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

Alumni Memories

  1. Retired

    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!

    • Richard Gallette
    • MBA 1963
  2. C.M., O. Ont.

    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
  3. Rev.

    • 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.

    • John Schneider
  4. Revelli Fame

    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.

    • Dave Bortman
    • B.A. and J.D. 1962
  5. 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
  6. It 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.

    • Garth E. Dewey
    • BS in Design 1954
  7. 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.

    • Samin Khan
  8. Big Ten Championship

    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!!!!!

    • Christina Massiala-Vaka
    • BGS 1986
  9. The Last Panty Raid?

    The Last Panty Raid? From High School to the U in the ’60s: An excerpt from the movie, “Illegal Smile,” written by Tom Bayer

    The three slightly inebriated Catholic boys from Dogbone headed to the Diag from West Quad to rendezvous with their two friends from Markley. The five Divine children were just beginning to grok the University of Michigan as “in loco parentis.”

    The brisk October night reinforced changes these freshmen were experiencing. The boys had just attended their first homecoming game against Indiana that Saturday. Although the stadium was only half full (pre-Bo Schembechler), they were excited about going to a Big Ten game in what later came to be known as The Big House (the largest stadium in the USA). That evening Tom peeked into the homecoming dance at the Michigan Union Ballroom. “The Doors were supposed to play that night but got so high on drugs they could barely stand!” he said. “The drummer came out and just dove onto the drum set. Jim Morrison had to be propped up by two roadies. The entire band was carried off the stage without ever playing a single note. The girls in their formal gowns and the guys in their tuxes were sooo mad!”

    Tom rambled on: “There are some real weirdos where we live at Williams House in West Quad! I saw one guy with hair actually down over his ears! He’s from Manhattan so I guess that explains it. Always has his door shut. Must be smoking something funny. Yesterday we got the results of our first inorganic chemistry exam. Some guy went to the professor during his office hours and asked if he (the student) shouldn’t have gotten partial credit for question six. He got the right value after all. Only the units were missing. The professor responded, ‘What, you damn fool?’ My classmate Bob looked over at me and whispered, ‘That would be a NO on the partial credit.'” Yes: we were definitely at the U!

    Lloyd declared (in the disjointed manner that alcohol-influenced conversations often flow), “I heard that in the ’30s, only guys were allowed in the Union and females were allowed in the League. Can you imagine?”

    “I know!” suggested Ray. “Let’s go over to Mosher Jordan for a panty raid — just like they used to do in those moldy oldie days.”

    As it seemed like a really good idea at the time, the young students (together with other like-minded freshmen) staggered past Waterman Gym; between the Museum Annex and the Natural Science Museum; and down the slope. They crossed Forest Ave, and sprinted up the hill to Stockwell.

    “We want panties! We want panties!” the boys chanted.

    Within moments a girly red pair floated down from a window on the third floor. The knuckleheads continued on to Jordan with the same request: “We want panties! We want panties!” This time a lacy blue pair drifted down from one of the top windows. The particularly drunk Jim pulled the panties over his head and yelled through the leg hole, “On to Markley!”

    The women’s side of the dorm faced East Medical Center Drive. Again the freshmen made the same request for panties. Can you even begin to imagine their amazement when a young co-ed climbed up on the window sill and pulled the curtain closed behind her. Wearing only a single strand necklace and 4-inch pumps, she proceeded to strut naked across the sill. It was not the sleazy pole dance with which the boys from Dogbone were somewhat familiar, but rather as if she were performing on stage at the Power Center. Needless to say, the freshmen were completely shut down. The sexual revolution was alive and well in Ann Arbor.

    Why oh why oh why am I telling you this?

    That’s a good question, and as Father Obi often said, “It requires a good answer.” As I’m talking to an audience that wasn’t even born until the early ’90s, I need to explain how it was in the ’60s. The Vietnam war was in full swing. It was the first time people could see the horrors of war on the 6 o’clock news every evening. A college deferment was only temporary as the draft was still in place. Those who didn’t go to college, went to ‘Nam. After college, guys still went to ‘Nam (the draft lottery went into effect in 1970). The cultural revolution was certainly reflected in the music of the times. The group that embodied this unlike any other was the Beatles. From their three appearances on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in 1963, the mop-top Fab Four had become psychedelicized by the release of their “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album in the late ’60s. When then-Senator and presidential candidate, John F Kennedy, first mentioned the Peace Corps on the steps of the Michigan Union (October 14, 1960), he made an impassioned call to service to American youth. This was reflected in his January inaugural speech “…And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country.”

    Only seven years later, the rebellious spirit of the ever widening generation gap was reflected in the tagline of the movie “Cool Hand Luke” (released earlier in 1967): “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” In December of that year, “The Graduate” was also released. It had arguably the most famous one-word tag line in cinematic history: “Plastics!” It was so assimilated into the culture that by the mid ’70s when the United States government shot a commercial for the Peace Corps they quoted the famous line from the “Graduate,” paraphrasing, “You have plenty of time for your career in plastics. Take a year off and do something for your country.”

    After collaborating with sci-fi author Arthur C Clark, Stanley Kubrick directed the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The movie (released in the spring of 1968) was a box office hit with the hippies of the time. When the American astronauts first landed on the moon in 1969, Houston asked them what it looked like. They replied that it looked like “2001.”

    Expressing the frustration of the ever-growing generation gap, “Catch 22” (released in 1970) was soon to become the idiomatic expression for a no-win situation. The lyrical philosopher Bob Dylan was right on when he sang, “the times they are a-changing.”

    Fifteen months after the last panty raid at U-M, Tom was a full-fledged hippie. He later became a database administrator for the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System. Bob went on to become a biology professor at MSU. Lloyd married a veterinarian and now manages their clinic in New England. Ray works for new product development at Ford Motor Co. Jim graduated from U-M Dearborn, and since his retirement from the Glass House, he entertains at Greenfield Village.

    Waterman Gymnasium (site of the manual registration process) was torn down and replaced by the newest wing of the Chemistry Building in 1977. North University Building housed the IBM mainframe computers of the day, and was torn down about the time Palmer Commons was built. The pedestrian bridge that went past the Central Campus Recreation Building (CCRB) wasn’t finished until the fall of 1970. Additionally, if one traveled east on South University to Forest Ave. and turned north past the University Towers entrance, they would see a private drive, which, if extended, was once the original Forest Ave. and is now Washtenaw Ave. Originally designed to provide housing and dining for approximately 1,000 women, Markley Hall went co-ed in ’64.

    • Tom Bayer
    • BS 1971