A family’s quest for a hero’s ‘war chest’

A couple dressed in Michigan gear sits at a table strewn with World War II artifacts discovered in a relative's war chest. There are photos, documents, packets of telegrams, medals, and more.

From undisclosed honors to covert operations, the valiant military exploits of Colonel Kenneth Kreps were veiled in secrecy until a fateful discovery by his descendants. Witness the unveiling of a World War II hero’s saga as his family unpacks a long-lost treasure trove of historic memorabilia.

  1. Michigan's URC rises in rankings: R&D, high tech climbs

    U-M, Michigan State, and Wayne State Universities continue to climb in the rankings of national research clusters. Producing an average of 20 new companies a year, the URC schools also awarded the third largest number of high tech degrees in the country and made a $1.4 billion impact on the Michigan economy.

  2. Shifts in consumer spending and saving will usher in a new economic era

    “In the coming years, U.S. consumers will save more and spend less,” said U-M economist Richard Curtin. “The recovery will be slow and uneven, and it could take a decade or more for consumers to restore their sense of financial security to pre-recession levels.”

    Related: Older Americans: How they are faring in the recession?

  3. The Big House after hours

    Tons of trash, visitors from all over the earth and the 50-Yard-Line Club keep it hopping. Plus: football update and stadium photos.

  4. An American Girl

    A tough heroine in 1870s Ann Arbor was the star of a novel about U-M’s early days.

  5. Semester in Detroit

    It’s no ivory tower. When students enroll in the Semester in Detroit, they live, study and work in the city. They build relationships with tough, creative colleagues. And they literally get their hands dirty.

    Related: Semester in Detroit website

  6. Living together: The best way to divorce-proof a marriage?

    Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing’s certain: young people who do live together think it’s the best way to head off divorce later.

Commemorating an exceptional presidency

Fifty years ago, at a time of great division and turbulence in the U.S., Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States. President Ford’s legacy is very much alive at the Ford School of Public Policy. This slideshow is inspired by the school’s recent tribute, “A life of public service,” in the Spring 2024 issue of State & Hill magazine. As noted by the editors, the values that distinguished Ford remain highly relevant to policy students today: his lifelong commitment to principled public service, his integrity, and his ability to connect across differences to forge consensus.

  • For the love of the game

    Long before he became a politician, Gerald Ford, born Leslie Lynch King, was an avid sports fan. He played on the Grand Rapids South High School football, basketball, and track teams before playing college football for the University of Michigan. During his senior season, Ford was a starting center and team MVP. (Image courtesy of U-M’s Bentley Historical Library, Michigan Athletics.)

    Gerald Ford as a U-M football player crouches with hands on knees.
  • The team, the team, the team

    As a Michigan Wolverine, Ford developed a strong relationship with fellow teammate, Willis Ward (No. 61). As one of the few students of color at the time, Ward experienced no small amount of racial prejudice. Read about the bond shared by Ford and Willis in “Lonely as Hell” at heritage.umich.edu. (Image courtesy of U-M’s Bentley Historical Library, Rentschler’s Studio Photograph Collection.)

    Members of the 1934 Wolverines football team, featuring future president Gerald Ford and black teammate Willis Ward.
  • Retiring No. 48

    After earning his law degree and getting elected to Congress in 1948, Ford went on to serve for 25 years in the House of Representatives, earning the respect and admiration of his colleagues. His jersey No. 48 was retired in 1994 (here) and then re-retired at Michigan’s rivalry matchup against Ohio State in 2015. (Image courtesy of U-M’s Bentley Historical Library, Robert Kalmbach Collection.)

    Gerald R. Ford family at Michigan Stadium as the University retires his jersey, No. 48.
  • Trust and fellowship

    Despite winning the Republican nomination for president in 1976, Ford lost the election to Democrat and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. Prioritizing a smooth transition of power, the pair developed a close working relationship, so much so that President Carter delivered President Ford’s eulogy on Jan. 3, 2007. In his inaugural address Carter stated, “For myself and for our nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.” (Image courtesy of U-M’s Bentley Historical Library.)

    Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford share a stage; Ford at the podium as Carter, seated, looks on.
  • Leaders and best

    At Crisler Arena in fall 1976, legendary Wolverines announcer Bob Ufer presented Ford with a No. 1 Michigan sweater to mark his presidential campaign against Jimmy Carter. Ford lost narrowly to the Democrat. (Image courtesy of U-M’s Bentley Historical Library, Robert Kalmbach Collection.)

    Gerald Ford and Bob Ufer. at Crisler Arena.
  • Michigan man

    Ford attended Yale Law School, served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and was elected for 13 terms in the House of Representatives before ascending to the Oval Office. However, he made it clear that he never forgot his time at U-M. Harboring a special connection with its football program, he returned numerous times to give advice based on his life experiences both on and off the field. (Image courtesy of U-M’s Bentley Historical Library, Michigan Athletics.)

    A newspaper image of President Gerald Ford interacting with Michigan football players. Headline reads "President Mingles with Wolverines."
  • From president to professor

    Upon the completion of his term as U.S. president, Ford returned to U-M as an adjunct professor of political science, lecturing in Angell Hall, Rackham Auditorium, and Lane Hall. This shot comes from 1977. (Image courtesy of U-M’s Bentley Historical Library.)

    President Gerald Ford stands in front of a chalkboard in 1977, lecturing to a U-M class.
  • The man behind the merit

    Throughout his life, the Grand Rapids native was known not only as a gifted political, intellectual, and athletic personality, but as an honest, open, comic, and devoted friend and family man. He lived his life according to the motto instilled in him from childhood: “love of God, love of family, love of country.’’ (Image courtesy of U-M’s Bentley Historical Library.)

    Gerald Ford amid a crowd of U-M students.