Heritage/Tradition

  1. Keep the light alive: The glimmer of cautious optimism

    To memorialize students who died in service during World War II, U-M officials sought input from such global luminaries as Winston Churchill and Orson Welles. But in the end, a new generation of students created a different kind of tribute — one that could ‘actually do something.’

  2. It was a wonderful life

    After a dazzling turn with Jimmy Stewart in what would become an iconic holiday classic, Virginia Patton stepped out of the Hollywood spotlight. She traded the film industry for an illustrious life in Ann Arbor.

  3. Coming home: A Vietnam Veteran in the Law School

    With a West Point diploma and two Purple Hearts, Tom Carhart, JD ’72, arrived on the Law Quad at the height of the anti-Vietnam War movement. At first, Carhart was appalled by the student protests. Soon, he joined in.

  4. ‘A truly noble woman’

    Elizabeth Farrand — historian, university librarian, and physician — was among U-M’s most accomplished graduates of the 1800s, despite the unpleasant and ‘trifling matter’ of being considered eccentric by her male counterparts.

  5. The star who skipped every class

    Just after the 1909 football season, ‘The New York Times’ broke news of a scandal in Ann Arbor: Wolverine James Joy Miller, Fielding Yost’s star halfback and captain-elect, had neglected to enroll at Michigan. ‘The whole university is sick about the business,’ the paper reported.

  6. Talent to spare, even in a writing class with Arthur Miller

    Future literary icon Arthur Miller outperformed him in class. Playwright/author Sinclair Lewis trashed his Hopwood entry. But when an observant professor championed Edmund Love’s tenacity and native talent, the 1936 graduate wrote his way to a thriving career.

  7. Invitation to a Nazi

    In 1964, U-M students invited George Lincoln Rockwell, self-declared ‘commander’ of the American Nazi Party, to speak at Hill Auditorium, setting off a heated campus contest over the limits of free speech.

  8. The action was affirmative

    Roger Wilkins, BA ’53/JD ’56/HLHD ’93, was a civil rights activist, professor, journalist, and member of the LBJ administration. But as a U-M student, this future leader’s grades were unimpressive, so he asked why he’d been admitted to the Law School. The answer surprised him.

  9. Crowdsourcing a time machine

    U-M’s Clements Library holds some 60,000 picture postcards dating to the late-19th/early-20th centuries. Vintage photos and scrawled notes open a fascinating window into Michigan’s past. Help make this historic trove digitally searchable.