So was U-M founded in 1817 or 1821? 1837 or 1841? We answer key questions about the University's true founding date.
Victor Katch reflects on his 50th Hollywood High School reunion and wonders how his classmates got so old!
- Exactly how much housework does a husband create?
- Old number 98: Tom Harmon at U-M and at war
- 'We've all been taught that this doesn't happen'
Video: Why are "its" and "it's" so often misused? Anne Curzan explores the big confusion regarding such a tiny punctuation mark.
Frank Beaver excavates John Sayles’ archive and discovers spiral-bound notebooks filled with handwritten treasures.
Video: MT's own historian James Tobin, BA '78/PhD '86, delivers two very different books this season: a serious bio on FDR and a children's book filled with whimsical wordplay.
Hopes are high for the Wolverines’ return to the NCAA Final Four as the Fresh Five regroup to face a new season.
As a high school teacher in Detroit, former enlisted U.S. Marine Ryan Pavel, BA ’12, embraces a new call to service.
An online magazine for alumni and friends of U-M.
Your U-M history
Michigan Today is keeping the past alive with its "Heritage" column about U-M history. You can help. We want to hear about your experiences at U-M, especially those that illuminate how things have (or have not) changed since you were a student.
What was the university like when you were here? Who were the professors that changed your life? What did you do for fun?
1862 Michigan Annual in my possession
(May 9th, 2013) Here I am in Australia with a 1862 student annual, the kind in its day carried from professor to professor for photos and signatures. Included are President Tappan, A.D White (going on to be first president of Cornel) professor Brunnow (who was featured in a Michigan Today story last year (The President's Prussian), Frieze and Cooley (needing no introduction) and others of note. At 77, I'm looking for a home for this Annual; no great value in Australia. The Bentley collection has one from that year. In the meantime -- why I write to MT -- is to propose I write what I know of the history of this Annual, how the student, A Watkins, died still a young man, at the home of a minister in Negaunee (where I lived), how the Annual got to Seattle where given to me by the son of a Michigan med school graduate about 1910, whose father also graduated in medicine from Michigan (I have a 1904 beanie)... this in the context of lightly extolling the roles played by the President and faculty of that era. I'll be returning that Annual to the USA in July, looking for a good home, maybe even with the Center for Higher Education at the School of Education? Kindly advise me about any possible interest in this Annual's story. Thank you. rgc (Melbourne)
Robert G. Cope
BBA, AM, PhD 59
(March 24th, 2013) I grew up in Detroit, attended Cass Tech H.S., and came to live in East Quad as a freshman in 1954. East Quad was experimenting with co-ed housing at that time. I lived in Hinsdale House with a courtside view of the two women's houses. It was rumored that the women's bathrooms still retained urinals but that they were then used to water geraniums that were placed in pots in them. Several of my classes were in the Natural Science building. Comparative Anatomy was held in the large lecture room and I remember needing to get there early for an 8 a.m. lecture class with Dr. Stockard who, by 8 a.m. had already filled two boards with drawings and lecture notes. It was common practice to have a friend draw while you took notes that could be shared and then switch off the next week. I also remember taking Physics and having Dr. Donald Glaser (recently deceased Nobel Prize recipient) as my lab instructor. He made us think that his inspiration for tracking atomic particles came from watching bubbles rise in his pitcher of beer at the "P-Bell." When a job opening occurred at the Botanic Gardens on Iroquois, I felt lucky to get that job because it led to my getting to know several professors who were either teaching or conducting research there. One was Dr. Elzada Clover, the first women to navigate the Colorado River in double -prowed plywood rafts. A highlight of her Botany 2 course was her showing the 8mm film of that trip from the late 1930s. We also learned that the Havasupai Indians introduced her contingent to peyote. Such a revelation to our not so worldly-wise sophomore ears! I later came to be one of her teaching assistants in Botany 2, a class that mostly enrolled female elementary school teachers-to-be. My wife of now 50 years was one of them. Going to summer classes for two years at the U of M Biological Station on Douglas Lake near Pellston led to several great adventures. One of the more memorable was spending a Friday or Saturday evening at Hoppy's, a roadside tavern 3.2 backroad miles from UMBS in the company of several professors and many classmates. Another involved taking cages of Purple Martins to the Northwest Airlines terminal in Pellston to have them released by airline personnel wherever planes were traveling and then charting how long and well it took these homing birds to get back their house on Douglas Lake. Making new friends, being exposed to good and great teaching, being in the midst of wonderful musical and dramatic theater and observing Big 10 athletics as well as living at a time and in a place where history was being made gave me the unique experience of becoming the first college-educated member of my family. Peter Wilson '54, '58
Peter G Wilson
BS (Biology) 1958
Our Good Life
(March 19th, 2013) My experiences at the U. of M. were exceptional. I met my husband, George Carbon Wolfe (who had just been discharged from the service), my sophomore year. We were both sophomores as he had attended the U. of M. before he went into the service. We met bussing dishes at the Men's Union. (I had just joined a sorority and thought I had better make some extra money). We fell in love and were married on June 12,1947 and graduated together on our first wedding anniversary, June 12,1948. He continued at Michigan for another year when he received his MBA. We moved to Ohio and had two daughters, (both are grandmothers now). We have traveled all over the world and leave for Perth, Australia tomorrow for an 18-day cruise on RCCL's "Radiance of the Seas." Truly, Marjorie L. Wolfe
(January 18th, 2013) The video sent today about receiving one's letter of acceptance to UM reminded me of mine for the Law School in the spring of 1965. The letter was addressed to me in my full name: Michael Patrick Sullivan. That alone would not have made it memorable, but then I noticed the date on the letter: March 17, 1965 (St. Patrick's Day). I knew right then that somebody in the Admissions Office had a sense of humor and that I was going to love Michigan...and I do! Somewhere, I still have that letter.
Michael P. Sullivan
(June 28th, 2011)
I'm wondering what ever happened to SCHWABEN INN, which was a popular bar and hangout for Michigan students, located on Liberty and Ashley streets in downtown Ann Arbor in the 1950's. I remember the place well, and wonder if anyone else does and could offer some info. about its history and demise.
(April 29th, 2011)
Does anyone remember House Mothers at residences on campus? I certainly do...I lived in East Quad. and also the SAE fraternity in the 1950's. Both had live-in House Mothers, who were great additions to the quality of living. I guess this is a thing of the past but I believe was a great help in keeping life good in those days. The "Good Old Days" were actually GOOD.
Robert Alexander Bell
A.B. Economics 1954
(April 14th, 2011)
I remember taking classes in a Quanset temporary building across from the old University Hospital on campus in 1951. I also remember many hours spent in the old Economics building, which I understand burned down. My favorite professor was Prof Huber, who never failed to entertain us particularly at 8:00 a.m.early class. Great Memories. I hope students today have great memories as I have.
Robert Alexander Bell
A.B. Economics 1954
(April 14th, 2011)
I was a married student living at Pittsfield Village, 1943 Navy Housing. Rent was $87.50 per month. Now units at the Village sell for $80,000 and $300 monthly maintenance fees! Paul McCracken was my favorite professor. How great it was to read about him last month. Go Brady Hoke!
C.M., O. Ont.
(April 12th, 2011)
I was fortunate to be at the University of Michigan for my M.A. in journalism. My favourite professors were Prof. Wesley Maurer and Prof. Leland Stowe. My other favourite professors were Prof. Russell Fifield of the Department of Political Science and Prof. William Davis, the director of the International Centre.
My time at UM was a wonderful experience. It helped me become what I am today. I met great professors and fabulous people, including Arthur Bechhoefer, whose room was next to mine in the East Quad and who became a close friend. Celand Wyllie and Bob Beyers of the University's News Service also became good friends.
As part of my M.A. program I spent three months with Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press and Holland Evening Sentinel, though Ralph Curry, then city editor and later editor of Flint Journal, brought me back to Flint Journal for another six months.
Michigan is a fantastic place to grow intellectually and socially, one of the world's best universities. I was fortunate to get my M.A. from there.
Contrary to what my friend Samin Khan wrote, I was never the editor of Michigan Daily. I did contribute articles to the Michigan Daily and to Ann Arbor News.
After doing my M.A. I returned to Pakistan and worked with Morning News, Karachi-Dacca, and also wrote for Christian Science Monitor, Baltimore Sun, Indianapolis Star and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In 1965 I moved to Canada and worked for 25 years with the Ottawa Citizen, mostly as the editorial board member specializing in foreign affairs. Then I became a civil servant and later served for ten years as a refugee judge.
I have received the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for my work as a journalist, leadership of Muslims and efforts to promote better understanding between Canadians of diverse faiths.
I keep in touch with UM through the internet and Michigan Daily and also follow the Wolverines in football, basketball, ice hockey, etc. I watch as many games as possible on TV and once in a while even go to Ann Arbor for a football game, or used to during Bo Schembechler's days.
Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan
M.A., University of Michigan 1959
(February 12th, 2011)
- 1970-1: lived in South Quad, member of Michigan Marching Band, Engineering student. I met a few friends who remained friends through my UofM experience. Go Blue.
- 1971-2: lived with parents in A2, still in MMB / went to Rose Bowl. Still in Engineering.
- 1972-3: lived in Greek Frat, no MMB because I needed to work full time to pay the bills. Faded out of Engineering. Got married in the fall and transferred to (dare I say it) MSU.
- 1973-6: Obtained a bachelor's degree in Business at MSU. Came back to A2 and worked for UofM in Administrative Data Processing (Hoover & Green) for 13.5 years.
- 1989-present: I am a United Methodist pastor in Michigan.
I cherish my Michigan years, both as a student and a staff member, however I am torn when they compete in Inter-Collegiate athletics. I need one of those t-shirts that is half Michigan and half State. Highlights: that 1972 Rose Bowl, playing under the baton of William D Revelli, working for my Alma Mater.
(February 11th, 2011)
A few years ago, I met John Tesh, star of the tv show "Entertainment Tonight," at a film industry event in Hollywood. While we were chatting, he mentioned that he had played in the North Carolina State University marching band. I told him that I had played in the University of Michigan marching band. He said, "Oh, then you played for William D. Revelli."
I was amazed. They always told us that William D. Revelli was world famous. They weren't kidding.
B.A. and J.D. 1962
(February 11th, 2011)
Re: Car Craze (February 2011): What a wonderful article - adds a bit of explanation to the picture in which my father rollerskated across the diag (far left, Gordon W. Packer, 1928, drum major of the Michigan Band 1924-28). My father died in 1969 - celebrating his 50th anniversary at the University by marching as the drum major of the Alumni Band - an organization he started in the 1950s. I can remember typing the letters to all the former band members, inviting them to the first reunion of band members. Go blue!!!
Melinda Packer Ziegler
BS in Design 1965
(January 25th, 2011)
t was in my spring semester in Ann Arbor, 1953, that I signed up for two, one hour classes to top off my schedule. I was an A&D Design major wanting some music. The classes were Music Literature and University Chorus. The morning of the first lecture on "The Symphony" I strolled into the hall at the front lower entrance. I turned to look up to the upper seating to see if there was anybody I knew in the class. And there she was! A tall mysterious slender blond, looking down at me for an instant and then scanning her eyes about as if some spy was trailing her. She disappeared quickly after the lecture. This behavior went on for several weeks. I had no luck having her in my class sectional. There were four class sections, but the mystery blond was not in mine.
The University Chorus rehearsals were great because we had Professor "Uncle" Maynard Klein. Everyone was inspired to do their very best. My mystery blond was buried somewhere in the alto section. At the end of rehearsal Miss Mystery would leave right away with a soprano and never look my way.
It was time for a final rehearsal in Hill Auditorium. My best buddy Don Smith came with me. He wanted to see this gal I was so taken with. When we stepped through the back door of the auditorium, I noticed right away that Miss Mystery was down the steps and studying the seating chart on the wall. I pointed her out to Don.
He said "make your move and get down there now!"
I obliged him went to the chart.
As I approached she said "I can't find my spot on the chart."
I fumbled my way into asking "What's your name?"
"Johanna Willertz" she said.
We found her spot and I said "this is me over here."
"Well thanks " she said.
I went back up the steps and relayed my new information to my buddy Don. When I looked back, Johanna was talking fast to that soprano I saw her with after rehearsals. As Don and I left the building, I could see that the two girls were heading in the direction of women's dorms.
Later that day back in my dorm room, I searched through the Student Directory and then called all the women's dorms to see if they had her listed as a resident. No luck. The next day I went to the registration office in the Administration building on State Street.
The women I met there kindly listened to my plight and said." Let me check through the filed registration cards."
A moment later she came back with Johanna's file card and let me read it. (No computers then and no privacy as today.) There was what I needed: her address in Mosher / Jordan Hall with her phone number. The card had a January 1953 date on it. No wonder she wasn't in the Student Directory or printed phone lists in the dormitories. She's a first semester freshman! Good Grief! I'm robbing the cradle!
That night, I called her and made a date for Friday night.
"Are you game to go with me to choir practice at the Presbyterian Church before the movie?"
"Sure , that would be great."she said.
Five months later, I proposed to her an her 18th birthday, August 19th. The following November 22nd, we were wed in the First Presbyterian Church on Washtenaw, the day after the Michigan / Ohio football game.
After a fifty-four year romance, she passed away in her sleep.
rth E Dewey
BS in Design 1954
(November 15th, 2010)
When I was there in 1956-57 at law school on a Ford Foundation fellowship, Gerald Ford, who later became the president, was the congressman, and at the International Centre he was being hooted down-by the Indians- I was called by the chair and I asked the audience to let Ford speak-the president was anwar aziz choudhry-and the editor of michigan daily was azhar ali khan-so three pakistanis me, anwar aziz choudhry and mohammad azhar ali khan controlled 125 indians there, and also because of azhar ali khan my photo appeared in michigan daily.ps.the present turkish government is influenced by my thesis' chapter on turkey in which i wrote that 'kemal ata turk first exploited islam then turned against it'-this chapter of my thesis has been praised by Sorbonne and the UN library in Geneva.
Big Ten Championship
(October 15th, 2010)
As a freshman in 1975 there was a group of us that started a FENCING CLUB. We trained and were invited that year to the BIG TEN FENCING CHAMPIONSHIP which was held in Wisconsin Spring of 1976. The weather was miserable. There was an ice storm but we traveled to Wisconsin and stayed the weekend. GLORY GLORY GLORY.... undefeated in the FINALS!! TOOK FIRST PLACE!!!! what FUN!!!!!
(September 10th, 2010)
He was my advisor. I very much appreciate the time he spent advising me on the way to my Degree in Mechancal Engineering.
It would be nice if he could have seen what my future would be. I have received 12 patents and worked extensively in hydraulics and mechanical design of off-highway equipment from lawn mower transmissions to "large" catepillar equipment. Even transporters for space shuttle booster rockets.
William H Ward
THE KENNEDY SPEECH
(August 30th, 2010)
In the fall of 1960 I was a sophomore in LSA and was serving as the President of Huber House in South Quadrangle. When it was announced that JFK would swing through Ann Arbor on his last major campaign effort, my friends and I were most eager to hear him.
We finished a meeting in South Quad around 9:00 PM and one of my friends and I went out to State Street to await JFK's "imminent" arrival. With repetitive announcements of his delay, the hours wore on. I have a vivid recollection of period announcements that "Dean Debbie" (Deborah Bacon, Dean of Women) had relaxed women's curfew (can you believe it?) for another hour. This went on all through the entire event.
As time wore on, it was finally announced that the entourage had landed on the motorcade was on its way to the Union.
For some reason, my friend and I concluded that, since they were so late, the motorcade would try to avoid the probable delays on Washtenaw and East University. We walked down the hill on State Street toward Packard. Sure enough, we were practically alone when we met the open convertible! We began walking along with it, leaning on the back trunk lid and talking to JFK. If memory serves me correctly, John Swainson, then Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate, was also in the car.
As we approached the Union, the crowds began to swell around the car and I found myself being crushed onto the rear bumper. I had nowhere to go except up on the trunk and over into the back seat, which I did. I spent one of the most memorable minutes of my life until my unceremonious exit from the car.
There was a magnetism that emanated from Kennedy. That night I truly came to understand the meaning of "charisma."
EDWARD H. POWERS
BA, JD 1964
JFK story falls short
(July 20th, 2010)
Re JFK at the Union: I really don't believe that Tobin Caught the flavor of the evening or the speech at all.
I was a little bit offended by what I would consider to be a bowlerized version and I think that the introductory quote is off the mark.
Yes the evening became tense having to wait so long. And the young Republican's huge banner, "You Can't Lick our Dick!" strung between the trees across from the union may have been torn down before Jack arrived and there was an atmosphere of increasing excitement as the evening wore on.
So when the big guys came out of the bus and created a wedge and forced their way up onto the landing there was an atmosphere of extreme anticipation and Jack was exceedingly handsome we could see. He had a kind of WWII Officer classyness and was very poised.
And he complimented us by saying that it was an honor to be here at the great and famous University. We were of course pleased and proud to hear that. And then with a smile he quick turned and said that he too went to a fine university and that back home we call it the Michigan of the East. Upon that quick quip, the Crowd broke into cheers and the game was on.
The way Tobin expresses it is so vapid and lifeless.
No. It was a quick snap that brought us to attention not a lifeless statement. The tension immediately dropped and it became a happy atmosphere of expectation.
The official version is dreadfully dead.
(July 19th, 2010)
Re JFK at the Union: I was a Freshman, sitting on the sill of a 2nd story window of the Union with my legs hanging down, waiting and waiting while the women's permission to stay out late was extended several times so we could see Kennedy. I lived in Mary Markley dorm.
It's not there in the text, but what I remember is Kennedy's saying his famous "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country!" and some student yelling, "Well what can we do except join the f***ing army?!" Whereupon Kennedy said he would establish a "peace corps."
Judging from the transcript, I must have dreamt this, but this is what I remember.
The mood was very pro-Kennedy. I remember my Freshman philosophy teacher, as an example in a syllogism, saying, "If Nixon wins this election, Manning (i.e. himself) will walk up Burton tower on his knees." I was 17 and came from a strongly Republican family, and this was all very astonishing. I was much moved and impressed by Kennedy and have been a Democrat ever since!
Janet Katherine Lethen Clark
BA, MA 64
(July 18th, 2010)
Re JFK at the Union: The Governor in 1960 was G. Mennen ("Soapy") Williams. That may have been George Romney who Ms. Burson was standing behind, but he wasn't elected Governor until 1962.
M. A. (Econ) & Ph. D.(Urban & Regional Planning) 0
JFK at the Union
(July 18th, 2010)
Re JFK at the Union: I was a sophomore living at Henderson House co-op in 1960. Along with many others I watched the debate between Nixon and Kennedy the evening of Oct. 13. Shortly after the debate we headed for the Union. Several fellow housemates were members of the young Democrats. With Kennedy buttons in hand we started passing the buttons out and working our way to the front of the assembled crowd of students.
It was an exciting and a challenging speech, one that suggested a role for our generation to contribute to making a better world. Kennedy was elected, the Peace Corps became a reality.
In the spring of 1963 the Peace Corps came to the Union. Along with another Henderson House senior, I filled out an application and took a test. In June 1963 I was in training for Thailand 6.
I was serving as an English teacher in Thailand when Kennedy was assassinated. It filled with me a deep sadness and a personal sense of loss. I was amazed by how much Kennedy and his family were admired and loved by the people of Thailand. For the year following his death every issue of a major Thai magazine carried a 4 page centerfold with various photos of our late president and his family.
At least 3 of our Henderson House group who listened to Kennedy's speech at the Union that night served in the Peace Corps.
MARY LEE JACOBSON WINKLER
(July 17th, 2010)
Re JFK at the Union: I was across the State St. a fair distance from the steps where Kennedy spoke. My fraternity brothers and I waited for at least 3 hours before he appeared. He was an inspiring president. Although I didn't join the Peach Corps I did end up as a Federal employee for 39 years working on environmental issues, particularly the Great Lakes. Now retired, I'm volunteering for President Obama's Organizing for America hoping that this generation will be inspired by him as mine was by Kennedy.
William L. Richardson
BS Civil Englineering 1963
Mrs. Timothy Leland
(July 17th, 2010)
Re JFK at the Union: I was there on the steps of the Union that night. Kennedy was expected earlier, so we waited and waited and waited, and yes, we, too, were able to stay out after our required time to be in the dorm, for this special occasion. We didn't care about the wait; we were young, enthusiastic, and dying to see this vibrant and handsome new Presidential candidate in the flesh. He, and his speech, fulfilled all our expectations, and it was then all the more devastating to hear three years later, of his assassination. He was a hunk, no doubt. If we had known about various bedroom activities back then, when everyone's mindset was still in the virginal fifties, we would have been shocked out of our minds.
Julie Stockwell Hatfield
(July 17th, 2010)
Re JFK at the Union: I recall standing with hundreds of others on State street by South U. that fall evening. Kennedy was due to arrive at 10pm but was more than 2 hours late but it just made the buildup more. His motorcade came from the south on State street just a few feet from where I was standing. The crowd was electric with enthusiasm. He climbed to the top of the steps and was pleased that so many of us waited to see him. He made a joke about attending "the Michigan of the East" which drew applause and laughter. He spoke for about 15 minutes in which he encouraged us to get involved in aiding our country. I was impressed with his vigor and ability for leadership.
(July 16th, 2010)
I attended the University of Michigan from 1955 to 1959. One of the most memorable events for me involved getting a physical on the elevated track above the floor of the Barbour Gymnasium. The track was inclined with an iron railing on the inside, and was covered with brown paper so the students enrolling down below could not see us as we had little or no clothes on. As I recall, the physicals were given by Med Students, which turned out to be an embarrassment for the women, as they went around clockwise, and the men went around the track counterclockwise. (A date later with a Med Student who had given the physical, could be embarrassing.) One student in front of me slipped and slid down the incline, stopping with his legs dangling under the bottom of the brown paper. I always wonder what the students down below thought as the legs appeared.
(July 16th, 2010)
I was a freshman at U of M when then Senator Kennedy made his historic "short" speech instigating the Peace Corps on the steps of the Michigan Union. (JFK at the Union)
I sat on the Union steps for well over 3 hours waiting for the Senator's arrival. We had to keep sending runners back to our dorm, the now defunct Victor Vaughn Hall, to ask permission to stay out late. At that time all women had to be in their dorms by 10:00 p.m. Finally Senator Kennedy and his entourage arrived--to our loud and grateful cheers! They came to the top of the steps, where I was standing. The Senator stood in the center with his minion around him. In front of me was a tall, fairly large man who was blocking my view. I politely tapped him on the back and asked him to please move as I couldn't see Senator Kennedy. He said "I'm sorry" and graciously moved. A friend then said to me, "Do you know you just asked Gov. Romney to move"?! "Well, I couldn't see!" He was very gracious! And, of course, Senator Kennedy's speech and presence that night was a most auspicious and meaningful start to my career at the University of Michigan.
My memories of Pres. Kennedy's death while I was still at U of M are just as strong but, obviously, more painful. And to complete this saga I was the one who initiated the request to then Pres. Johnson to speak at our graduation in the Stadium. He did!
B.A. (Theatre) 1964
(July 16th, 2010)
Re JFK at the Union: I was on the steps of the Michigan Union that morning. In fact, I am the person just behind Senator Kennedy's left shoulder in the photograph. (To his right in the photo.) The one with the black frames. At the time I worked at the U-M TV Center, as a program produce-director
The man to the Senator's left (to his right in the photo) grinning at him was Tom Paine, who was running for Congress from Ann Arbor. I was his campaign aide, which is why I was on the steps. Earlier in the evening I had driven Paine's campaign VW bus to Willow Run Airport to provide the PA system for Senator Kennedy when he addressed the crowd after landing there.
The article mentions Mildred Jeffrey, the UAW official and Democratic committeewoman. (Actually, Millie was the National Committeewoman from Michigan, not a "state committeewoman".)She is the woman with the large ID badge, near the right edge of the photograph, looking down and to her left and grinning broadly. She was a good friend of the Senator's and a close longtime ally of Walter Reuther, the visionary founder of the UAW.
MA( Econ; 54) PhD( U & RP; 74) 54
(July 16th, 2010)
Re: JFK at the Union: I WAS ABOUT 10 FEET FROM PRESIDENT KENNEDY WHEN HE SPOKE ON THE UNION STEPS. IT WAS AN EXCITING MOMENT FOR ME AND EVERY TIME I AM IN ANN ARBOR I GO TO THE UNION STEPS AND THINK ABOUT THAT NIGHT.
BA AND JD 1961
(July 16th, 2010)
Re: JFK at the Union I was a freshman in the fall of 1960 and participated in Young Dems' canvassing for JFK in Ypsi in September and October. Therefore I was picked to be one of the "Kennedy Girls" to go to the airport to greet JFK when he arrived. We all wore special hats and sashes. We waited there for a long time for his plane to land, then were in a bus that took part in the motorcade as it went to AA. Paul Heil, the Young Dems president, had announced that JFK would speak (tho JFK hadn't planned to do so), which is why there were so many waiting at the Union. JFK was tired and upset about having to speak to the crowd, but indeed gave that inspiring address I was thrilled to hear despite the fact I expected to have many "late minutes" from my dorm (though later those were all excused).
A coda: in summer 2008 I was at a fundraiser for Obama at which the main speaker was Caroline Kennedy. When I met her at the reception preceding her brief talk, I told her I had been present at the Union, and she referred to that in her remarks.
Mary Beth Norton
(July 16th, 2010)
Re: JFK at the Union: I watched the debate in the Union, then joined the crowd later and waited for a couple of hours till Kennedy arrived. Around 3am there were literally thousands of students packed in front of the Union.
The girls shrieked when Kennedy said "I came here tonight to go to bed" (some people claim he said "Going to bed with you all"). His speech was mesmerizing as was the whole event. We went home in an exuberant mood.
Incidentally, when Nixon arrived some days later at the station in his train barely a hundred people were reported to have shown up.
Robert O. Kan