Office of the VP for Communications – Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Shut up and listen

All you ever do is talk, talk

This month your talkative editor did her best to keep her mouth shut during some of the most interesting interviews she’s ever done. Even her questions were shorter and more succinct than usual.

Holdship as a kid

My natural state, starting from about 5 years old.

OK, enough with the third-person narrative.

As a white member of American society, I am taking to heart the directive that one can learn more by listening than talking.

I can’t pretend to understand what shoe designer Shane Ward feels when a police car rolls up on him, but I was nearly brought to tears by hearing his description.

I closed my mouth as alumnus Robert Greenfield explained how tired he was, just five years after graduation, fighting systemic racism in the workforce.

And I did my best to keep chatter to a minimum as former /aut/BAR owners and married alumni Keith Orr and Martin Contreras shared memories of Ann Arbor and LGBTQ culture.

You learn a lot when you shut your mouth. What a concept.


  1. George Taylor - 1970

    Hi Deborah,

    Thanks for your article on listening, a skill needed now more than ever. And for keeping me connected to other alums and U of M’s many successes.

    Your stories about creative alumni inspired me to write to you, to tell you that I recently published a novel. I aspire to be the Grandpa Moses of American Letters. It’s not too late. I’ve been writing since I graduated from U of M in 1970 and this is my first published novel. My team produced a information sheet which I could send you, if you are interested. Be well in this turbulent time and Go Blue. George


    • Deborah Holdship

      Of course, George!


  2. Jen Fader - 1993

    Thank you for your leadership and intellect – super.


    • Deborah Holdship

      Pretty sure you meant to post this under the President’s Message!


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