Our Father and Grandfather were Michigan men. From childhood, my brother and I looked forward to the same wonderful experience. A junior at the time, I was there on the front steps of the Union that beautiful fall evening when Jack Kennedy visited (JFK at the Union Jan, 2008).
I first saw Jack Kennedy walking south from the direction of the Administration Building. He climbed the steps with a small entourage. His speech was much too brief. There was no doubt as to his intentions about a Peace Corps and the idea electrified the crowd, which I recall to be mostly undergraduates. It was just what we wanted to hear in those days.
But what I remember with greatest pleasure was his gallant equation of Harvard and Michigan. This too thrilled the crowd who already loved him though the experience lasted only a few minutes.
Kennedy's charm that evening was irresistible. As was the case with Richard Cory, he glittered when he walked. I've never forgotten the moment.
And thank you for making it possible to watch the graduation of 2008!
- Hunter Watson
- B.A., M.A., JD
A 'Kennedy Girl' at JFK's speech in October 1960
I was a UM freshman in 1960 (JFK at the Union Nov, 2007), too young to vote (it was before the 18-year-old vote amendment) but very politically active. I spent most of my weekends canvassing for JFK in a precinct in Ypsilanti that U-M Young Dems had taken responsibility for.
Because of my activist role, I was one of the "Kennedy Girls" taken to Willow Run airport by bus to greet his plane when it landed that night after the debate with Nixon. As others have indicated, he arrived very late and we had no idea when we would get back to Ann Arbor. As a freshman I had 11 PM hours and thought I would have many "late minutes" to make up afterwards at the dorm, but I didn't care; it was too exciting!
Our bus accompanied JFK back to Ann Arbor and we got "front row standing room" for his speech. Mine might have been one of the heads with the "Kennedy girl" hats shown in the picture published with James Tobin's article. That piece was excellent, but Tobin did not realize that there was a reason the students were all "milling about" when JFK arrived about midnight. Paul Heil, the Young Dems president, had announced publicly that he would speak at the Union that night when he arrived. We were told that Kennedy was annoyed; he was exhausted and just wanted to get some sleep before his early morning (I seem to recall 7 AM) departure from the Ann Arbor train station on a planned whistle-stop tour of southern Michigan. Therefore, that he gave that inspirational speech was even more remarkable.
And in the end the university allowed all the "girls" to stay out that night to hear him without incurring "late minutes."
- Mary Beth Norton
A Townie Wades In Over His Head
When I started Graduate school in the fall of 1970, a life-long dream to attend the U-M came true. I grew up in Ann Arbor, and the block M is affixed to your forehead early. I already knew the traditions: the Pretzel Bell, Michigan Football games, Pep Rallies with the "Wizard of Words," Wally Weber; and Bob Ufer's patented radio play-by-play style. I bought a Wolverine tie at Van Boven's to wear my first day of class.
But I discovered all that whoop-la is on another day, another time.
- Dale R. Leslie
First Gals in Apartment, Not Dorms
Sometime in 1961-1962, we (girls) were told that seniors no longer had to live in dorms for our senior year, '62-'63. Four of us who had been friends for 3 or more years, some back to high school, decided to rent a two-bedroom apartment on Madison Ave. We were the first group of women to be allowed this "freedom" in U-M's recent history, or perhaps ever. We loved it, no hours, no rules, and yet we did well.
Two went on after graduation to receive Ph.D.'s, one received two masters (she married a U-M grad who later received a PhD) and I moved to Los Angeles (no more formal degrees).
I am the only one who is member of Alumni Association, and had received a Regents-Alumni Scholarship which allowed me to attend U-M.
The four of us are currently in touch, with me the main contact person.
I always enjoyed going to football games, and have attended 3 U-M Rose Bowl games in Pasadena in past 40+ years.
We did go to P-Bell, and I remember the bookstores. I used a pen which had ink cartridges which could be refilled, and bought disposable needles at the drugstore (no drug problems). I was active in Hillel.
I do attend Alumni functions in LA, and will always remember that my dream of going to U-M came true through scholarship help.
To this day, the mention of U-M gets the utmost respect from others, both professionals of all stripes and types, as well as the average person.
I think the four of us wish that we had taken more advantage of other activities, but studying (or shall I say grades?) was very important to us.
I remember seeing Jonny Mathis live in concert, and recently found some lyrics from something called "hellzapoppin."
No. Campus was just starting. Necking was done in the Arboretum. There was a cemetery near the women's dorms; none were co-ed.
We had to dress for Sunday dinner. We rarely, if ever, wore slacks to class. I think NEVER.
In dorms we had hours, had to be in at 11pm, sign in if coming in late on weekends. Quite paternal for women (girls we were called); not for males.
In dorms seems we had meal tickets which were punched for meals. Bikes were great way to get around, very few were even allowed to have a car permit. The UGLI was good for studying, and sometimes picking up dates. Downstairs it had a place to get coffee from machines I think.
Outside one of the engineering(?)building were two lions that were said to roar if a virgin walked by. My younger brother roared when he visited.
If couples were having sex it was not talked about. Most of the women seemed to remain virgins, or left most of us with that opinion. That opinion has been discussed with other friends from U-M.
Speaking of sex, there was one older female doctor at the health clinic who asked every female if she was pregnant when she would see her. It was rude and unnecessary. If someone had a cold, she was asked that question.
Fortunately, I had other wonderful physicians who were caring and saw me through mono and hospitalization. At the time in the early '60s, a small annual fee was paid to have health services available to students. In spite of complaints, I found the service great. There was also psychological counseling available that was helpful. If I could repeat those years, with some of my current self-confidence, I'd do it in an Ann Arbor minute!!!
- Linda Milan
- BA, ED
As we waited For JFK (JFK at the Union, January 2008) and a chill set in a group of Nixon supporter came toward the Union walking south in front of Angell Hall. This gaggle sported a makeshift sign that said, "you can't lick our Dick." There was a tussle, the sign disappeared and that was that. It was a spark that didn't ignite although there were a few tense moments.
I was in the first Peace Corps group, Colombia 1. I had to dig up an application through Representative Theodore Reuss's office and it looked like it was run-off from a copier from a church basement. I remember taking some battery of tests in the spring at downtown Detroit. Out of the blue, just after graduation in June, '61, a telegram arrived at home in Detroit asking me to join and show up at Rutgers University ~ 6-21-61. My parents were flummoxed and negative, but I did it. It was a pivotal decision in many ways. Afterwards I got serious about school, ending up an Infectious Disease doc. I learned to distrust the media and government (ours and Colombia's). I'm forever grateful for the cultural, language and real-world experience that forced me into adulthood. Life-long and -altering friendships have been a joy and a source of strength at various junctures.
Did I change Colombia? I think I did. Colombia sure changed me though. I came out of the Peace Corps in charge of my own life and didn't allow myself to get sidetracked. That was a fairly universal benefit to our group. Being in the media spotlight was an added benefit of the first group. Like I say, we learned by personal experience that the media was interested in something only akin to the truth. While in Colombia we did things a 30- or 40-year-old person did in the States. Coming back was a tough adjustment and going back to school to gain skills and credentials was a necessary step to get beyond being a "do-gooder" to being an effective person.
- Ray C Haselby
I was moved by the history of the trees that cross the Diag. Many years ago when I was a student I loved to spend time under them on a blanket sometimes for study and other times to day dream about the future. I can't imagine with it must be like to have the opportunity to do so now! Thank you for the time to remember about such a glorious time.
- Josephine Cook-Bell
Neither of my parents was college educated, although my mother had attended what was called "Normal School" in New Brunswick, Canada and became a rural school teacher.
Following high school, their intention was for me to attend a four year college and because we lived in Detroit, The University of Michigan somehow became a given in their minds for me.
I was assigned to East Quad in 1958 for my freshman year. At that time, men and women resided in the same building, but in separate "houses." The anticipation of such a coed living arrangement seemed almost too good to be true to this teen-age boy. And, as the saying goes, "if something seems too good to be true, it probably is."
Not much had been done to the facilities to accommodate young women in EQ. Restroom urinals in their sections of the building became convenient repositories for pots of geraniums. Maybe not too much sunlight in this arrangement, but certainly easy watering!
I recall we shared the dining and laundry facilities, retrieved our mail in the same lobby, walked the same sidewalks together from EQ to the Diag and, occasionally socialized together. Whatever other fantasies I imagined might happen, remained pretty much just that.
Nevertheless, University of Michigan memories of the late 1950s and early 1960s remain positive for me and the education I received there set the stage for any future academic and professional successes I may have achieved.
- Peter Wilson
- B.S., M.S.
Re: Professor White's trees (April, 2008): One of my favorite childhood memories is attending the annual Lantern Night, usually during the week before commencement in June. The band played, the elms in the Diag were hung with Japanese lanterns and it was wonderful. If we stayed to the end, a few lanterns would catch fire and fall in a plume of fire and sparks. With Commencement scheduled for the Diag, wouldn't it be neat to include a Lantern Night again!
- H M Hildebrandt
- B.A., M.D.
Re: Professor White's trees (April, 2008): I remember the warm days at the Diag, particularly with Shakey Jake and his guitar and Dr. Diag and his orations on the concrete benches. Frisbees, tank tops, shorts dogs and, at the time, the beautiful old Economics Building.
- Chris Wierda
- BA, BSCE
Walks Through the Diag
I so thououghly enjoyed the article about Professor Whites' trees (April, 2008). It reminded me of my walks through the Diag in the mid '60s. I lived in an old house on South University, just east of Washtenaw. I remember walking briskly along South U on my way to morning classes, and walking through the Engineering Arch into the Diag. My first class of the day was usually in the old Econ. Building, which was a relic even in those days.
When I emerged from the Engineering Arch onto the Diag, it was like passing into another world. There was such a wonderful sense of peace and belonging. The Diag brought most students together in a central location. There were about 30 of my high school classmates (Farmington HS) and I would see many of them each day as I crossed the Diag. For such a large university, Michigan had a way of focusing the movement of students that made it seemed much smaller that it really was.
The afternoon and weekend walks through the Diag found a much slower, more relaxed atmosphere. Students were sitting and lying in various states of repose, reading or just enjoying some quiet time. In my memory it is forever warm and sunny on the Diag. The winter memories are few, almost to the point of non-existence. I know I had to cross the Diag in winter too, otherwise how did I get to class enough to graduate? It seems with age that the most pleasant memories remain, while others fade.
As I write this on my laptop, I remember taking only one computer class at Michigan and it seemed to be an endless effort of punching holes in cards. Hanging chads were a problem then too.
I have now resolved to return to campus this summer when I make my annual family visit, to stroll the Diag and enjoy, once again, the "endless" summer days of my time at Michigan.
- Doug Griffin
My friends and I used to spend (perhaps too much) time on the Diag in the spring (Professor White's trees, April 2008), tossing the frisbee around. After finals were over, and most of the students were gone, we would enjoy the wide open expanse of the grassy area in front of the flagpole, between the chemistry building and natural science. When the way was clear, we would try to throw the frisbee the entire length of the field, from the stone bench at the central area of the Diag to the stone circle around the flagpole.
It was the Saturday before my wedding, July 9, 1994. These same friends who would, the next day, be standing with me as my groomsmen, were having one last lazy afternoon on the Diag. With the way clear, we I took my spot on the stone circle, and my friend Jeff took his on the bench. I put my hand up and waited for him to let it go.
I couldn't judge the distance between us, but it was easily a hundred feet, probably more. I never even had to move my hand. The frisbee made its way from Jeff's hand to mine as if drawn by string. We'd never completed that throw before that day, and we haven't since. In fact, for many of us, that was the last time we'd gotten together to enjoy the Diag. It's been years since I've seen Jeff, but I know that we'll both always remember "the throw."
- Paul Weiss
- B.S., M.S.
A Cold and Windy Night
Re: Professor White's trees, April, 2008: While I was a senior in the Interior Design program, I worked after classes three times a week at a furniture store downtown. I worked there with one of my best friends and classmate, Carl Freiwald. One evening after work we were walking home through the Diag. It was very cold and windy, and I asked him to hurry up. He wouldn't, so I started to run ahead. No sooner did I get about 20 feet in front of him, when he started to yell, "Hey girly! Girly! Don't run away from me, I won't hurt you!" Needless to say, everyone around us started to stare, and I was so embarrassed that I had to stop and continue walking with him! This is a story I've retold many, many times!
- Ellen Phillipps Wales
Fraternity War Story
Interesting article, but many of us fraternity members just cringe when we hear the word "frat" - there are some very negative connotations associated with it. Next time, please use the word "fraternity"!
Thank you for letting us know. We have changed the text to the proper word. --Editor
- Tom Recker
- B.A. - Psychology
The article on the mid-19th century "battle" between the nascent fraternities and the faculty (Fraternity war, March 2008) brings back to mind the question, "Was there an Officer Swoverland?"
In my time in Ann Arbor it was well understood that the University employed a cop whose sole business was to raid fraternity drinking parties. Concerns about "Swovie" kept us on our toes. Our house had a marvelously intricate alarm system in the party room connected to a coded electronic lock on the front door. It was never set off. We never saw Swoverland, nor did anyone I ever knew. Was he just an urban legend, convenient to an administration who otherwise showed no particular interest in what went on behind closed house doors?
Reader Wystan Stevens Replies: Yes, there really was a campus cop named Swoverland. His first name was Harold, and he was an officer in the Ann Arbor police department. Besides inspecting parties and checking on drinking by minors, he enforced the student auto ban and other parking infractions on campus.
- Steve Gunning
I enrolled at U-M on July 1, 1944 (How to date women - 1943, Feb 2008) in the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program in Civil Engineering and was there for three 12-week terms until April '45. The group of 212 uniformed men marched to classes, which brought smiles to the V12 Navy and Marine students. We took the usual early engineering courses plus PT, military drill, martial arts and target shooting.
I played clarinet in the marching band at football games in '44. In March '45, the group was shipped to Active service Basic Training, except for 15 of us who were not yet 18. We were sent to the University of Illinois for 12 more weeks, and courses like Calculus, Electrical Engineering, Surveying, Statics and Dynamics, PT and Soccer.
When I re-enrolled at U-M in Feb. '47, I was given 60 hours credit of 140 needed for graduation and got my degree in Civil Engineering in September, 1949, just in time to start a career with the Highway Dept. of MI on Sept. 26,1949.
- Max N. Clyde
Although a faculty member rather than a student, I was there on October 14, 1960, when JFK gave his speech (JFK at the Union, Jan 2008), although I was about to give up when the entourage arrived. I was impressed enough even at the moment to classify his remarks and proposal with historical ones that I had previously heard from FDR.
- Stuart W. Churchill
- BSE(ChE), BSE(Math), MSE(ChE), PhD(ChE)
Bennett Weaver 's Eagle Eye
One of my treasured experiences at the University of Michigan involved a huge class and a professor's eagle eye.
Having moved to Big Rapids as a Junior High Schooler from an even smaller town in Indiana, I became a Michigan fan because my best friend's brother, who never attended the school, couldn't stop talking about the Wolverines. My later enrollment at Michigan became a given.
I chose electives with a sole criteria--the campus reputation of the professors.
Bennett Weaver, of the English Department, was a specialist in the poetry of Robert Browning. But he was noted for teaching two courses on The Bible as English Literature.
I readily enrolled and found myself in a huge, crammed lecture hall, this Methodist boy in a sea of Jewish students. My first experience as a minority.
I found the class a pure delight and academically on par with the very best seminaries. Weaver, with his crooked nose, unruly hair, crackling wit and utter command of the material, kept me spellbound.
Imagine my shock, when one day before dismissing class Dr. Weaver announced in his Old Testament Prophet voice, "Mr. DeMoss, please meet me in my office later this afternoon."
Quite mystified, I appeared at Weaver's door in Haven Hall and was invited to take a seat. On the desk an ancient, desiccated apple was accompanied by a neatly lettered card which declared, "This old apple can't be polished."
After greetings, Dr. Weaver, in a most gentle way took the lead. "Mr. DeMoss, this morning when the class was discussing the line from Psalm 63, 'I think of you on my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night,' I saw a look go across your face. Would you care to tell me about it?"
Out of that healing conversation and several to follow was born a lasting friendship.
And proof that even at one of America's largest universities a student can experience helpful intimacy with an respected professor.
- Rev. Dr. Lynn A. DeMoss
JFK at the Union
The recounting of many who were at JFK's early morning speech at the Union (JFK at the Union, Jan 2008) brings back many memories for this former Daily photographer (one of three) who covered the event, starting at Willow Run Airport.
The crowd was heavy because of the campaign's increasing drama along with other reasons. The earlier televised debate had allowed people to see both Kennedy and Nixon only hours before JFK came to the campus.
Another element was the exceptionally comfortable, dry, warm weather that night. And the extended women's curfew allowed thousands of his special fans to see this very attractive candidate for president in person.
It wasn't known at the time by the crowd gathered at the Union that the candidate's entourage was late in arriving from Willow Run because we were delayed by winding through downtown Ypsilanti. Thousands of people were on the streets there (no I-94 in 1960) to greet Kennedy's motorcade, including cheering Eastern Michigan students. The enthusiasm of African-Americans was especially noticed and we were stopped or proceeded very slowly because of those crowds. I had previously covered the JFK campaign when the Democratic candidate's traditional Labor Day speech was given in downtown Detroit. It was obvious that enthusiasm had grown for JFK in the six weeks since then.
The trip up State Street and the exceptionally large crowd at the Union at that time of early morning was a surprise to the press corps--no mobile phones back then.
Bob Ross and others have given due credit to Al and Judy Guskin for picking up on Kennedy's theme and followed through personally, starting with their Peace Corps training for Thailand at U-M. In the spring of 1961 as the Peace Corps was conceptually being defined and strengthened, Michigan students (Tom Hayden, Philip Power, Sharon Jeffrey among others) played a prominent role in a National Student Association conference on the Peace Corps held in Washington. Then-Sen. Hubert Humphrey (who had sponsored a bill in the Senate a year ahead of Kennedy's speech setting up such a volunteer organization) consulted with the conference organizers before his speech. He helped rebut the conservative Young Americans for Freedom's view that the PC should be organized to spread anticommunism principles in the Third World rather than do grass roots development.
[Historical correction: In an earlier message appearing in this column, Gerald Rosenblatt, writing under the title "Meeting JFK", indicated that Jackie Kennedy accompanied her husband on the trip to Ann Arbor. With all due respect, Mrs. Kennedy did not campaign at all in the Fall of '61 because of a complicated pregnancy and was not at the Union nor on the campaign train the next day. None of the several hundred 35mm frames I have of those events reveal her presence.]
- Dave Giltrow
- ABEd, MSEd, PhD
I remember as a freshman having to go to a "contraceptive class" before I was permitted to access contraception at the student health services. Men weren't required to attend the same class. I thought then that even though the university was supposedly no longer enforcing curfews against women but not men, they were certainly treating men and women differently. I've wondered from time to time whether that policy is still in effect, and if not when it finally changed.
There is no longer a requirement that any student take a "contraceptive class." --Editor
When Bill (Professor William C.) Morse looked at me and said, "I don't know why you're hesitating," I was convinced that UM, and the joint Education and Psychology Program, were right for me. That was 1965, and my wife and I had journeyed to Ann Arbor to meet the man who had responded to my inquiry about Ph.D. study. During my time at Michigan I had many occasions to marvel at Bill's penetrating empathy. If you find just "one or two head-and-shoulders-above professsors," he once wrote, "you have found your university." Because of Bill, and other unforgettable professors, I truly found mine at U-M.
- Philip Lane Safford
U-M and the Army
I attended U-M from Sept. 1943 to Sept. 1944 (How to date women - 1943, Feb 2008) as part of an ASTP-ROTC (Army Specialized Training Program)unit to study spoken and written Japanese. We started with 275 men and were housed in Greene House, East Quad. I was in Room 215. We also had military classes and were supposed to become second lieutenants upon completion of training. Typical of the Army, this never happened. 180 men successfully finished the course, 90 of whom were sent to a military intelligence unit in Washington, D.C. to translate decoded Japanese messages. I was one of them. The other 90 were sent to a Signal Corps base. Some were taught to climb telephone poles. Some ended up in the Battle of the Bulge, in Europe. Again, typical of the Army!
- Bernard Schutz
Michigan Law 1948
RE: How to date a woman - 1943, Feb 2008: Still in uniform as a US Marine officer, and after marriage in May 1946, I began as a Law Student in the summer of 1946. Baby Nancy (now 60 years old) was born in University Hospital on July 13, 1947, the day before my Constitutional Law exam for which I had not cracked a book -- but amazingly got an A on the exam and the course.
Torts Professor Paul Leidy is my fondest faculty memory. Lived in Willow Run Village in Ypsilanti and commuted to Ann Arbor to school daily. Graduated in upper 10% of class of '48 with the degree, rare at the time, of Juris Doctor. The typical Law degree of the day was LLB -- thus the award of the JD was designated on my Certificate as "With Distinction".
At 84 years old now retired after receiving Honorable Mention from the Supreme Court of the State of California in January 2001 for 50 years of service as a member of the State Bar of California.
- Dick (Richard L.) Weiss
- JD - With Distinction
During the second World War, I was a student at Michigan (How to date a woman - 1943, Feb 2008)â€“ graduate and undergraduate - and subject to the military draft. I reported in due course for the routine physical examination. But those in charge decided that my visual acuity was not at a level that would permit me to distinguish friendly soldiers from the enemy if my spectacles were misplaced. I was therefore wisely excluded from the dangers of becoming the origin of friendly fire.
As a result, although in those days I really wanted to, I never had the opportunity to stand rigidly vertical and shout "Yes SIR!!" to a general. I did, however, manage to see General Douglas MacArthur close up in 1951 in Ann Arbor, but only after he had lost his job. Harry Truman had reminded him that a president does in fact outrank a general. He invited him to return to this country from Korea and to employ his talents in other activities.
MacArthur returned and informed Congress and the rest of us that old soldiers never die, they just fade away. But fading, we soon found out, was not his thing, and he postponed it indefinitely.
Instead, possibly only to annoy the President, he made a tour of the country, during which our paths crossed.
Let me set the scene:
The dramatis personae: A small crowd of Michigan faculty, (including me), students, and townspeople waiting hopefully for the rumored motorcade of the great man to pass through Ann Arbor.
The Setting: The front of the Rackham Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the street between that building and the Universityâ€™s signature Carillon Tower with its large clock notifying us all that it was about ten minutes to twelve. With confidence that he would really come, a microphone, stage center, had been set up on the curb to allow the general to deliver a talk that we were certain would inspire us all. We waited.
The rumor had been that he would arrive at noon, but he came a few moments early. He saw the microphone, stood up in the back seat of his open car, looked around majestically, and opened his mouth. And closed it, for at that moment, the large clock on the Carillon Tower, which had not been informed of the status of this visiting soldier, chose to inform us all that it was indeed noon. It dutifully, slowly and majestically, produced booming notes. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, a principal architect of the winning island-hopping strategy of the Pacific war, recently returned from waging war in Korea, waited, familiar profile outlined against the Michigan sky. The crowd, awed, did not breathe.
The clock ended its midday serenade. Its echoes faded away. The general gave his short speech, and his caravan took off - rather rapidly, I thought. I don't remember what he said.
- Edward M, Anthony
- B.A. , M.A., Ph. D.
JFK, ACWR, and the Election
I was not at the Union that fateful night to hear JFK (JFK at the Union, Jan 2008), but mutual friends put me in touch with the Guskins the next day. A letter was sent to the Michigan Daily immediately on the heels of the one sent by the Guskins. A few days later at a late night session, ACWR (Americans Committed to World Responsibility) was born.
[In his letter to this page,] Robert Ross has reported that it collected signatures in support of a peaceful alternative to military service which were delivered to JFK. But ACWR did more. It held a mass meeting which filled one of the auditoriums adjacent to the "fishbowl," between Haven, Mason, and Angell Halls.
Out of that meeting came the plan to send letters to colleges and universities across the county. A few days later, a large number of students gathered, bringing paper, envelopes, portable typewriters, stamps, and the like. Over 400 letters were created and addressed to student body presidents, campus ministries, and editors of student newspapers. (We ran out of stamps, but some of the students were members of a church near campus. They hit the minister for a contribution—and it was given!)
I never knew which church that was and so I have never been able to thank them. Since I believe many organizations would have helped us out if asked, I now give my thanks to all of them.
The post office on Stadium Blvd west of the city was notified of our effort and agreed to stay open for a few additional minutes so we could get the material in the mail that night.
Many of us feel that this effort also contributed to the creation of what came to be known as the Peace Corps. The letters contained the addresses of both the national Kennedy and the national Nixon campaigns. (Yes, it was Kennedy's idea, but we wanted to include everyone regardless of which candidate they supported.)
Apparently the idealism on other campuses was as intense as at U-M. Kennedy campaign headquarters reported a mountain of mail supporting Kennedy's idea. Neil Staebler, then a Democratic National Committeeman from Michigan, later told us that the effort may have made the difference in the election.
ACWR did continue as a campus organization at U-M for a while (and there were ACWR's on other campuses as well).
One of the things that drove us was that the generation of college students of the 1950s was sometimes known as "The Silent Generation" in the US. It gratified me to show that the students were not silent when they had something important to say.
- John M. Dwyer
- A. B., M.S.
JFK's Ann Arbor Visit
I was there that evening and waited to hear Mr. Kennedy's remarks (JFK at the Union, Jan 2008). I really don't remember much of what he said but I do remember some of the antics some members of the student crowd used to entertain themselves while waiting for him to arrive. Some Republican students hoisted signs with the ribald phrase "You can't **** our Dick" on them. Referring, of course to Mr. Kennedy's political opponent, Richard Nixon. Other students tore them down almost as fast as they were raised. And a good time was had by all.
- Victor F Marquardt
- BSE, MSE
Kennedy, Al and Judy Guskin and what happened next:
When Kennedy spoke (JFK at the Union, Jan 2008), I was standing back along South University â€“ for a long time and impatiently. I knew it was a big deal, but Kennedy was not my favorite. I remember the appeal for commitment and how excited I and others were at the ideaâ€“ and I remember clearly the role Al and Judy Guskin played in the next days. The meeting the article referred to evolved into an organization they founded â€“ Americans Committed to World Responsibility (ACWR). Initially it circulated the petitions that were delivered in Toledo through the good offices of Millie Jeffrey (the UAWâ€™s Community Relations Director).
The reception that Kennedy got gave a hint, not fully clear at the time, of the reservoir of idealism that had built up in Ann Arbor. Just months earlier, on February 1, 1960, the Southern Civil Rights sit-ins began and almost immediately a boycott of Woolworth and Kresge was called nationwide to force them to desegregate. Picketing of the stores was organized in Ann Arbor by, among others, John Leggett, then a Sociology graduate student and Lefty Yamada, then working as a bookstore manager. Many of us younger students participated, including Sharon Jeffrey (Millie Jeffreyâ€™s daughter referred to in the article), and others who heard the call to commitment later in the Fall.
Itâ€™s a longer story, but the core of the picketers, who included many of the petition-signers for the Peace Corps, became the core of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at U-M, who then took the lead in writing the Port Huron Statement â€“ written at the AFL-CIO summer camp in Port Huron, arranged for us by ...Millie Jeffrey.
Relating to the in loco parentis theme raised in the Kennedy story and in an earlier Michigan Today story (The day in loco parentis died, Nov 2007): the locking up of girls in dorms under the policy of in loco parentis (which was waived that night) became a target of what the SDS chapter came to call a need for "University Reform." The VOICE political party affiliated with SDS and we campaigned against in loco parentis and became the first force to challenge the supremacy of Greek letter societies over the student government.
- Robert Ross
- B.A. 1963
I was in the crowd that October night in 1960 when John F. Kennedy spoke (JFK at the Union, Jan 2008). I planted myself exactly on the center line of State Street hours before Kennedy's arrival, thinking that his automobile would part the crowd and that I would in the front row beside the vehicle. When it finally arrived, there was a huge tsunami-like wave of humanity which swept me several rows from the car.
However, the next morning at 8:30, as I was heading to class in Angell Hall, a lonesome convertible, with Kennedy sitting on the back, came slowly up State Street en route to the train station. The street and sidewalks were totally empty as everyone was sleeping off the night before. I made eye contact and could have easily shaken his hand but was a supporter at that time of Nixon (whom I opposed in 1968 and 1972), and I was rather inhibited about such things. I passed on the opportunity to my later regret.
- Fred Heath
- bm mm
My first year in Medical School began in September, 1937. I still remember the welcome sign at the outskirts stating that Ann Arbor, pop 29,000, was "a friendly little city of opportunity." It lived up to the motto. There were about 10,000 students all told. No one was allowed to have a car. Everyone either walked or rode a bicycle as the distances to cover were agreeably short.
The curriculum was set by the school so all we had to do was attend the prescribed classes, work if necessary for room and board, and study until sleep took over.
For me one of the memorable events was the Saturday football game. We had classes Saturday mornings but it was hard to concentrate with the audible buzz that came through the open windows of the students on campus getting ready for the walk to the stadium. No air conditioning. In 1937, Michigan won only one game or so, but thereafter, when Herbert O. "Fritz" Crisler became coach, U-M became a powerhouse.
Medical School, internship and residency in Orthopedic Surgery capped my days in Ann Arbor. I cherish every one of them.
- F. Bruce Kimball
I am an Ann Arbor native, who was a "lifer" in the Frieze Building (North Quad and Nellie's books, Oct 2007). As a child I frequented the public library there. I was a member of the last high school class to be in the old building, moving to the newly built Ann Arbor High School in the spring of my senior year, 1956. I later attended the School of Social Work in the Frieze Building.
Last March I visited Ann Arbor and, driving down State Street, saw the wrecking ball demolish the building. Sadly,I guess everything has a shelf life.
Ann Arbor was a special place to grow up. I have always been grateful it was my home town.
- Barbara Nagler Wasylenki MSW
I was in the crowd at the Student Union on the night of Kennedyâ€™s speech (JFK at the Union, Jan 2008). As a senior in journalism, I had been assigned to cover his appearance for a class. I arrived early and took up a position above the steps of the union with my back against a wall. I knew Iâ€™d be taking notes and I didnâ€™t want to be jostled.
Hours passed. Some students drifted away; others arrived. When Kennedy appeared, my first impression was that he was exhausted after a hard day of campaigning. He looked pale and his shoulders slumped. But when he saw the crowd, he seemed to take on new life and become energized.
But I had chosen a bad viewing spot. The Secret Service promptly pushed the crowd backâ€”-toward me. With my back to an unyielding surface, I had nowhere to go. At first, I felt Iâ€™d be crushed. I couldn't breathe. Eventually, the Secret Service agents gained the space they wanted and things settled down. The pressure eased and I was able to scribble notes as Kennedy spoke. I later became a newspaper reporter and covered other campaign speeches, including one by President Kennedyâ€™s brother, Bobby, before he was assassinated. But Iâ€™ll never forget this one.
- Art Carey
- B.A. Journalism