A brief background of the Michigan Academy
One hundred and nineteen years old this spring, the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters has a stated mission to "disseminate research and diffuse knowledge." The Michigan Academy of Science was founded by a small group of scientists from the public universities and private colleges of Michigan. The organization met yearly in Lansing, East Lansing, or Ann Arbor, with the stated purpose of reading and discussing scientific papers and "to forward the scientific [study of the] resources of the state. . . . " Charter members regularly advised the State of Michigan on matters ranging from conservation and the preservation of natural species to mapmaking. The "Annual Report" of the Academy, which contained partial and full papers, or abstracts of papers presented at the annual meetings, was printed by the State.
In 1921, the Academy’s publications became the responsibility of the University of Michigan. The Academy became "The Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters," and within months, the Academy blossomed with several new sections devoted to humanities disciplines and the organization took on the interdisciplinary character that it retains to this day. (Note: only two other state academies include the humanities disciplines.)
Today, the Academy is located at Alma College and is funded primarily from individual and institutional membership fees. (A list of Member Institutions and individuals who support the Academy at the sustaining and benefactor membership levels appears elsewhere on this site.) Conference registration fees, journal subscriptions and royalties also provide financial support. In 1998, the Academy received a small endowment from Judge Avern Cohn for a prize for the most outstanding paper presented on the topic of law and public policy.
A different member institution hosts the conference each year, usually in March. This year’s conference at Hope College in Holland, Michigan drew over four hundred researchers who presented papers within one of the more than 30 sections. For the first time, a mathematics section was part of the conference program. The 2014 conference will be hosted by Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan on February 28.