Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M


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Cafeteria memories

As I suspect is true for so many of us, my undergraduate years (1979-1984) were simply the best years of my life. When I take my two kids to the campus area and try to explain to them what was so wonderful about those years, I find it difficult to put into words and even more difficult to describe tradition. The tradition that students become instantly part of and the tradition that came before. I was attempting to describe the Michigan Union and the Michigan League. My son failed to appreciate my regret that the League cafeteria had closed. What was so special about a cafeteria? "Well," I told them, "Back then, it was a place where you could get something to eat." Son and daughter both looking at me blankly now. I forge ahead: "We didn't have a fast food franchise every 10 feet... and there was a lot of tradition involved in the few places outside the dorm, where you could gather with friends and have a meal."

Even more blank expressions when I tried to tell them about Drake's…

  • Ramona
  • BA

The Panty Raid of 1952

While a Freshman student at the U. of M. in 1952, I lived at Stockwell Hall. The sound of a trumpet was heard at a men's dorm (maybe South Quad) played by Benton Harbor, Mi. student, Art Benford, and thus begun the famous panty raid. The guys raced to Stockwell Hall and ran through hallways claiming they were there to steal our panties. It was such excitement, but not many thefts occurred!

  • Susanne Watt Warren
  • Music School - B.A.

John F. Kennedy

I stood in the crowd at the Michigan Union the night JFK announced his idea and plan for the peace corps. We dormies had permission to stay out past hours to hear his address. I will never forget his enthusiasm, his grace and his ability to touch the crowd. Little did I know then that it would be a cherished memory for me.

  • Karen Bombaugh Shilling
  • B.A.

Part Time Work

While getting my MPH in Radiation Safety I was offered the opportunity to work as a Health Physics Tech at the U of M's swimming pool nuclear reactor @ Phoenix Memorial Lab.

  • Robert Greear

As I read a Michigan Memory entitled, Ralph Cramden Goes to Law School, it brought back a flood of memories. For I too was a student bus driver while attending the School of Social Work at U of M.

When I became a student bus driver, I was already working as a Truck Driver for the University's Laundry Service located up on North Campus. I delivered linen, surgical gowns, and the ancillary components for assembling surgical packs. My rate of pay for this work was $4.25 an hour, which I initially thought was a pretty good.

However, an acquaintance of mine from when I worked the Book Rushes at Ulrich's told me that the Transportation Department was hiring student bus drivers. Initially, I wasn't interested because I thought that I had a good paying job. Then he told me that the starting hourly rate was $11.75. I suddenly became very interested, and went with him up to the bus garage to apply.

The manager liked what he saw on our applications, and gave us driving tests in the parking lot next to Crisler Arena. He pulled one of the old Flexible Coaches out of the barn for us to drive. Unlike the newer Flexible and GMC Coaches, the older model didn't have power steering. When turning one of these under-powered beasts, hard hand-over-hand maneuvers were required to complete a turn, which resulted in a great upper body workout. Long story short, we were both hired.

The major differences between Mr. Stutz's experience and my own were: The rates of pay and the locations where we parked our respective coaches. He parked his by Hutchins Hall, while I parked mine on Washington between the Rackham and Friese Buildings.

In bad weather conditions, I actually preferred driving the older Flexible Coaches to the newer ones or the GMC's because one could feel the road, whereas with the others you could not tell when the coach was on ice until it was too late. The biggest drawback to driving one of the old Flexible Coaches was the fact that they were grossly under powered.

If I was on the Bursley/Bates run up to North Campus, I prayed that I wouldn't have a passenger wanting to get on or off at the stop by the North Campus Commons because the "Bursley Hill" started immediately north of the stop.

Even though I would put the pedal to the metal, the coach moved so slowly that students walking up the same hill would progress faster than me.

Unlike my job driving the laundry truck where there was a set number of hours I was allowed to work, I could drive as many hours per week that I wanted.

When I got my first job after completing my program at the SSW, I took a cut in pay, and a lot has changed.

This year my class from the SSW celebrates its 25th Anniversary. As I read Mr. Stutz's account from when he was in Law School, I was taken on a trip down Amnesia Lane to a simpler time when I got by on what I made as a student bus driver at the University of Michigan.

  • Daniel M. Kaller
  • MSW

Research paper on the 1970 BAM strike

Hi In 1971, I wrote a 28 page research paper for my BA degree at the University of Sussex on the U of M Black Action Movement strike that occurred in March 1970. I recently found my paper and thought it would be of interest to somebody at the Univ of Michigan - who would be interested? Let me know. Holly Sweet

  • Holly Sweet
  • at U-M 66-68

Ralph Cramden Goes To Law School

After arriving at the Law School in August 1968, I found employment as a bus driver for the U-M Transportation Dept. ($4.00/hour vs $1.75/hour for law clerks). Not only did the job provide enough money to meet my expenses, it also solved the difficult problem of parking on campus. I would pick up a bus early in the morning, drive for two or three hours and then head for classes. There were always no-parking zones around Hutchins Hall big enough to accommodate a 45 foot long Flexible or GMC bus and at no charge. After finishing classes for the day, I'd walk out of the Law School, start up the bus and drive for a few more hours. The parking was far superior to that made available to the Dean of the Law School.

I was scheduled to drive a charter group to a Bill Cosby Concert in the fall of 1968 and I believe it was the weekend of the Michigan State football game. I tried not to let the job interfere with my social life and arranged for a blind date. The blind date turned out to be an attractive MSU grad, who was somewhat surprised to be picked up for the date and driven to the Show in a University bus. Julie and I have now been married for 40 years.

The job also involved chauffeuring the President and Regents of the University to various locations around Southeast Michigan, primarily the airport. I was able to get to know these people and enjoyed our conversations over three years. During commencement exercises, I followed a parade of fellow graduates across the stage at Hill Auditorium, but I was the only one whom then President Robben Fleming and the five Regents rose to greet. My father and mother were never told why this happened, but they appeared pleased.

  • R. Gregory Stutz
  • J.D.

The Daily and Von Karajan

Most of my out-of-class activity involved THE MICHIGAN DAILY. I started as a reporter, worked my way up to Assistant Night Editor, Night Editor and finally Feature Editor in my Senior Year. I was also taking the Journalism Curriculum under Wes Maurer who didn't like the idea of Journalism students working on The Daily. I never understood that illogical attitude until years later. Maurer had no control over The Daily and that's what colored his thinking. Nevertheless, I persevered and was supported in my Daily activities by other professors in the Journalism Department,especially Ken Stewart, Jim MacDonald, and Karl Zeisler.

It was heartwarming to tour the restored Student Publications building in October 2008. I missed the sound of the AP wire, the presses in the basement and the typewriters. Much to my surprise, the ring on the telephones is still the same as it was in the 50s.

My junior year held the greatest excitement due to the nationwide protest about former Nazi musician Herbert von Karajan being named to take the Berlin Philharmonic on its U.S. tour after the death of conductor Furtwangler. As Music Editor, I had stories running almost daily for nearly three weeks.

I asked the Berlin Philharmonic for an interview with von Karajan. They granted the interview, only if I could be backstage at Hill Auditorium as soon as the concert was over. The only way to do that was to go backstage at intermission and wait there. That's what I did. I lifted up the eye slot in the door leading to the stage so I could watch von Karajan as he conducted the Brahms Third Symphony. We had a ten-minute discussion after the concert. I'll never forget that entire experience.

  • H. David Kaplan
  • B.A.

I had Professor Fine (Teacher, scholar, mensch, May 2009) during my sophomore year (1975-76) for 20th Century American History, which was then called History 562 and 563. During my senior year, Professor Fine was my Honors Thesis advisor, which allowed me to get to know him more personally than was possible when I was a 19-20 year old in a large lecture class.

Sidney Fine was the quintessential university professor, combining a marvelous intellect with a love of teaching that earned him many awards from appreciative students. Somehow, he was able to more than satisfy the stringent publishing requirements imposed on faculty by a prestigious university without sacrificing his obligations to his students, who benefited from the intellectual curiosity he conveyed through his fascinating lectures, and from his interest in them as individuals trying to navigate through life.

Professor Fine also exemplified what a liberal arts education should be, namely, the free discussion of competing ideas between professor and student. He never imposed his ideology on others, or required its regurgitation on an exam or paper as a predicate to success in his classes. He always made himself available to his students, and he appreciated the need for balance between academics and personal development by encouraging his students to take full advantage of their college experience. On a personal level, this served me greatly when I submerged myself in my senior thesis, and lost sight of the bigger picture.

Professor Fine will be sorely missed and will never be replaced. His legacy is a major part of what is The University of Michigan.

  • Steven Plotkin
  • BA

My favorite professor

I loved Sidney Fine (Teacher, scholar, mensch, May 2009) with the affection one feels toward a parent. I was this insignificant undergraduate in a huge History lecture, and I was determined to get to know Professor Fine. I went to his office hours every week, often just to chat, and he never turned me away. I also erased his chalkboard after every lecture, which he came to expect of me. I was honored to get covered in chalk to help him out. He walked with a limp, and yet never complained about snow or rain. He always wore a hat and a topcoat. I still think of his lectures, especially those on the Japanese internment during WWII. He was most passionate about that topic, and I now know more than one family out here in California who was relocated during the War. I always think of things Professor Fine taught me, even when I hear opera, one of his passions. He was my favorite all-time professor, and one of the best people I've ever known.

  • Liz McLogan Sugar
  • BA History, MA Asian Studies

Taking 20th century American History with Professor Fine (Teacher, scholar, mensch, May 2009) is a treasured memory of my U-M days. When he talked about the McCarthy era, the size of the class swelled, with students filling the steps of the lecture hall to hear his riveting lecture. That semester (winter '70), the Black Action Movement made demands for higher minority enrollment and tried to coerce students and faculty to support them. At the height of the tension, I skipped Friday classes, leaving campus to get away. That day, BAM activists took over Professor Fine's class, an ugly incident he spoke eloquently about the following Monday, likening the coercion and fear of the episode to the McCarthy era.

  • Joan Rasmussen
  • B.A.

Dr. Fine

Dr. Fine was probably the most interesting lecturer I had when I attended Michigan (Teacher, scholar, mensch, May 2009). And as Dr. Tobin wrote, he had a keen sense of humor. During a lecture on U.S. history from 1865 to 1920 he touched upon liquor laws as they applied to American Indians. Several students, I among them, didn't understand what he said. We tried to buttonhole him after class. However, before we could say anything a well-known campus radical of Jewish descent barged in and raked Dr. Fine over the coals for going too easy on "Malefactors of Great Wealth." The man spouted cliches. We could see that Dr. Fine was getting hot under the collar. Finally the man ran out of steam. As he retreated out the door Dr. Fine turned to us and said, "You know, that man is enough to make you anti-Semitic."

  • John H. Wilde
  • BA (Honors)

Sidney Fine (Teacher, scholar, mensch, May 2009) is one of the professors I vividly remember and have thought about through life. His lectures were riveting. In these times of financial crisis, I recalled his lectures on the beginnings of the great Depression, the failure of the textile industry. I never missed one of his classes and still have the books he assigned. I know no one can live forever but can always hope.

  • Jim Kamman
  • BS

Eggs and Joe McCarthy

I have very fond memories of Sidney Fine (Teacher, scholar, mensch May 2009) and am very saddened by the news. His legendary lecture on Sen. Joe McCarthy was eagerly anticipated. When he delivered it in front of a packed auditorium of hundreds for his course on US History in the 20th Century during the 1966-67 school year, he really delivered it with facts and with zest. Since he had a multiple choice final exam, I crammed the facts hard during an all-nighter and had a rare real breakfast with scrambled eggs to fortify myself. I knew the stuff for the exam; my only fear was that I would conk out in the middle of the exam!

I graduated with high honors in history.

  • Stephen Spitz
  • BA

Undecided, maybe

I'm writing reminiscences of my days at Michigan from January, 1957 until December, 1960. I'm 95,000 words in and haven't got to class yet. So far I've covered work, life in a dorm and cooperative house and social life, such as it was. I'm about to get to academics. Another 35,000 words or so and I should be finished. I'll keep you posted.

  • John H. Wilde
  • B.A. (Honors)

Heartbreak for a Hero

I am devastated to only now learn of the passing of Professor Sidney Fine (Teacher, scholar, mensch May 2009)—he was a legend when I was at UM, and a tremendous mentor to a very lost kid. His passion for history was only matched by his passion for his students. He always had time to talk to me and lift my spirit. To call him a Mensch doesn't even begin to cover it. I will always treasure my experience in his classroom and his office, and count myself blessed beyond belief for being taught by such a generous spirit. I'm sure he's somewhere, giving Reagan a piece of his mind. He will be deeply deeply missed.

  • Claire M. Schwartz
  • BA

During my time at UM, I took a political Seminar Course held in Angell Hall that was fascinating in that the Professor was bringing in various academic experts in their fields nearly every week to cover an aspect of that semester's theme and course work.

One of the speakers scheduled to lecture us that semester had recently lost a close presidential election: UM alum Gerald R Ford. Some things stand out about President Ford that I shall never forget. First, he was an extremely intelligent fellow. His speech to us on the Salt treaties in particular & on US/Soviet relations was very informative, and because of President Ford I learned a lot in that particular political science course.

Of course, he was different from my other professors at UM in that before entering the classroom the Secret Service held us back while a dog checked for bombs or other contraband inside the classroom!

The other thing I remember well was the question and answer period he held after his lecture was finished. President Ford gave thoughtful, wise responses and, I thought in retrospect, excellent answers to some rather tough UM student questions.

On a lighter note, one nervous student who stood up to ask a question prefaced it by first complimenting the President on a job well done while he was in the Oval Office. Many of the students clapped, as I recall. Then the nervous student sort of blew any good will he'd built up for the august professor when he blurted out, "Now that you are no longer President and so old, what do you want to do before you die?" There was, of course, nervous laughter, at first. Ford, who was only about 64 or so, laughed at that comment and let the student off the hook before gong into detail about his future plans before assuring everyone present that he had no plans to "pass on" any time soon!

The fact is our nation's greatest overall Presidential athlete (proficient in football, swimming, basketball, skiing, golf, etc. during his robust life) was right again; very few of us could have dreamed—especially, no doubt, the embarrassed student who blurted out the poorly thought out question—that "old man" Ford would live until 2006—or almost another whopping 30 years! Indeed, President Ford lived to an older age than Adams, Reagan, Hoover and all the others before him when he passed away well into his nineties.

M Go Blue.

  • Timothy Kovach
  • Bachelor


My first semester at U-M was a bit traumatic when I was steered by my Nursing advisor to take a mathematics class, just to increase my knowledge in this subject. So I picked one that I had all the prerequisites for, along with Political Science and English and Chemistry.

Well, I thought it was funny that the math class had almost all boys in it, and only 5 girls, who were mainly asleep during the 8 am class, and the instructor would give us homework to do, then review it, but not give any formal class presentation at all on the new (to me) material. So I struggled along, night after night trying to keep up, not realizing what was going on, and falling behind in my other work. I had completed college algebra without any problem but when we hit the analytic geometry section I was totally baffled and could not comprehend this on my own. And then there was a short calculus class to follow. So, fearing that I was definitely going to flunk out of this course, I wisely went to see the math head and switch courses before the deadline came. Surprise, surprise: he told me that I was in a "math review class for engineering students who had already taken these courses in high school"!!!!

Luckily, I was able to switch into a college algebra course, and passed with an A+, since I had already done the work in the other class during the first 3 weeks. So, with the new math class I was able to complete my other courses well, got more sleep instead of staying up until 3 am every day trying to study, and, surprisingly, ended up on the honor roll that year and won a prize for it!!! I still have that prize: a book of Art History, and I recall those fearful days when I thought I was going to flunk out of the U of M that first semester!!

Word to the wise, just because you have the prerequisites does not mean the class is suitable for you at all.

  • Frances Walts
  • BSN

Regents-Alumni Scholar

U-M was a dream come true. However it was a shock to be among so many brighter students that I didn't catch on until Sr yr. We were first women allowed to live off campus and 4 are friends to this day. Best part: a U-M degree still gets nods of appreciation. P-Bell birthday parties.

  • BA ED

Seating next to Jim Abbott

Having spent 37 years in Midland and watching Jim Abbott (Lucky man, Apr 2009) beat Midland High in both football and baseball, I had the honor to watch a Michigan game in the stands next to him. He was as we all know, not at any disadvantage in playing. What a great thing to do.....Go Blue

  • Jim Stout
  • B.S.

Bennett Weaver: An Old Testament Prophet With Crooked Nose And Eagle Eye

My most prized memories of Michigan have to do with Dr. Bennett Weaver, the spitting image of an Old Testament prophet. He was tall, thin and angular. His wizened face bore a nose bent to the right, as if it were going in a different direction than the man himself.

Dr. Weaver was a professor in the English Department, a specialist in the poetry of Robert Browning, whose great love was teaching classes on the Old and New Testaments as English Literature.

I registered for the first of these classes guided by the fact that Weaver's name was the most frequent response to my question asked of fellow students, namely, "Who is the best professor from whom you've taken a class?"

The first day I felt as if I were in the presence of Amos himself. Dr. Weaver had a manner about him that ran the gamut from severe to gentle. His voice mirrored the mood of the Biblical verses being considered. He could thunder judgment with Micah or coo comfort with Isaiah. And his nose seemed always an active participant.

Dr. Weaver's classes were academically rigorous but the impact came from his obvious care for students. During that first semester I discovered Dr. Weaver also had an eagle eye. At the end of one day's class, Dr. Weaver, having consulted a seating chart of the large assembly, announced,"Mr. DeMoss please meet me in my office this afternoon!" I was thunderstruck and puzzled, but appeared as requested and was invited to sit. I found myself confronted by a desiccated apple on the desk accompanied by a neatly lettered sign that declared, "This old apple can't be polished."

Weaver said, "Today as we studied Psalm 130:6,'my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning,' I saw a look go across you face. Would you care to tell me about it?"

Out of that conversation and others that followed, healing and friendship were born. And a brilliant scholar with a crooked nose and an eagle eye revealed the best of Michigan--its heart.

  • Rev. Dr. Lynn A. DeMoss
  • A.B.

During my time in the School of Education at U-M, I had a number of very good teachers. One stands out from the rest. U-M, as anyone who attends there knows, is a big university. It's easy to feel lost in a large lecture, or really, even in a large group setting. But when I sat in Carl Berger's class, he made a point of getting to know his students. My memory of him has little to do with the content of what he taught, but rather the kindness and energy and warmth of his personality, which made his class fun. One time, he invited our class to his house for lunch. I remember sitting in his family room, chatting with the other students, and eating homemade mushroom soup that his wife had made. I looked at his bookcase with the raw manuscripts (his) he had in his shelves, marveling at the fact that he had written books (which of course many U-M profs have done!!).

It was a small moment in time, but a memorable one because it brought a bit of 'home' to a student away from home. I never forgot his fun and energetic style of teaching, nor his willingness to connect on a less formal level with his students. I was glad when he became Dean of the school...he seemed like the kind of person who would be good at leading and encouraging others in that sort of capacity.

  • Nancy Wever Sentipal
  • B.A. Elementary Education

Ironic full circle

I find it ironic to the extreme that my letter to the editor (Re: turnaround 29 Jan 2009) immediately followed one by Professor Henryk Skolimowski.

His engineering humanities class changed the way I saw things in a major way. The reason for my writing that letter traces directly back to the influence of his class, and it is extremely ironic that my letter was printed immediately following his.

  • Mike Lee
  • B.S.E. Engineering Physics

full circle

In organic chem in 1970-71 I was privileged to have (I remember her as) Samantha Ege, who was a rare woman in Chemistry and an excellent teacher. She blew the entire class of 300 plus away the second week when she called on people by name!!!!

In any event, I told my daughter the story at some point in her growing up. She went to Michigan for undergrad, and when we were flying together for spring break her frosh year, she said, "What was that prof's name Mom?" When I said Ege, she held up the textbook she was studying from, and said "LIKE THIS?" and of course Dr. Ege had written it. Very cool.

PS She is finishing her DDS and heading to NYU for the combined MD/OMF program.

  • Nancy Haley Appelblatt
  • BS,MD, ABO

still have the poster! I was only 18

  • russ

Title IX and Waterman

I remember Waterman and Barbour gyms very well. Although I had a great high school basketball career, I applied to U-M for its academic reputation knowing that they did not have an intercollegiate women's basketball team. When I arrived in 1973, I played pick-up games with the fellas in Waterman. In fact every Friday night one of the student employees and I would play one-on-one basketball, since he had the keys to the gym.

Before the end of 1973, Title IX was being enforced and U-M started an intercollegiate women's basketball program. Our team's practices were relegated to the Barbour Gym where the court was less than regulation size and the overhanging track blocked your shot.

All in all these two gyms allowed me to continue to play the sport I still love to this day.

  • Lydia F.Sims
  • B.B.A.

Thanks for the pictures of Waterman Gym (March 2009). It brought back "fond" memories of playing basketball there in the 1970's and getting a foot "issue" from the showers which took several years to clear up. I'm sure that there was 80+ years of micro-organism buildup by that time.

  • Donald Garlit
  • MBA

I'm so disappointed to see the slide show of the Waterman gym (March 2009) that underwent demolition. That building was a turn-of-the century architectural gem and as so often is the case in Michigan not worth preserving. My dad once worked in a "Victorian" courthouse in Saginaw and it too was torn down and the building that replaced it has no architectural value—just another box with windows. Preservation and restoration does not seem to be a priority at Michigan. I once lived in Stockwell Hall and it too, seems to have no historical significance worth preserving. I think it's fine to build new facilities but at the same time the old should be preserved—it's an important part of Michigan's history for those who follow to see and study.

  • Marilyn McClune


Thanks for the memories of Barbour and Waterman Gyms (March 2009). As a Phys Ed minor in the late '40s, I spent many hours in both places. How well I remember the agonies of trying to register for classes there!!

  • Jo Lyons Shaw
  • B. Ed.

Great Times at Mr. Flood's

During my freshman year, a small group of us from the Evans Scholars discovered that part of Ann Arbor west of Main St. We came across Mr. Flood's Party, a small narrow establishment with a stage for live music by the front door. We would listen to Dick Siegel and his Ministers of Melody, Steve Newhouse?, the Steve Nardella Band and more than I remember just now. It didn't hurt that the legal age for a beer back then was 18.

  • Bill Fanelli
  • B.S., M.P.H.

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