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How one cranky grad changed U-M history

By Deborah Holdship
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“It’s just like knowing the history of your own family … “

Welcome to Episode 2 of “Listen in, Michigan,” a new podcast designed for Michigan Today readers and fans of the audio format.

In this episode, we pick up the conversation we began in Episode 1 with historian and storyteller Jim Tobin, PhD ’86. Here, Tobin explains how one cranky U-M alumnus named Frank Culver forced the University administration to amend the founding date of his alma mater, essentially adding 20 years to the life story of U-M. Meanwhile, Tobin gets a little bookish this time with stories that touch upon Arthur Miller and Robert Frost; we also learn some interesting details about the stone work in the Law Quad.

In addition, we hear from alumnus Aaron Dworkin, an accomplished violinist recognized internationally for his leadership and advocacy of diversity in the performing arts. Dworkin was appointed dean of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) in July. He is the founder and president of the Sphinx Organization, a leading national nonprofit based in Detroit that was established to increase diversity in the arts through a variety of programs that address four main areas: education and access, artist development, performing artists, and arts leadership.

It’s a great time for Dean Dworkin and SMTD with the reopening of the renovated and expanded E.V. Moore Building — amazing new facilities for all the artists and performers coming through U-M. In addition, the school’s Department of Theatre & Drama is celebrating its centennial this year with a series of special events and performances.

And finally, we have a short message from alumnus Jack Gartner, MBA ’48, who was showcased in a Michigan Today story called Coming home, about the experience of WWII veterans who spent their U-M years living at the Willow Village at the Willow Run B24 Bomber Plant, about eight miles southeast of the Diag. Post-war housing was at a premium in the late ’40s, and some 3,000 students lived at the Village, creating their own unique campus community.

We certainly hope you enjoyed listening. Feedback is welcome. We would love to hear your stories. Feel free to email mtoday@umich.edu or leave your comments below.

Hear more “Listen In, Michigan” podcasts. Subscribe at iTunesTunein, and Stitcher.

(Production support and editing by Alexandra Nowlin; sound design and music by Barry Holdship.)

Deborah Holdship

Deborah Holdship

DEBORAH HOLDSHIP is the editor of Michigan Today. She joined the University in 2007 as editorial manager in the marketing communications department at the Ross School of Business, where she was editor of Dividend magazine for five years. Prior to working at Michigan, Deborah was associate director of publications at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. From 1988-2001, Deborah worked in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, where she was a reporter and editor at Billboard magazine and an associate editor and video producer at LAUNCH media. Follow her on Twitter: @michigantoday.