University of Michigan
News for Faculty and Staff

October 17, 2018

Unicorn in the Garden

February 5, 2018

Unicorn in the Garden

Old school: U-M in History

Topic: History

Students would have undoubtedly been amused at this Michigan Daily vignette recounting the unicorn in the garden of the dean of the Law School. (Photo courtesy of The Michigan Daily)

On the morning of April 27, 1954, University of Michigan students reported numerous sightings of a unicorn in the central courtyard of the Law Quad. It was shortly before the Crease Ball, the law students' annual dance. Ted Swift, an audacious second-year student, was in charge of increasing attendance. Fortuitously, just as the movie "The Unicorn in the Garden" was playing in the Michigan Theater, many students, including a Michigan Daily reporter and photographer, saw the animal with a curious cone-shaped straw hat — though an investigation to find the perpetrator came up empty-handed. In response to the next day's Daily article, Swift, who never took credit for the prank, criticized the paper for glorifying a "misguided and juvenile law student." The dean of the Law School praised Swift for his mature judgment.

— Adapted from "When animals went to school" by James Tobin, Michigan Today