Drive through the heart of East Lansing adjacent to the campus of Michigan State University on Grand River Avenue and you'll see the intersection for M.A.C. Avenue. An odd street name, and one that has tripped up those not native to the Lansing area.

If you are a Michigan State alumni, or fan, or just a Michigander with a little historical knowledge, you'll know that MSU was once the Michigan Agricultural College. (Where do you think the Moo U sobriquet?)

That is where the M.A.C. Avenue name comes from. But for modern-day usage how does one pronounce the name of the street? As one word like mack or spelled out em-aye-cee?

What is M.A.C Avenue in East Lansing And How do You Pronounce It?

The avenue runs north of Grand River Avenue to Burcham Drive. It is a residential street and also home to several of the school's Greek organizations.

Even on the oldest plats of East Lansing, the street is identified as M.A.C Avenue though it may have always stood for Michigan Agricultural College Avenue.

The question came up recently on the Historical Society of Greater Lansing Facebook page recently.

Ok here's something that has been bugging me for a while. M.A.C. Avenue is getting pronounced Mack Avenue by people who don't understand the significance of those letters. I know signs cost a lot to make. But in an effort to honor history wouldn't it be great if there was at least one big sign right at M.A.C. and Grand River that spelled out Michigan Agricultural College Avenue.

The answer on pronunciation seems to come down to two things: age and nativeness to Lansing.

Those who are natives of Lansing and/or of an older generation, generally, go with the letters, em-aye-cee, to name the street. Those who are younger and transplants to the area are all mack.


I pronounce it "Mack" but know I what it stands for. I think the fact that it is written M.A.C. means the original meaning remains in view

I’m a current msu student and we all call it “mack” ave because it flows better than m.a.c. ave but I promise you we all know what it stands for and take immense pride in our school and it’s history. Just cause younger generations do things differently doesn’t mean it’s wrong or disrespectful.

Team M.A.C.

My grandmother lived on M.A.C. so I’ve always known it as that and most people I know say it as ‘‘em a cee Avenue) as the periods designate that the pronunciation is letters and not a word itself.

I’m also from the “olden days” and we still call it M. A. C.
When I hear people say mac it kind of makes me cringe.

I have always said M—A—C, never MACK. I grew up here and am a 3rd generation Spartan. I always cringe a bit when I hear MACK.

Being an MSU alum and knowing its history, I always call the the avenue M. A. C. knowing it stood for Michigan Agricultural College.

Sounds like this debate won't be settled easily. M.A.C. or Mack Avenue, you may make someone cringe based on your pronunciation but no one with be confused about what street you're referring to.

M.A.C. Avenue is just a few blocks long in East Lansing, nowhere near the length of the nation's longest highways. Check out these roads that roll up the miles:

LOOK: The longest highways in America

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Gallery Credit: Hannah Lang

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