Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Read Letters

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Thank you for the retrospective on the old Waterman/Barbour complex (March 2009). As a dance major in the 1970s when Liz Bergman was building the department and Gay DeLange was a young force shaping us, all our classes were in the beautiful buildings. It was inspiring to walk up the huge steps each day, to dance under the high ceilings with sunlight streaming in the tall windows. I remember fondly walking through the men shooting hoops in Waterman to get upstairs to my ballet studio. And that long room had an old wood floor with bumps in the center, so I learned exactly where they were in order to avoid them and make the best pirouettes I could. All I have to do today is close my eyes and I can feel all the rhythms of African dance taught by Vera Embree, running and leaping line by line while Gay hollered encouragement, and Liz directing our auditions in that huge upstairs room in Barbour. Thank you!

  • Barbara Lynn Swanson (McGraw)
  • BFA
  • Dec. 1976
  • Music
  • Silver Spring

Re: What's so funny? (March 2009): A man sitting at a bar hears a voice saying "that's a very handsome tie you're wearing," but doesn't see anyone. A few moments later he hears the same voice saying "that's a beautiful sport jacket." Again no one in sight. He calls the bartender over and relates this experience.

The bartender explains; "the peanuts are complimentary."

  • Bob Ruskin
  • B.A., M.D.
  • 1953,1955
  • LSA,MED,LSA
  • Bloomfield Hills

Re: Cold snap (March 2009): The reason I do not contribute to Michigan is because of wackos like Prof. Poulsen. If he really wants to make a positive contribution, have him work on making rain upon demand.

  • Dave Cole
  • BA
  • 1968
  • LSA

Re: 20 years later (March 2009): I had moved to Seattle after law school graduation, and was at the game, sitting (actually, mostly standing) on the floor right behind the basket, when the basketball team won the NCAA Championship. I had called Al Renfrew at the U-M Ticket Office in Ann Arbor to get tickets for our local alumni club. It was very cool to win the National Championship in my new hometown of Seattle. The Seattle U-M alumni club had quite the party that night!

  • Al Van Kampen
  • BA, JD
  • 1979, 1983
  • LSA & Law
  • Seattle

Re: 20 years later (March 2009): Can't believe it's been 20 years! Remember it well. Had Art History class with Mark Hughes—a great guy. My husband and I started dating the week before the tournament. Will never forget the happy mob after the game at South U and Church streets, and the guy riding the flashing red light like a mechanical bull. What a game, and what a night!

  • Shelley Brown Komrska
  • B.F.A.
  • 1991
  • School of Art
  • Cincinnati

Your slideshow on Waterman/Barbour gyms (March 2009) brought back pleasant memories—I spent many hours as a young faculty member on the Waterman indoor track. The caption mentions that it was 14 laps to the mile; my memory is that it was longer than that, perhaps 10 laps/mile. Was the track perhaps lengthened at the time that additions were made to the gym?

  • Peter Hinman
  • Ann Arbor

Fascinating article (What's so funny? (March 2009). I'd love to keep up on progress toward a Humor Studies program. I was reminded on a German man I met at a restaurant in Bavaria in the mid-1980s. He said that he taught himself English by reading New Yorker cartoons: "When I knew why it was funny, I knew I understood English!"

  • Walter Bilderback
  • A. B.
  • 1983
  • Resdential College
  • Philadelphia

Re: 20 years later (March 2009): I was a Social Work intern at the U-M C.A.P.H. at the time, loving the Hoop program as I always had. (I grew up in Pontiac and worshiped Cazzie as a kid.) When tournament time came, I had a feeling that the team was ready to make a run so I picked them to win in the pool that the program director, Mary Kemme, let us set up. I followed every step the team made and got ridiculed a bit for my "unlikely scenario" by the rest of the students and staff. I particularly liked Loy Vaught, who was around our program a lot. When they won it, I won $130 on the pool, which I sorely needed. Dr. Kemme rolled her eyes at me and said, "Somehow you students always seem to have the inside track on these things." It was a thrill I will never forget. By the way, my supervisors, Sharon Jordan and Doug Davies, inspired me like no one else did before or since.

  • Pete Reed
  • B.A, MSW
  • 1980,1989
  • LSA, Social Work
  • Beverly

Worldwide independent scientists, claiming no governmental, business or ideological affiliations, find that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a climate change threat; disputing information from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Findings include:

  1. Atmospheric CO2 levels vary due to many reasons while tending to follow, not lead, global temperature changes.
  2. Global temperature changes are primarily due to the sun’s output variations and earth’s orbital eccentricities.
  3. The IPCC operates as an advocacy organization and not a purely scientific group.
  4. Most scientists conclude that atmospheric CO2 is not a climate change threat or harmful to humans.

Sources include:

Considering this information, coupled with national economic and security interests, it appears appropriate and desirable to encourage free market energy solutions from all available sources, including oil, natural gas, oil shale, coal, wind, solar, geothermal, wave action, fuel cells, biofuels and nuclear power, coupled with prudent harmful emission controls while eliminating CO2 and carbon cap and credit restrictions.

  • Thomas J. Buckley
  • Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, Master of Business Administration
  • 1965, 1970
  • General Motors Institute, University of Michigan
  • Clawson

Hello. I attend the South Lyon First United Methodist Church where I also a Mission Team member. Our church "adopted" a church in Liberia, Africa a few years ago. Although we have been able to raise money to install a water well for the village we have found that communication is somewhat slow because of the scare internet connections around their country. The pastor of their church has to walk several miles to get to the head church office computer. Has there been any talk of expanding the project to different parts of Africa. I thought this project sounded like a great endeavor. Thanks! Heather Fazio

  • Heather Fazio
  • Bachelors of Science in Human Nutrition
  • 2001
  • MSU
  • Plymouth

Re: Cell phones as classroom computers (March 2009): How do I obtain this software? Most of our children (3), their spouses, and grandchildren (10) have smart phones—Treo, Blackberry etc.

At the moment, the software described in this story is not commercially available. It's part of a test being performed in two Texas schools, though researchers hope to expand the project in the future. If readers have suggestions for finding currently available educational software for mobile devices, Drop us a line. --Editor

  • Cal Reed
  • BSinChE
  • 1958
  • BSinChE, 1958
  • Katy

Re: 20 years later (March 2009): 1988-89 was my freshman year and I lived on fifth floor Williams in West Quad. A group of us drew a gigantic bracket across the entire back wall of the lounge in Williams House, having no idea obviously how far we'd go. The Sweet Sixteen came around and maybe 6 or 7 of us drove down to Lexington to watch Sean Higgins put on a show against UVA (during that game, some woman in the bathroom made some comment about how great that Higgins player was and all I could do was smile).

So the Final Four comes around, we beat Illinois and face Seton Hall. I remember watching that championship game back in the Williams House lounge with everyone and then pouring out on to State St. and then South University down by China Gate and Charlie's—people hanging from telephone wires, turning cabs over. Wall to wall people, from sidewalk to sidewalk. It was unbelievable. After that, t-shirts were made: on the front, "1989 Rose Bowl Champions," on the back, "as if that weren't enough" with a basketball going through a net and "1989 national champions." It was a great freshman year!

  • Barbara Cossman
  • BA
  • 1992
  • LSA
  • Ann Arbor

Re: 20 years later (March 2009): Enthused greatly by Shawn Higgins' putback and the Michigan men's basketball team's improbable win against Illinois in the semis late Saturday night, I spur of the moment flew to Seattle on Monday without a ticket but determined to see the championship game. After 30 minutes of buying and selling several tickets outside the Kingdome to get the best seat I could, I was detained by the Seattle police. They accused me of scalping and threatened to arrest me. I thought I was going to miss the game in some lockup!

Fortunately, I had just purchased a great seat in the courtside bleachers and as soon as they released me I ran into the game, eating one other ticket that I didn't dare sell. The thrill of the overtime victory was augmented by flying on the red-eye to Chicago a few seats away from Bo, who had to get back to spring football practice. He autographed my ticket stub, and we enjoyed a few words. I am very glad that this very special M basketball team is getting attention again. They were an inspiration to all who follow Michigan sports.

  • Mike Julien
  • BBA
  • 1973
  • Business
  • Grand Rapids

Re: 20 years later (March 2009): Michigan beats Illinois in the Final Four semifinal to advance to the championship game, and students congregate in the intersection of East U and South U. During the ensuing melee, I approach a young lady from one of my classes in the throngs of people and introduce myself. Our first date is a week later. We graduate a few weeks later. We married in 1992 and remain happily married, with two great kids. GO BLUE!

  • Adam Cohen
  • B.A., English
  • 1989
  • LSA
  • Englewood

Re: The student body (March 2009): I registered for my classes in Waterman Gymnasium in 1958 and in subsequent years. Your article on Waterman & Barbour is terrific, thanks. It brought back many old, dusty memories.

Your gym photos reminded me of playing in the blue and white basketball game in Yost Fieldhouse in 1959. The varsity once again beat the truly gifted freshman team. As an architect, my firm has been retained for many campus building projects including the Visitor Center, Michigan Union, Michigan League, and the Sindecuse Museum at the Michigan Dental School.

Thanks for bringing back some old memories.

  • Richard E. Fry
  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • 1965
  • Architecture & Design
  • Ann Arbor

Your random display of Alumni Notes, many unidentified by graduation year, is ridiculous. Why should anyone have to scroll through all the notes to find a familiar name? Why not group notes by graduation decade? And insist that alumni include their degrees and graduation dates in their entries? I stopped looking at the notes long ago because it was so frustrating!

  • Meredith Tigel Saltzman
  • B.A.
  • 1956
  • Education
  • New York

Re: 20 years later (March 2009): I remember the entire month March 1989 vividly. My first memory is of walking across the Quad and watching reporters asking random students what they thought of Frieder being fired. I had not heard the news so I was stunned. My head dropped with disappointment.I figured we would be lucky to get through the first round.

After that first tournament game you could feel the confidence build in the team and in the fan support. By the time we reached the Final Four it was unbelievable, a true cinderella story.

March Madness of 1989 was one the most exciting times of my life on campus.

  • Aaron King
  • B.F.A
  • 1990
  • School of Art
  • Los Angeles

Re: 20 years later (March 2009): In 1989, I was in Seattle on business and happened to land the same afternoon the men's basketball team landed at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle to come to the Final Four. So I stayed to watch them deplane. It was truly a "Meechigan" moment. Glen Rice, Rumeal Robinson, Terry Mills, and all the rest of that great team, and of course, Interim Coach Steve Fisher coming off that plane to the sounds of the Victors from the pep band. I remember it so well. Everyone was so pumped!

That afternoon, I happened to strike up a conversation with a member of the Alumni Club in Seattle, and lo and behold he called my hotel the next night when Michigan beat the Fighting Illini in the National Semi Finals. My God, Michigan was going for it all! To make a long story short, he had an extra ticket he could get me if I wanted to attend the final game. Boy, did I want to go, but I had to get back home to California from my business trip. In truth, I could have and should have called in sick. I wimped out and missed a great game and a chance of a lifetime. I continue to beat myself up for giving up that great opportunity and missing that thrilling game, but that's the way the ball bounces (Ouch, what a bad pun!).

GO BLUE!

  • Randy Grossman
  • BA, MPH, PhD
  • 1971,1975, 1984
  • LS&A, Public Health, Racham
  • San Leandro

Re: Talking about movies: Children vs. the world (March 2009): Few people have noticed the politically correct subtext in Slumdog, namely, that Muslims in India are victims of the Hindus. Jamal is not only an orphan boy from the slums. He is a Muslim made an orphan by Hindu pogrom against Muslims in the slums. His triumph is not just the triumph of a poor orphan but the triumph of a Muslim over Hindus. This portrayal of Muslims as victims and a persecuted minority totally distorts the real history of Islam in India where, over the centuries, Muslims murdered many millions of Hindus. The same movie could easily have been made, and should have been made, without this subtext.

  • Carl Goldberg
  • BA, MA, PhD
  • 1974
  • LSA
  • Tempe

Re: Cold snap (March 2009): I can report that a flock of robins has wintered in Birmingham, Michigan this year!

  • Richard Stiennon, BS AeroEng, 1982
  • BS
  • 1982
  • AeroSpace Eng
  • Birmingham

Re: Talking about movies: '60s activism (Feb. 2009): Though I didn't enroll as a full-time student until 1970-71, I first arrived in Michigan as a student wife in 1967. Being plunged into the 1960s in full blossom was quite a shock to me. I was fresh from 14 life-changing months on a remote army base in Germany. My then-husband had been drafted; we actually lived "on the economy" in a German neighborhood, handy because German had been my college language. Before that I had been tucked away at a New England women's college (Smith) for 4 years.

As patchouli and pot drifted through the streets of Ann Arbor, I was teaching high school in Dundee. As students protested (some with chants about "fascist militarist pigs"), I remembered the terrific kids and top teachers at the DoD's Wurzburg American High School, where I had done my student teaching.

It must have been 1968 when the fiance of a sweet high school girl in my junior English class at Dundee was killed in Vietnam. She dissolved in tears week after week. I myself still tear up when I remember her.

It was a stressful time for me to be in Ann Arbor, remembering the people who had become swept up in the war masterminded by that super-smart former Ann Arborite, Robert McNamara. We passed his Tudor house on Highland Road on our Sunday walks to pick up the New York Times at the Blue Front. I always think of him first when I think of that useful British phrase, "too smart by half."

Bomb threats at the UGLI... that was the worst for me. And I didn't really groove on the Hill Street scene at John Sinclair's White Panther headquarters, either.

Let's not forget that those stimulating, idealistic, self-important activist years cut out a big part of the Democratic Party coalition and gave it to the Reagan Republicans.

As for me, not a boomer, I was always looking for the middle…the missing middle, as in Yeats' "Second Coming": "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold."

In 1975, Ernie Harburg (Del Rio owner and partner in the Earle renovation project) took me under his wing and advised me to produce a newsletter for our "West Side Neighborhood Group" of downtown renovators, a publication that would foster communication and even respect among the new hippie merchants, "the suits" at banks and City Hall, and "the folks"… the old school Germans on the Old West Side, a lot like my own grandparents in rural Missouri.

The next year, when Don and I started the Ann Arbor Observer, that was my goal: to listen and report on everybody: town, gown, and the theatrical "hipoisie," in the words of Julian Moody, the hip owner of Applerose Natural Foods.

I was never in a protest. The only one I ever wanted to be in was the 1963 March on Washington, but my parents wouldn't let me go.

30 years later, I'd call myself an activist of the middle. Last fall, I started an experimental Democratic outpost office here in downtown Calumet, on the Keweenaw Peninsula in the U.P.

And because of that exposure to things German as an army wife, my son Sam studied German, then Slavic linguistics in Germany, and is now a translator (from German, Czech, and Slovak to English).

Preparing for a trip to Germany, I found out about the first documentary about growing up in the military: "Brats: Our Journey Home," narrated by Kris Kristofferson (an Air Force general's son). "Brats" is not derogatory. Military kids didn't choose to serve, but they do. In a big way. Often the move 10 times in school and live in different countries. In later life, they tend to be world travelers or nesters.

I recommend "Brats," as do the brats I've loaned it to. Many are artists. Norman Schwartzkopf was surprisingly charming and sophisticated; HIS dad was in Iraq right after WWII, so the future general had to go to boarding school in Switzerland.

Academe talks about diversity… but there was nothing like the U.S. Army for diversity and mixing of social classes, especially back in the day of the hated draft.

An estimated 5% of the U.S. population are brats.

  • Mary Hoffmann Hunt
  • LSA
  • MA 1971
  • Calumet

I enjoyed Frank Beaver's article on '60s activism-themed films (Feb. 2009). I would like to mention also "The Big Fix" from 1978 starring Richard Dreyfuss, concerning former activists dealing with how their lives and commitments have changed over time.

  • Steve Worden
  • Ann Arbor

Your article on Ann Arbor Abolitionists (Feb. 2009) was excellent. Although I have not had an opportunity to read all the articles, I found the alumna comment about Stockwell Hall poignant.

Although I have expressed some of my memories of that experience in a book which I hope to be published soon, I found her suggestion of the possibility of Stockwell becoming a co-ed dormitory somewhat disturbing.

I was one of two 16 year old girls admitted to the University of Michigan in 1948. I believe the other was Sylvia Herrera. Both of us lived at Stockwell which was maintained with very high standards, both physically and behaviorally. It was the site of a memorable formal reception for the Shah of Iran and his second bride. Above all, the standards which may seem archaic now maintained that quality of being not girls, but "ladies."

Although I am sure that each of the residents of Stockwell Hall and other dormitories are brilliant intellectually, it is that special bonding which took place at Stockwell that still causes me to miss two "friends," who were as close as sisters, Carol Shaw Hamill and Barbara Hoefeld Schimberg. Though they are both now deceased, it is that friendship, as close as sisters, which remained throughout our lives, that special reliance or interdependence which was maintained into our maturity that may be lost if it becomes a coeducational dormitory.

Although the rules were strict, even for parents returning you to dormitory, there was the inner discipline which we learned in our homes, the ability to relax, studying in the Library together in robe and pajamas, that may be lost in the recreation/"restoration" of Stockwell. I certainly hope not, for in carefully reading your article about President Little from Harvard, Stockwell was built in 1940, one year before our entry into WWII, when I was eight years of age! There are traditions (quality) worth retaining.

Among those traditions maintained with minimal adaptation, fortunately, are Burton Tower, Hill Auditorium and the Women's League, now called the Michigan League. Even though I was one privileged to stay one summer in what was then called the "New Dorm," Alice Lloyd Hall, it was not the same. I deeply appreciated the tour on my last visit to Ann Arbor and will look forward to returning when it is reopened.

  • America E. Nelson, M.D, M.P.H.
  • A. B., M.S.
  • 1952, 1954

Re: Ann Arbor Abolitionists (Feb. 2009): Do you know about the event commemorating the meeting of John Brown and Frederick Douglass in Detroit? Check out the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History website (pdf).

  • Sarah Kittle
  • B.A.
  • 2006
  • UM Dearborn
  • Detroit

I was a level 2 distributor in the agricultural trade. The title of "Dope Capital of the Midwest" was entirely accurate. This will be well documented in the film "Illegal Smile" coming to a theater near you in approximately 8 years.

  • Tom Bayer
  • BS in CCS
  • 1971
  • LS&A
  • Ann Arbor

Re: Ann Arbor Abolitionists (Feb. 2009): My hometown of Princeton, IL, gave the world Owen Lovejoy, a noted Abolitionist preacher, Congressman, friend (and sometimes millstone) to Lincoln, and keeper of a stop on the Underground Railroad. His brother Elijah was murdered by a mob in Alton, IL when he refused to stop publishing his abolitionist paper. Many of Owen's papers are housed at U-M's Clements Library on South University.

  • Steve Gunning
  • A.B.
  • 1966
  • LSA
  • Princeton

Re: Ann Arbor Abolitionists (Feb. 2009): I'd like to point out that Laura Smith Haviland moved to Lenawee County in 1829 and in 1830 established the first Underground Railroad station in Michigan.

In 1837, Haviland and her husband founded a "manual labor school" designed for indigent children, which was later known as the Raisin Institute. Haviland instructed the girls in household choirs, while her husband and one of her brothers, Harvey Smith, taught the boys to perform farm work. The school was open to all children. It was the first racially integrated school in Michigan. Laura wrote that once the students were together in the classroom their prejudices melted away.

There is a statue of her in Lansing honoring her work. After her husband died, she put herself in jeopardy many a time by tirelessly working to help fugitive slaves and also going south to free the children of fugitive slaves. [She was also my husband's ancestor.]

  • Nancy
  • A.S., B.S.
  • 1987
  • Communications
  • Ann Arbor

Thanks for the article (Talking about movies: '60s activism, Feb. 2009). It brought back memories of those days. In 1965 there were four people at the Diag protesting the war at noon. One was a guy I went to UCLA with, who understood long before most people the lunacy of Viet Nam. At the time it was hard to understand how a smart guy like him could be so misinformed. I realized later that I was the one who had needed educating. By the time I left Ann Arbor in '67 the anti-war line stretched the length of the Diag and beyond.

On a related note I enjoyed both "Return of the Secaucus Seven" and "Big Chill" and must rent the other two. Maybe I will see myself at the Democratic Convention watching the MC5 perform on the back of a flat bed truck.

  • Don Surath
  • BBA
  • 1967
  • Business Administratioin
  • San Francisco

Re: Ann Arbor Abolitionists (Feb. 2009): I am reading a book titled, "Slavery by Another Name" dealing with the atrocities to African Americans by plantation owners and companies in the South after the Civil War. The story makes your skin crawl. It is good to read a positive spin about those heroes who were fighting for civil rights at the same time.

  • Tom Walbridge
  • BS IOE, MBA
  • 1978, 2003
  • Engineering, Business
  • Bloomfield Hills

Thanks for the recent article on our women's gymnastics program (A drive for perfection, Feb. 2009). Having been a member of U-M's cheerleading squads from 1986-89, I spent countless hours sharing facilities with both gymnastics programs. I never saw a harder working, more dedicated bunch of young people in my life. It was a shame to witness how little recognition and support they seemed to receive for their efforts.

Occasionally they would kid us cheerleaders, claiming they were doing all the HARD WORK and we were taking all the bows. In retrospect, that was probably a true statement. I'm glad to see the women's gymnastics program finally getting what they deserve: a little limelight! So, take a bow, Bev et al. You've waited long enough for this moment! Go Blue!

  • Kevin Palmateer
  • Communication
  • 1989
  • LSA 1989
  • Port Huron

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 19 20 21 22 23

LEAVE A COMMENT: