 1817 by the Michigan Territorial legislature as one of the United States' first public universities, on 1,920 acres (8 km²) of land ceded by the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi people "...for a college at Detroit." The school moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor in 1837, only 13 years after the latter city had been founded. It has provided a diverse student population with a diverse set of educational opportunities, including academic and professional programs, intramural and NCAA sports programs, and more cultural activities than most residents of Ann Arbor can exploit.
The University of Michigan is sometimes called "The Harvard of the Midwest," a title also claimed by the University of Chicago. In response to the comparison, Harvard is often referred to in jest as "The Michigan of the East" by university students, alumni, and staff.
The university in 2003 had 51,000 students and 5,600 faculty in three campuses. The University of Michigan system includes the main Ann Arbor campus (which had about 39,000 students) as well as two others, the University of Michigan, Dearborn and the University of Michigan, Flint.
The University of Michigan boasts of one of the largest health care complexes in the world, one of the best university library systems in the country, and the some of the best computer access for students and faculty of any campus in the world. It is one of only two public institutions consistently ranked in the nation's top ten universities. Most of its academic departments, graduate, and professional schools (including its law, medical, and business schools) rank in the U.S.'s top ten. The university is the largest pre-law and pre-medicine university in the country (more Michigan students are accepted into U.S. medical schools than students from any other undergraduate campus in the nation) and has the largest yearly research expenditure of any university in the United States. Michigan also has the highest tuition of any American state school.
The University of Michigan is often referred to simply as UM and U of M. The latter term is also used to refer to the University of Minnesota, the University of Montana, the University of Missouri (Columbia) and the University of Maryland. (Note, however, that Missouri is more often referred to as MU, Mizzou, or UMC.) University of Michigan students, faculty, and alumni may assert, half-jokingly, that only the University of Michigan is "really" the "U of M," or that it has a better claim to that appellation than the others have. A less commonly used nickname is "Umich," which is used in its website URL http://www.umich.edu.
Michigan has a huge rivalry with Ohio State, considered one of the biggest college rivalries in sports, especially in football. It also has a rivalry with Michigan State, and the schools compete for the Paul Bunyan Trophy on a regular basis. The Wolverines also have a long-standing rivalry with Minnesota; the two schools battle for the Little Brown Jug, a small jug with the respective schools' "M" on either side and the scores of previous games down the middle.