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. Shade coffee benefits more than birds

    Here’s one more reason to say “shade grown, please” when you order your morning cup of coffee. Shade coffee farms, which grow coffee under a canopy of multiple tree species, not only harbor native birds, bats and other beneficial creatures, but also maintain genetic diversity of native tree species and can act as focal points for tropical forest regeneration.

  2. Male and female shopping strategies show evolution at work in the mall

    Male and female shopping styles are in our genes—and we can look to evolution for the reason. Daniel Kruger, research faculty at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, says it’s perfectly natural that men often can’t distinguish a sage sock from a beige sock or that sometimes women can’t tell if the shoe Read more

  3. J-Hop

    For almost 80 years, until 1960, J-Hop highlighted the U-M social calendar. The dance gathered the entire student body — and some controversy, like when the 1913 event included the Tango.

  4. The late, great 98

    Tom Harmon may have been the best college football player ever. His single-handed destruction of Ohio State is the stuff of gridiron legend. But his exploits as a pilot during World War Two made him a hero not just in a game, but in life.

  5. Exactly how much housework does a husband create?

    Having a husband creates an extra seven hours a week of housework for women, according to a U-M study of a nationally representative sample of U.S. families. For men, the picture is very different: A wife saves men from about an hour of housework a week.

  6. Sensors for bat-inspired spy plane under development

    A six-inch robotic spy plane modeled after a bat would gather data from sights, sounds and smells in urban combat zones and transmit information back to a soldier in real time. That’s the Army’s concept, and it has awarded the University of Michigan College of Engineering a five-year, $10-million grant to help make it happen.

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