Old School

  1. March 26, 2018

    Homecoming queen controversy

    In 1967, a black U-M student, Opal Bailey, was named homecoming queen in the second year of a relatively new tradition at the university. But the honor was tinged with racial controversy — both that year and the next.

  2. March 19, 2018

    Book burning

     In the spring of 1973, local activists calling themselves Advocates for Medical Information charged that “Obstetrics and Gynecology,” a textbook written by the chair of obstetrics and gynecology, J. Robert Willson, was sexist and should be burned.

  3. March 12, 2018

    Elizabeth Crosby

    One of the early pioneers of anatomy and neuroscience, Elizabeth C. Crosby, was the first female faculty member to receive the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award and the university’s highest honor given to senior faculty, the Henry Russel Lecturer.

  4. March 5, 2018

    Aunt Ruth

    During World War II, Ruth Buchanan, a receptionist at the Exhibit Museum, had an unofficial second job: writing to U-M students, faculty, staff and alumni serving in the war.

  5. March 2, 2018

    Flying saucers?

    On March 20, 1966, Dexter Township resident Frank Mannor claimed to have investigated a UFO that landed in a swamp near his house. Over the next few weeks, police received hundreds of accounts of mysterious lights. One possible explanation offered by a U-M professor was swamp gas.

  6. February 12, 2018

    Negro-Caucasian Club

    Formed in 1925, the Negro-Caucasian Club was inspired after a pair of friends, one black and one white, were deliberately given dirty dishes instead of service at a local restaurant.

  7. February 5, 2018

    Unicorn in the Garden

    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.

  8. January 29, 2018

    Cap Night

    In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, an early June ritual known as Cap Night saw U-M freshmen toss their distinctive gray caps, worn throughout the year under threat of hazing, into a bonfire in the area then known as Sleepy Hollow.

  9. January 22, 2018

    Called by the bell

    Beginning in the 1840s, a bell was used to rouse students for class and chapel, a ritual they despised. There were various student efforts to silence the bell and its successor. Eventually, a peal of five bells played from a tower in the newly designed library, and later the Baird Carillon became a fixture in Burton Memorial Tower.

  10. January 15, 2018

    Michigan hockey’s heritage

    When Canadian World War I veteran Joseph Barss came to U-M to study medicine, he sought out athletic director Fielding Yost and pitched the idea of a varsity hockey team. Yost agreed, with a caveat — that Barss serve as the program’s first coach.