Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Waterman Gym

Re: The student body (March 2009): Ah, Yes! Like many others, I, too, stood in "the naked mile" in Waterman Gym for that freshman physical. Mine was in the fall of 1952. The thing I remember most was being handed a rather small paper sack and being told to "take everything off and stuff it in here." It was fun to peek through the curtains at the folks registering down below...filling out the dreaded "railroad ticket."

  • John D. Schultz
  • B.S., M.F., Ph.D.

Michigan Memories

Recollections of U-M: Getting to AA and finding I was (as a male) registered in a women's dorm. Couldn't have the luck to follow thru on that one.

Attending J-HOP with Tommy Dorsey on one side and another major band on the other. With our dates staying at the fraternity and 'evicting' us for the evening.

Enjoying a (non-legal) preprandial 'beverage' at the fraternity house, while listening to L. Orphan Annie and Jack Armstrong in the 1/2hour before dinner.

Watching my wife, Virginia, playing goalie for Collegiate Sorosis as part of the annual Homecoming Mud Bowl. Having a toga party before it was "popularized" in the movies.

And graduating in the University's shortest, rained-out graduation ceremony in the stadium when the rains came after the notice bell wasn't rung.

And yes, registering with the 'train tickets' then used at the Waterman Gym.

Ah, these wonderful memories!

  • Gurnee Bridgman
  • A,B

Re: The student body (March 2009): Not only did I register at Waterman Gym in the Fall of 1945, I had a very memorable U-M date there.

The Paul Bunyan Dance may have been more famous for the Sigma Phi Great Dane fighting with it's Sigma Chi brother on the dance floor - you can imagine how hilarious it was with neither of them being able to gain any purchase on the slippery floor - but I remember it for my one and only date with A__. I picked her up and asked her to jump on the handle bars of my bike - which she very sportingly did. Fortunately, Bud H___, a brother Sigma Phi and a "townie", picked us up at the first corner in his parents car and drove us to the dance with the bike in his truck. A___ was too tall for me in heels, so the Paul Bunyan was one of my few opportunities.

A__ is still married and I've just celebrated our 59th with Gamma Phi Bebe Cole.

  • Bill Lindhout
  • BArch

Registration in Waterman gym

The pictures of registration in Waterman Gym (The student body, March 2009) brought back so many old memories. Surprisingly, it wasn't the horrible experience one might imagine; for pre-computer days they had it so well organized that it was relatively painless. One thing that needed mention, though, was the "railroad ticket," the long strip of perforated little cards that had to be filled out and then surrendered at strategic points in the process.

  • John Strobel
  • MMus, AMusD

Basketball at Waterman

Re: The student body (Feb. 2009): I played basketball in Waterman frequently as a senior living on Catherine Street near the Old St. Joe. Wonderful memories of my inflated abilities as a hoopster playing with one of my apt. roomates who was 6'9" tall.

I also stood in long lines for class registration one year in Waterman that I can remember. I recall the lack of air conditioning well.

Waterman was a grand old lady and it was too bad that she could not be preserved.

  • William C. Lawrecne
  • B.S., M.S.

Freshman Physical Exams in Waterman

Re: The student body (Feb. 2009): There was a mezzanine-like track around the perimeter of the Barbour gym upper level that is visible in the picture of the girls playing basketball.

This was curtained off for two days and all incoming freshmen of both sexes were given a brief physical exam by 20 or 30 selected senior medical students under the supervision of the staff. It was divided into stations, e.g. one for ears, one for heart and lungs etc. These were mostly healthy young people, but once in awhile someone would find something in an ear, or a thyroid nodule, or a heart murmur, and all the med students nearby would gather around to check it out.This was a great experience for the Senior Meds, and it gave some incoming freshman girls a chance to meet some single senior Med students. (In a couple of the pictures you can see Med students [short white coats] loafing around on the track.)

  • Warren Mason
  • BS, MD

Henry Benford and Naval Architecture

I was very blessed to have one of the greatest professors in my chosen profession of Naval Architecture. Professor Harry Benford was in my estimation the student's professor. He was very concerned for his students and anything that could impede their development. He believed that his students should have a rounded education but at the same time have a firm understanding of the profession they were about to enter. As an example of his concern for the individual, when my father lost his job, Professor Bendord came to the rescue. He found me some student jobs that would supplement my daily expenditures and then was instrumental in finding me a scholarship that would pay for my final semester at the University. "Harry," as he is affectionately called, was a mentor to many of his students and is fondly remembered by many of the Department graduates. Without doubt, I consider him as my favorite professor.

  • William H. Garzke, Jr.
  • B.S.N.A.M.E.

Late for an Important Date?

My U-M student career had an inauspicious debut when it appeared I was going to be late for my first class on the day classes began.

I was in graduate school at the U and my undergraduate education was completed at EMU where the classes convened at the top of the hour.

So, at 10 a.m., I was still trying to find a place to park on campus for my 10 o'clock class.

Suddenly, an open spot appeared and I hurriedly parked. When I reached the door to the classroom in the old Frieze Building, I saw an unexpected sight.

Milling around in the classroom in conversation was Professor Martin and the other members of the class. I thought, is this a new methodology of life-long learning?

  • Dale R. Leslie
  • M.A.

Stockwell, 1990

Re: President Little's dorms (Jan. 2008): Fall of '90 my parents dropped me off at Stockwell. What a magnificent building. There were lotteries on which room a student would get the following year. The rooms with the bay windows and such were the most coveted. Now I hear that Stockwell is becoming co-ed.

  • Kristen
  • BSN

On My Own

Re: President Little's dorms (Jan. 2008): What I remember about my early dorm days is not probably what the University would want to recall. But I entered right after the radical days had died down and left in its wake dope and independence.

I was fortunate to be the first student to room in what had been South Quad's "guest rooms". That meant I (and I alone) had my own built-in bathroom! So I didn't have to brave the cold cruel world of shared showers!

I lived in what was then called "Kelsey Hall" (that section of the dorm reserved for jocks and honors students). A stranger combination could not be imagined.

The University's description of "an intellectual community" of honors students and professors could not have been more false or imagined if it had been forged and counterfeited by the Kremlin (our archenemy at the time).

No professor even stepped foot into our dorm. And the only "education" that took place was how to smoke dope, a passionate pastime promoted by many of our Resident Assistants (RAs)and our most illustrious members.

What I remember most about my first days in South Quad is when our Resident Director called us all together and said "Look, I'm going to Med School. So I don't have any time for your problems. So don't bother me!" Wow! Guess I'm on my own now.

And that pretty much appealed to me. Sink or swim. And boy did I start swimming in a sea of strange things I'd never seen before like:

  1. That guy who worked at the Bookstore and always wore a girl scout outfit (with the nicest legs, by the way, on campus!) A fact that shocked the s--- out of me when I overtook him one day and discovered—as I blurted out quit loudly and inappropriately—"it's a guy!" I don't think I'd ever seen a "cross dresser" before, or known they even existed!
  2. Or how about the "flasher" who disrobed in front of everyone at summer orientation. To which the RA simply yawned and said, "Oh pay no attention to him. He's just looking for attention."
  3. Or how about the famous Kelsey "porn nights" where I saw (for the first and hopefully last time) a woman straddled to a horse! (You remember, come on!)
  4. Or the whole "Shakin' Jake" craziness and "Dr. Diag" diatribes. I always thought Jake was crazy until I realized he had more women fawning over him at Dooley's Bar than I did!

The whole point is it DID shock and upset me. It scared the h-e-double hockey sticks out of my parents (not always a bad thing!). And maybe that's what I needed to break out of my sheltered, lily-white, suburban world. A subterranean culture of crazies, hallucinations and alternative lifestyles. Along with some radically different ideas about how the world should work (and how it DIDN'T revolve around ME anymore!)

I suddenly was confronted with the fact that there were a whole lot more opinions and views and (yes) screwballs out there than I ever imagined. But somehow, I felt a little "savvier" about life after I got over my shock.

And I know it prepared me to face this weird and wonderful world a little more open-minded, a little less shocked and a whole lot less afraid than when I went in. And that, my friend, is what a "liberal education" is all about.

Nobody "drinking the Kool-Aid" in those days. Instead, everything was about challenging the status quo. That's what I'll always fondly remember of my long ago "dorm days."

  • Paul Roberts
  • B.A. Political Science & History

West Quad construction

Re: President Little's dorms (Jan. 2008): Only Allen-Rumsey House in West Quad was built before WW II, and during the war it was used for training naval officers. Chicago House was used as a women's dorm starting about 1955.

  • John F. Sprague
  • B.S.

Self-built loft furniture

Re: President Little's dorms (Jan. 2008): I lived in a "triple" my sophomore year (400 Newberry). We were forced to be creative given the size of the room. We made our own loftable furniture—we propped one of the beds on 2 dressers and put a desk beneath it. It was a miracle that no one got hurt. We also had 3 computers, 2 printers, 3 desk lamps, one halogen lamp, a fridge, microwave, TV and a VCR in the room. One day, one of us turned on her hair dryer and the whole floor lost power. This became a usual occurrence.

  • Grace L. Wu
  • B.A.


The 1951 freshman engineering class had about 350 males and two females, who had all their classes together. We were broken into orientation groups of twenty and the leader was an engineering upperclassman. This was only in the morning; in the afternoon you were on your own.

Students were not allowed to have cars, so you either walked or rode a bike everywhere. Our leader told us that if we wanted to meet girls we should attend the "mixers" that were held in the afternoons, because there wouldn’t be any girls in our classes. But the first day of math class the two gals walked in and sat down in front of me and one turned around and said, "My name is Marion Pearson, what’s yours?"

A few days later she ask if I understood the homework and suggested that I come over to her dorm and we could work on it together. Needless to say I went over, and several weeks later we started dating. June 6, 1956, we were married. So much for not meeting girls in engineering classes.

  • Donald Knapp
  • BSCE

West Quad stories

Re: President Little's dorms (Jan. 2008): I spent my freshmen year (1968/9) in West Quad. My father, Gerrit Wierda, was a Big Ten champion in basketball in 1948 with U-M and told me stories of going to the union to eat oatmeal each morning (he won't eat it anymore).

In my own time, I remember one Friday or Saturday night there was a large commotion in the next room, which housed two 300-pound, 6'-5" football players. The next day we saw the splinters that remained of the old, wooden furniture that was common in that second oldest dorm on campus. Who cared: that was the year that #1 Ohio State came into town and Michigan really showed their mettle. We stood throughout most of the game.

  • Chris Wierda
  • B.A., B.S.C.E., B.A.

The 'M' at Midnight

Re: President Little's dorms (Jan. 2009): When I was a freshman in 1968, West Quad was my home. West was all male, and my hall—Williams House—was partnered up with the girls at Helen Newberry (all women). I made a fast friend at Newberry, and we got along famously. At one point late that fall, we made a bet. While I don't remember the contested item, I DO remember losing the bet. We had agreed that the loser had to stand on the block 'M' in the center of the Diag at midnight, singing a song at the top of his/her voice.

While the song choice was a good one and my singing was adequate, I felt oh-so-conspicuous as a sea of late night students made its way across the diag late that fall night. We did not bet again….

  • Mike Imirie
  • BGS

Family history at U-M

My adopted family started at the University of Michigan with Grandpa Baylis in 1908.

Then the Sorensen family: 1933 Dental, 1933 LSA, 1961 Dental, 1962 LSA, 1961 LSA, 1963 LSA.

And the Stout family: 1961 LSA, 1962 LSA.

  • James Robert Stout, Sr.
  • B.S.

My attendance at U of M was split into two parts, before and after Military Service in WWII. Pearl Harbor happened three months after I enrolled as a freshmen. My being in the ROTC at that time helped a lot with basic training when I left in January 1943. I was too young to enlist until after my 18th birthday on April 1, 1942. After serving in the Army Air Force, I returned in the summer of 1946 and had to live with the large group of returning vets at Willow Run Complex in Ypsilanti. Before the war, no student could drive a motor vehicle. After the war, most of us had cars to go back and forth to Ann Arbor. Non-vets in town, though, could not drive, and the police monitored this carefully.

Years later I went back to the Willow Run complex and took pictures of the area. What a change! All the dorms and single housing and West Lodge were gone and in their place were blocks of residential housing.

WE were the first graduating class from the "new" Business School Building in 47-48.

I had such good friends there and had such wonderful memories both of Ann Arbor and Willow Run. GO BLUE!!!

(As for 2008 football, WE WILL BE BACK IN SPADES!!!)

  • Maurice "Jack" Gartner
  • B.B.A, M.B.A.

Helen Newberry memories

Re: President Little's dorms (Jan. 2008): I lived in Helen Newberry in the mid 1960s. Our housemother was Mrs. Tait. We ate almost formally in the dining room with white tablecloths and Mrs. Tait was our hostess - we did not start eating before she lifted a fork. Our most frequent meal was breaded veal cutlets. During the right time of year, we had matso served on each table. Once a semester, each girl was invited to tea in Mrs. Tait's apartment. Anyone who was late or absent from meals was also invited into Mrs. Tait's apartment. We had an old-fashioned switchboard and sometimes I worked there, plugging the call cords into the right holes beneath the room numbers.

When President Kennedy was shot, I was out at the Botanical Gardens taking a make-up test. I thought I could walk back to campus, but a car stopped on the road and a man asked if I wanted a ride - I foolishly accepted. He asked me if I had heard the President had been shot and I thought he was playing a trick on me. He played the radio to prove it to me, but I still thought it was a trick. It wasn't until he let me out on State St. and I ran to Newberry and saw the shock on the switchboard operator's face that I realized he was telling the truth. Everyone gathered in front of the television in the living room and we all sat there for days and watched without belief or relief.

  • Phyllis Lindblade
  • BA, MA

JFK visits

It was in the fall of 1960 and I was a freshman living in West Quad when then presidential candidate JFK made his famous campaign speech from the steps of the Union announcing his plans to form the Peace Corp (JFK at the Union (Jan. 2008). James from down the hall was from Worcestor Mass and a big fan of JFK (as was I), so he insisted that we attend even though it was in the middle of the night. When we got there, a huge crowd had formed and we worked our way in as close as possible. All of a sudden, James got my attention and said that we had to go right now—the people next to us have a gun. I looked and a woman shook her head no to her partner (and signaled no with her finger) and then she slowly took a gun from her partner's hand and put it in her purse. We took off.

James said he saw the woman take the gun out of her purse and give it to the man and James said he didn't want to get mugged. At that time, coming from a small town, I wasn't even sure what mugged meant. I was a little peeved about missing most of the event. I never thought about the incident until years later after all of those JFK conspiracy theories were floating around that perhaps the couple was planning something horrendous. I wonder if James ever thought that also.

  • John Adams
  • B.A.

"10:00 Michigan Time"

It's my first day, my first class as a grad student at Michigan. There is zero parking on the street and zero time before 10 a.m., the bewitching hour of my class. Surprisingly, upon my late arrival at the classroom, I discover the students and the professor mingling, getting acquainted and in no hurry to convene. Is this the Michigan whose academic regimen is held in high esteem? Later, I learned that at the U-M, the classes begin at 10 minutes past the hour. In my undergrad days, at a different school, the classes started promptly on the hour. But at U-M, at 10 past the hour, it’s, ”Be there or be square!"

  • Dale R. Leslie
  • M.A.

I had enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1941 (Michigan women at war, Nov., 2008) and asked to live in Betsy Barbour. My father had graduated from Michigan and I had attended a High School Press conference in Ann Arbor in 1940, staying in Betsy Barbour. World War II meant many more women were able to attend college. Sons were in the service so daughters who normally would not go were able to attend. Many women worked in the War Plants for one semester and thus could afford to attend. There were three full semesters a year in order hasten graduation of the V-12, NROTC, ROTC, Japanese Language School and Medical school students. There were plenty of men all anxious to date the women.

In those days we had "hours": 10:30 week nights, 12:30 weekends. The V-12 program decided to set a time for the men to be in and they had to be in at 10. If you had a date during the week the girls often walked the boys to the dorm and then walked home. No cars were allowed for undergrads. We walked everywhere. There was just one campus. Dances were held at The Women's League on week-ends with a live band.

Weeknights we wrote letters to service men. My brother was in the Philippines and I wrote him a letter on a daily basis. His Navy buddies didn't believe that a sister would do that!

We celebrated V-E day and V-J day on State Street. Then the service men returned, all with paid tuition. It was a wonderful time to be at the University of Michigan.

  • Dorothy Wihelm French
  • BA in Psychology

Where were you the day . . .

Kennedy was shot?

Everybody who was alive in 1963 remembers exactly where he was and what he was doing that day.

I was in my room in Couzens Hall, getting ready for my afternoon creative writing class with Robert F. Haugh when the first news came over the radio.

Incredulous, every girl on the floor came out of her room to see if others had heard the news. Radios snapped on, and girls sat on the floor of the corridor listening as the nightmare unfolded.

A creature of routine, I decided to go to class and headed down the hill since we still thought the President was alive.

A heavy, wet snow was falling, and as I approached the Diag, a man came up beside me to share his umbrella. We didn't say a a word. Suddenly, he stopped in his tracks and looked up. Both of us just stood there, watching the flag come down to half staff.

Most of the class had already assembled. When Professor Haugh walked in, all he said was: "I don't feel very much like having class today."

  • Karen Sadock
  • A.B.

Henne to Edwards

" Henne loads up for Edwards, a jump ball, and it issssss, taken away BY EDWARDS. SPECTACULAR TOUCHDOWN."-Mike Tirico 10.30.2004

Game started in shorts weather, ended with a wind chill below the freezing point. Typical Michigan weather. The one experience from freshman year that will certainly last forever in my memory.

  • Jer
  • BA

Residential College

As a Daily Photographer in the late 70's my U of M Memories are tied to my photographs. Here are some that I've managed to scan and post at flickr

  • John Knox
  • B.A.

President Ford on Campus

As a freshman in 1977 I was on my way to class in Angel Hall when I noticed a large group of "suits" in front of me. In the middle of the "suits" was President Gerald Ford. Of course I was fascinated and followed the entourage. I was not able to meet the President personally, however I was thrilled to both see him on MY campus and know that I was going to the same great University that he had attended. That was the first time that it hit me that I was privileged to attend a world class University.

  • Laura Smigielski Garcia
  • B.A.

The changing Diag

The photo tour of Mason Hall (Oct., 2008) reminded me of the changes I saw take place on U-M's beautiful central campus during my tenure. Specifically, as a member of one of the last incoming classes to see the old "fishbowl" prior to the completion, I think about how quickly new traditions replace old ones. When I first visited U-M in 1999 with my father, he told me how similar the Mason-Angell hall area looked to that of his undergraduate days—although big new plans were clearly in the works even at that point.

When I arrived on campus in 2001 the fishbowl area was a mass of construction equipment and steal beams. When I left in 2005 the building had been completely re-imagined to great effect. Interestingly the "fishbowl" moniker still applied, however, now being used to describe the newly constructed computing site that occupied the central area of the building—an old courtyard I think. When I left, this was my favorite (as well as many other students') study location, and I remember spending many late nights preparing cell biology exams or completing EECS 183 assignments in the computers there.

  • Joshua Ziel
  • B.S.

Lorch Hall

What is now known as Lorch Hall was simply the Architecture and Design school before relocating to North Campus in the mid 70's. While walking through the building this past Homecoming week-end I was reminded of the freshman/sophomore design studio on the third floor. Then it was a two story high space with large, and tall, windows facing east. One thing that students tried to do was stack and interlock the drafting stools to see if you could reach the ceiling of the studio. At the end of my freshman year, this became a more important task because during the summer break, a new 4th floor would be inserted into the studio. But even though several students tried, they were never able to reach that ceiling.

  • Robert Kacel
  • B Arch

In 2007 I was a featured author at the Ann Arbor Book Festival. The night before I was to teach nonfiction writing at a day long seminar preceding the festival, my husband and I went to check out the location of the Mason Hall room where I was to lecture (Time machine Oct., 2008). As I opened the door of that room, I was thunderstruck to realize that it was the same room where, 45 years earlier, I sat as a journalism student. It was the same Diag view, though the more leafy trees obscured, same chimes from the League. How transcendent, after a 45 year career of law and journalism to return serendipitously to the Mason Hall room where my career began. It was eerie, this wheel of life coming full circle: from Mason Hall to Mason Hall: the Alpha and the Omega. I walked to the fishbowl where students in the 1960s solicited signatures on petitions for every social cause then fashionable. Cold winters: taking my hands out of gloves quickly to work the frozen lock on my bike outside Mason where my yellow brick road began. Hoping for spring.

  • janice (ross) law
  • B.A.

The photo essay of the "Fishbowl" (Time machine Oct., 2008) brought back many memories of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Even as one of the sliderule-carrying engineering students, I found myself frequenting the "Fishbowl" and the connecting "Gaza Strip." As my wiser fraternity brothers advised, that was the place that even engineers could meet girls!

  • Robert L Blackburn
  • B.S. Mech Eng, MBA

Memories of landscape architecture studies

While working for Sasaki Walker in Sausalito, CA, Bill visited his old schoolmate, Pete Walker. He gave a slide show and judged our work and he really impressed this young, aspiring to be landscape architect, with his professional demeanor and creative skills. Pete encouraged me to attend graduate school, and after considering several throughout the country, I selected Michigan primarily because Bill Johnson would be teaching in the graduate program.

That was a good decision, for Bill is a terrific Landscape Architect and inspiring professional. I was offered a summer job at JJ&R, Bill’s offices in Ann Arbor, which I eagerly accepted. This opportunity gave me the chance to work on challenging, urban projects and collage campuses throughout Michigan and the Great Lakes Region. The MLA program was held in the old Chiever House, next to the Law Quad. I tried to find this building on Michigan’s web site, but alas…the house must have been removed and forgotten. Apparently, the Chiever House wasn’t worthy enough for a place in Michigan’s history. I admit to being a bit disappointed, in that this old building had distinctive character and served L.A. students well for many years.

My time at Michigan was a major Benchmark in my career, but I was ready to get going. As soon as I was notified in December 1971, that I could graduate, my wife and I caught the next plane to London. We spent several weeks on ferries, riding buses and hitchhiking through Switzerland, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey, visiting gardens and magical ruins of antiquity.

On returning to the West Coast, I accepted a position in Honolulu with Donald Wolbrink, a Michigan Alumni from the past (I can’t find him on the U-M Web Site). Don was considered the Father of Planning in the Pacific Rim. I may have been over my head, but I loved the pressure, flying about the Pacific and delving into new and challenging subjects. My Project List is too long to talk about here, but can be viewed on After some 50 years as a practicing Landscape Architect, I can say that this has been a wonderful ride. I attribute my success to the wonderful training I had at the University of Michigan’s, Rackham School of Graduate Studies and the inspirations given by William J. Johnson, Landscape Architect.

  • Barron Eldridge
  • MLA

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9