Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


In 1952, Michigan State College (MSC), now Michigan State University (MSU), was the first university in the world to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Packaging. Other universities had previously offered related courses like canning (as part of a food science degree) or military packaging (in wartime), but MSU was the first to propose packaging as its own academic field of scholarship.

Other universities followed, sharing faculty and curriculum models developed at MSU. As a result, graduates’ careers in packaging now have a higher professional status, and universities play a key role in developing our international community of packaging scholars.

Sixty-five years later, the purpose of this manuscript is to explore the unique circumstances that led to the creation of the Michigan State University School of Packaging. This historical manuscript documents the convergence of the time, place and people, and it shows MSU’s role in cultivating packaging scholarship around the world.