The year in pictures
As the year draws to a close, Michigan Today revisits some of the most memorable stories of 2014.
The University’s 14th president Mark S. Schlissel stopped to snap some selfies en route to his inauguration Sept. 5. The biomedical researcher came to Michigan in July 2014 from Brown University where he had been provost since 2011. Before that he was dean of biological sciences in the College of Letters & Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also held the C.H. Li Chair in Biochemistry. (Photo: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography.) Read more.
They see dead people
Researchers at the U-M Medical School Visible Human Project and the 3-D Lab at U-M’s Digital Media Commons unveiled groundbreaking technology this year that allows students to dissect a virtual-reality cadaver. As a result, students and residents can back up and redo cuts, and also enlarge areas to see them more closely. “The first time I saw the technology I almost cried,” says Alexandre DaSilva, assistant professor at the School of Dentistry. He heads the Headache and Orofacial Pain Effort at U-M Dentistry and the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute. “In my wildest dream, I never thought this would be possible.” (Photo: Laura Baily, Michigan News.) See video.
The infamous polar vortex
Winter 2014 froze Ann Arbor in its tracks as the decidedly evil polar vortex dropped record-breaking snowfall on our fair city. In fact, the historically low temperatures and brutal wind chill forced the University to close its doors to students for the first time in 30-plus years. In October 2014 the administration announced an updated policy on emergency reduction in operations, specific to severe weather. Here’s hoping we never have to use it. (Photo: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography.) Read more.
Finding a voice
In early 2014 members of the African American student community launched a campaign titled “Being Black at Michigan,” with the Twitter hashtag #BBUM. Their initial goal was to create an umbrella under which black U-M students could unite, but soon students across the nation picked up where U-M left off, sparking a national dialogue about the meaning of diversity on American college campuses. As part of the campaign, student leaders submitted a list of seven demands to the University administration, including one to “increase black representation on this campus equal to 10 percent.” Black student enrollment in fall 2013 was about 4.65 percent. (Photo: Adam Glanzman.) Read more.
Gold and blue
University of Michigan students Meryl Davis and Charlie White became the first American ice-dancing pair to capture Olympic gold at the Sochi, Russia, games in 2014. It was just the latest in a collection of career prizes too long and impressive to mention here. Their luck seems to have rubbed off on their fellow U-M Olympians at Sochi: All three American teams, featuring five U-M students, finished among the top 10, with U-M alumnus Evan Bates and his partner, Madison Chock, placing eighth, and students/siblings Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani (pictured here with Davis and White) finishing ninth. Read more.
Almost had it all…
Men’s basketball peaked in March 2014 with the Wolverines’ second consecutive trip to the NCAA Elite Eight, even without an injured Mitch McGary, seen here cheering on his team. Big Ten Player of the Year Nik Stauskas helped the Wolverines win their first Big Ten title in 28 years. McGary, Stauskas, and Glenn Robinson III all opted for early entry to the NBA at the end of the season. In other sports highlights, the Men’s Gymnastics team captured its sixth NCAA title, becoming the first U-M program to win back-to-back national championships in 44 years. In addition, the Michigan Men’s Swimming and Diving team won its 19th national championship in 2014. (Photo: Carlise Stockton.) See mgoblue.com for more Michigan sports.
Goodbye, good luck, and go blue!
President Mary Sue Coleman bid adieu to U-M students at spring 2014 Commencement, concluding her 12-year tenure as Michigan’s 13th president. Under her leadership the University expanded the institution’s commitment to academic collaborations and to economic development. She guided U-M successfully through difficult economic times, the purchase of the former Pfizer property that is now the North Campus Research Complex, and the hosting of visits by Presidents Obama and Clinton – among many other things. (Photo: Austin Thomason, Michigan Photography.) Read more.
Play it again, Marilyn
This year saw the retirement of U-M’s longest-serving faculty member in history. Marilyn Mason was professor of organ, University organist, and former chair of the Department of Organ at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Also a U-M alumna, earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at U-M, Mason joined the faculty while still a student in 1947. Except for a summer spent studying organ with renowned international artists Maurice Duruflé and Nadia Boulanger in France, and time studying for the doctor of sacred music degree at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, Mason spent her entire teaching career at U-M. (Photo courtesy of SMTD.) Read more.
After a series of setbacks including a motor problem that sidelined their vehicle in the first 10 minutes of an eight-day race, U-M’s national champion Solar Car Team won the American Solar Challenge, earning its fifth consecutive first place in the 1,700-mile contest. Michigan raced against 22 other teams of college students that built their own solar-powered electric vehicles. The U-M team is made up of more than 100 students from across campus. Major sponsors include Ford, General Motors, IMRA, Michigan Engineering, NYK, Qatar Airways, and Siemens PLM Software. (Photo courtesy of U-M Solar Car Team.) Read more.
View from the top
Construction across the U-M campus continues at an aggressive pace. This overhead shot shows the nearly complete Munger Graduate Residence between Thompson, Madison, and Division streets (where Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger once stood). When complete the residence will house 96 apartments, containing 632 bedrooms. This aerial image also covers West Quad and South Quad. When the University completes its Residential Life Initiatives program in 2016, it will have spent nearly $900 million over 10 years to renovate and rejuvenate student housing facilities on campus. And oh yes, Blimpy’s has relocated to Ashley Street, next to the Fleetwood Diner. (Photo: Austin Thomason, Michigan Photography.)
A blooming surprise
A poignant scene drew to a close at U-M’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum earlier this year as an 80-year-old American agave bloomed for the first — and last — time in its majestic life. The American agave usually blooms in nature at 10 to 25 years of age, but this Ann Arbor transplant took its sweet time. In spring, the plant surprised everyone (and generated a ton of media) by suddenly sporting a flower stalk that started growing nearly six inches per day. Crews actually had to remove a pane of glass at the top of the conservatory ceiling that would allow the stalk to continue its upward climb. (Photo: Michelle Yanga.) See video.
Hackers hacking at MHacks
U-M hosted more than 1,000 student hackers from across the country in September for MHacks IV, a leading student-run hackathon that has helped to spawn what one might consider a new sport for tech-minded college students nationwide. Hackathons — creative extravaganzas that require participants to team up, envision, and then build a website, app, or device in roughly 36 hours — are springing up at universities all over the U.S. Experts credit MHacks for fueling the movement, which continues to gain momentum. (Photo: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing.) Read more.
Detroit’s emergency manager
Kevyn Orr, JD ’83, took on the challenging role of Detroit’s emergency manager in March 2013. Orr, a partner in the law and restructuring Jones Day firm, represented Chrysler LLC during its bankruptcy proceedings in 2009. Here he visits with U-M students attending the Ford School event “The Future of Detroit Urban Governance.” Orr took Detroit into bankruptcy in July 2013, and helped it emerge in November 2014. “Detroit will be a success story. Believe it,” he says. (Photo: Austin Thomason, Michigan Photography.) Read a profile in the spring 2014 issue of Law Quadrangle, the alumni publication of Michigan’s Law School.
She faithfully served us all
It was with tremendous pride and a little sadness that a small crowd gathered July 11 to watch the American flag lowered for the last time near the entrance of North Hall. This workhorse of a building was known to recent generations as the headquarters of uniformed student-cadets in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). The University will replace it with a new Biological Science Building, which will join the buildings of the Life Sciences complex just to the north. The officer training programs have moved temporarily to the neighboring Willard Dow Chemistry Building and the Ruthven Museums Building, awaiting permanent quarters. (Photo: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography.) Read more.
Student dismay regarding poor performance by its 2014 football team, coupled with unbridled disdain generated by ticket prices and other polices set by Athletic Director David Brandon, reached a climax in fall 2014. In this photo from The Michigan Daily, students march on President Mark Schlissel’s residence calling for Brandon’s dismissal. President Schlissel announced Brandon’s resignation Oct. 31, appointing former Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett interim AD. Hackett, a 1977 alumnus of the University, played football for Coach Bo Schembechler. Read more.
Baby, you can drive my car
This is an artist’s rendering of the new testing environment for connected and automated vehicles at U-M’s North Campus Research Complex.
The site will simulate a dynamic urban environment. It is a critical element of a joint project with industry and government to develop and implement an advanced system for moving people and freight on the streets of southeast Michigan by 2021. (Image courtesy of the U-M Office of Research.) Read more.
When University of Michigan officials began planning for a large new building at the Ross School of Business, they realized they would need to relocate an approximately 200-year old bur oak tree. In October, crews helped the tree make its journey from near the Computer and Executive Education Building at Ross to its eventual new location facing Tappan Street at the front of the business school. (Photo: Austin Thomason, Michigan Photography.) See a video that chronicles the complexity of the move.
The year 2014 saw a strengthening of U-M’s ongoing ties to Detroit with countless projects across schools and colleges. One intriguing project is Archolab-Afterhouse. The goal is to repurpose a burned-out house as a semi-subterranean, passive geothermal greenhouse that will serve a neighborhood just north of Hamtramck. Steven Mankouche, associate professor of architecture in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, is leading the project with his partner, Abigail Murray. “We see Afterhouse as a provocative/proactive response to blight and community grown food,” Mankouche says. (Photo: Ali Lapetina.) Read more.
In January, Michigan’s biggest global partnership won the Andrew Heiskell Award — one of the highest honors in international higher education. The award went to the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute in the category for best practices in international partnerships. It was presented by the Institute of International Education, a New York-based private nonprofit organization. Founded in 2006, the Joint Institute is located on the campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of China’s leading universities. Read more about U-M’s global outreach.