High Hopes for a Snow Day

1 02 2011

“They Said Six to Eight Inches: 24-inch snowfall brings freedom, wild weekend”

“Snow forces 2nd MSU shutdown ever”

Those were the titles on the front pages of the January 30, 1967, and April 4, 1975, State News (Note: another snow storm occurred in 1978). Will tonight be a repeat??

Forecasters are stating that East Lansing will be hit with anywhere from 10-14 inches of snow and receive gusts of wind measuring up to 40 miles an hour. I don’t think many students care exactly what kind of weather or how much snow we will  get, I think that we are all concerned about whether or not we’ll have classes tomorrow. It is every student’s never ending dream to have a snow day. We’ve loved them since pre-school and we love them even more now.

Did you know that MSU has only been shut down 3 times due to snow storms in its 156 year history?

January 27, 1967

Within 24 hours, 20.4 inches of snow fell throughout the University. All classes and university operations were suspended for two full days.  The forecast only stated that snow accumulation would be between 6-8 inches…boy were they wrong!  This snow storm created lines of 75-100 people, carrying suitcases, sleds, toboggans, and crates all for lugging home their Friday night drinks.  Tackle football games were played around campus and Grand River restaurants were full of hungry students. Olin had to address 18 injured students as a result of the snow and the police were working anywhere from 24-36 hour shifts.  The sheet of white fluffy stuff truly left the campus in a state of freedom…for the students at least.

* The University was completely closed. Classes were canceled and non-academic staff were told not to report. This was the first time the university was closed due to weather. No one was allowed to drive on campus except faculty and necessary services personnel*

April 4, 1975

“April storm brings flakes not flowers”. One wouldn’t necessarily expect a huge snow fall in April, but in 1975 it happened. Nearly 13 inches of snow fell on the campus within 15 hours. MSU shut itself down for the second time and students took it to their advantage. Dorm food trays were used as “mini toboggans” for sliding down the sloped roof of Munn Arena and snowball fights were breaking out everywhere on campus. And of course, the bars all filled up. Students were stated saying that they had too much work to catch up on so they instead decided to go to the bars to relax and enjoy their day off.

*The University was completely closed. This was considered the 2nd University shutdown ever due to weather*

January 25/26, 1978

This snow storm is perhaps the most remembered out of the three, not only because of its (kind of) recent occurrence, but because of the activities that resulted from it. The high winds along with the 18-inch blanket of snow that fell on the University prompted President Harden to close down MSU.  Michigan was declared to be in a state of emergency and it took work crews and emergency vehicles nearly 80 hours to clear the roads. MSU crews were also trying to clear the [then] 131 miles of campus pavement. Students took advantage of their time off and many went out to frolic in the snow. Others chose to go stock up on beer and alcohol to celebrate their time off. The 1978 Red Cedar Log Yearbook quotes one student stating, after a trip to Goodrich’s ShopRite, “The store was mobbed…Their supply of beer was gone in a day”.  Campus Corners II also sold out on their entire inventory of beer! Even the bar Dooley’s created a “Blizzard Special” where beer and mixed drinks were sold for half off.  Needless to say, I believe this snow storm didn’t disappoint the student body.

*Classes were canceled for 2 consecutive days however the university was closed only on January 25th. This was the first time that classes were canceled for two consecutive days*

So the question remains…will history repeat itself? Will MSU students and faculty be graced with a snow day tomorrow?  I personally don’t think the University will shut down again, however I do have faith that some classes might be cancelled.  It looks like we’ll have to find out tonight…


Merrell, Jeff. “Snow Forces 2nd MSU Shutdown Ever.” State News [East Lansing] 4 Apr. 1975. Print.

Mollison, Andrew. “They Said Six to Eight Inches.” State News [East Lansing] 30 Jan. 1967. Print.

The Spirit of Michigan State, J. Bruce McCristal

1978 Red Cedar Log Yearbook




6 responses

1 02 2011
Tweets that mention High Hopes for a Snow Day « Archives @ MSU -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Vanessa L.P., Devon Barrett and WRAC @ MSU, WRAC @ MSU. WRAC @ MSU said: Will the number of snow days in MSU history rise from 3 to 4 this week? http://bit.ly/ghGB3t […]

3 02 2011
David McFarlane

There has been continued confusion about these dates, especially with a 1994 date reported in the News. Folks at the Archives helped straighten this out for me, so here is the definitive list as I got it from them:
– 30 Jan 1967: Campus closed due to snow.
– 4 Apr 1975: Campus closed due to snow.
– 25-26 Jan 1978: Campus closed due to snow.
– 19 Jan 1994: *Classes* canceled due to *cold*.
– 2 Feb 2011: Campus closed due to snow.
Note the distinctions between closing the campus and merely canceling classes, and between closing due to snow vs. due to cold. This accounts for the confusion.

3 02 2011

Hi David,

Thanks for the comment! We have one further point of clarification. The University was closed only on January 25, 1978 even though classes were canceled for both days. It was the first time ever that classes were canceled for two consecutive days.


3 02 2011
David McFarlane

Now another story: An employee here recalls the 1975 closure was due to *flooding*, not snow. She recalls a great snowfall during which campus did not close, then a thaw a week later that flooded campus so severely that it cut off access. Don’t know how that squares with reports from the time.

27 01 2012
Steve Moeke

Remembering a picture of my neighbors and roommates on Grand River Ave. in the State News during the blizzard in 78. We went to Campus Corners, with an inner tube, bought a keg and dragged it down Grand River and played football in the snow!

23 01 2016

I lived on the 3rd floor of Holden Hall at the time. The snow drifts were all the way up to top of the 2nd floor. Don’t forget the traying off of Munn Ice Arena.

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