Fleming Building, RIP

Postcard of the Fleming Administration Building

No, it wasn’t designed as a fortress against student radicals. But it could have been, based on architect Alden Dow’s ‘Michigan Modern’ aesthetic. The administration’s homely headquarters has gained few admirers since opening in 1968; now it’s staring down the wrecking ball.

  1. Alumna’s Black-owned bookstore blends culture, community in Flint

    The Comma Bookstore & Social Hub, owned by Flint native and UM-Flint graduate Egypt Otis, is a rarity — fewer than 6 percent of U.S. bookstores are owned and operated by Black entrepreneurs.

  2. Judy and Fred Wilpon Family Foundation: $40 million to support first-generation students

    The new gift will support U-M’s Kessler Presidential Scholars Program, which has seen an increase in graduation rates, sense of belonging, and other success outcomes for first-generation college students.

  3. Wallenberg Fellowship celebrates a decade of ‘transformational experiences’ abroad

    From Kenya and India to South Africa and Peru, nine U-M graduating seniors — one each year since 2013 have had the opportunity to study abroad, immerse themselves in a new culture and go beyond a purely academic experience.

  4. $2M to replace fossil fuels with solar power in fertilizer production

    U-M researchers will study the effectiveness of a new ammonia production process aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Bringing the process directly to farmers could cut environmental costs by reducing transportation requirements.

  5. Schlissel will end U-M presidency in 2023

    President Mark Schlissel has announced he will end his service as president one year earlier than his previously announced appointment. The announcement will ‘support a smooth and thoughtful leadership transition for the University,’ he says.

  6. Energy from waste: Cow-inspired biodigesters

    A proposed energy-production system based, in part, on cow stomachs could generate 40 percent more power from municipal waste streams, at a 20 percent reduced cost — and provide a viable alternative to sending waste to landfills.

Spectrum Center: 50 and Fabulous

In 1971, U-M opened the first center for the lesbian and gay community on a college campus. With sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as its framework, the Spectrum Center staff strives for an inclusive campus community where social justice inspires engagement and equity. (All photos courtesy of the Spectrum Center.)

  • Love does win

    On Sept. 25, The Michigan Marching Band marked the 50th anniversary of the Spectrum Center’s founding with an uplifting halftime program during the Rutgers game. They opened the show with Diana Ross’ 1980 disco classic, “I’m Coming Out.”

    Marching band forms the words Love Wins
  • Pride outside

    Contemporary students are able to celebrate “Pride Outside” because of Spectrum Center founder Jim Toy. In 1972, Toy co-authored the “Lesbian-Gay Pride Week Proclamation,” making the Ann Arbor City Council the first governing body of its kind in the nation to officially recognize Gay Pride.

    Students sit on the lawn to hear speakers at Gay Pride
  • Banner Day

    Initially, on March 17, 1970, following the creation of the Detroit Gay Liberation Movement a few weeks earlier, both students and members of the larger community came together to initiate the U-M chapter of the Gay Liberation Front. This image was typical of the time, as LGBTQ+ students found their collective voice on campus.

    Students in 1987 with Gay Pride banner
  • Safe space

    Pictured here is former Spectrum Center director Ronnie Sanlo (far right) with three students. “I discovered early on that students needed somebody to listen to them without judgment,” Sanlo says. “I wanted them to know they always had a safe place and a safe person with whom they could talk.” Early staffers were called human sexuality advocates. This achievement was monumental, in that it was officially the first staff office for queer students in an institution of higher learning in the United States.

    Spectrum crew with Rainbow flag
  • Sign language

    By early 1973, the office had formed its first speakers bureau, which consisted of gay male and lesbian students and members from the community. They worked with other student groups to educate U-M students concerning gay and lesbian issues. These students did their part and let their signs do the talking.


    Students with signs about being gay
  • Ribbon cutting

    Spectrum Center founder Jim Toy and Ryan Bradley cut the ribbon at the Jim Toy Library. The JTL holds more than 1,500 titles, including books, videos, and magazines. Books are organized by genres such as “Coming out,” “LGBTQ History,” and “Transgender.”

    Jim Toy at ribbon cutting of Spectrum Center
  • Lavender graduation

    The annual Lavender Graduation, also referred to as LavGrad, is a celebration to honor LGBTQ+ graduates. Established by Ronni Sanlo in 1995, U-M’s LavGrad was the first commemorative event of its kind celebrated at an institution of higher learning.

    LGBTQ+ student enjoys Lavendar Graduation
  • Oral histories

    The Spectrum Center launched the University of Michigan LGBTQ+ Oral History Project in fall 2021. Jess Jackson, MBA/M.ED, a multimedia designer, community architect, educator, and healing practitioner, contributed her story to the project. Through the oral histories, creators hope to establish a queer sense of intergenerational connection, while elevating LGBTQ+ voices and experiences. 

    Spectrum Oral History Project graphic element
  • Activism at its best

    U-M student activists Xochi Sánchez, Parker Kehrig, and Lio Riley attended the MBLGTACC annual conference in Madison Wisconsin in October to promote the University of Michigan LGBTQ+ Oral History Project. With Spectrum Center as their home base, these youthful activists continue the important work begun by Jim Toy and his early collaborators.
    Activism at its best