U-M Heritage

  1. January 31, 2022 Frustrated by the lack of action taken by a books and research equipment committee in 1838, Regent Zina Pitcher acted on his own. The university needed a library, and the library needed a book. Pitcher bought John James Audubon's "The Birds of America" for $970, a steep price at the time but a huge bargain in hindsight.

    Birds in the library

    Frustrated by the lack of action taken by a books and research equipment committee in 1838, Regent Zina Pitcher acted on his own. The university needed a library, and the library needed a book. Pitcher bought John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America” for $970, a steep price at the time but a bargain in hindsight.

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  2. January 24, 2022 In the fall term of 1845, just four years after classes had begun at the University of Michigan, a junior named George Becker and several friends joined together to create U-M’s first fraternity, a chapter of Beta Theta Pi. As they all knew, they were breaking Rule 20 of the university’s code of student conduct.

    Fraternity war

    In the fall term of 1845, just four years after classes had begun at the University of Michigan, a junior named George Becker and several friends joined together to create U-M’s first fraternity, a chapter of Beta Theta Pi. As they all knew, they were breaking Rule 20 of the university’s code of student conduct.

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  3. January 17, 2022 Through the years, the darting, chattering, pandering squirrels have been a happy diversion for students, staff and faculty. U-M squirrels have been romanticized, serenaded, protected and parodied. They have their own campus club, which is more than any dog or cat can claim. They are simply part of the U-M experience.

    Just nuts

    Through the years, the darting, chattering, pandering squirrels have been a happy diversion for students, staff and faculty. U-M squirrels have been romanticized, serenaded, protected and parodied. They have their own campus club, which is more than any dog or cat can claim. They are simply part of the U-M experience.

    Read a summary of this story
  4. January 10, 2022 For more than 100 years, Hill Auditorium has been U-M's most prestigious venue for rhetoric and debate. Speaker after speaker has gripped, pounded, caressed and leaned upon an oak lectern given by the Class of 1913. The Albert Kahn-designed lectern cost $250, but as silent witness to the ideas and arguments that are the stuff of a university, the lectern has been priceless.

    The 1913 Lectern

    For more than 100 years, Hill Auditorium has been U-M’s most prestigious venue for rhetoric and debate. Speaker after speaker has gripped, pounded, caressed and leaned upon an oak lectern given by the Class of 1913. The Albert Kahn-designed lectern cost $250, but as silent witness to the ideas and arguments that are the stuff of a university, the lectern has been priceless.

    Read a summary of this story
  5. December 6, 2021 In the days following the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, U-M students — both male and female — had decisions to make regarding their response to the United States entering World War II. Their options were to serve in the armed forces or remain in school to continue their education before being called into service.

    The campus at war

    In the days following the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, U-M students — both male and female — had decisions to make regarding their response to the United States entering World War II. Their options were to serve in the armed forces or remain in school to continue their education before being called into service.

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  6. November 22, 2021 Marina Oswald was left a 22-year-old widow with two young children when her husband, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed after being accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy. Unable to speak much English but desiring to stay in the United States, Oswald was invited to study at U-M’s English Language Institute.

    The assassin’s widow

    Marina Oswald was left a 22-year-old widow with two young children when her husband, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed after being accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy. Unable to speak much English but desiring to stay in the United States, Oswald was invited to study at U-M’s English Language Institute.

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  7. November 15, 2021 In the middle of the 20th century, the architectural crown of U-M's campus was the Law Quadrangle, and the jewel in that crown was the Law Library. A new addition was needed to handle the books, and architect Gunnar Birkerts figured the only way to add space and not interfere with the building's beauty was to go down.

    The law school goes under

    In the middle of the 20th century, the architectural crown of U-M’s campus was the Law Quadrangle, and the jewel in that crown was the Law Library. A new addition was needed to handle the books, and architect Gunnar Birkerts figured the only way to add space and not interfere with the building’s beauty was to go down.

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  8. November 8, 2021 By the thousands and with clockwork precision, Ruth Buchanan wrote to U-M students, faculty, staff and alumni serving in World War II. Whether they were stationed stateside, recuperating in hospitals, or seeing action in Europe and the Pacific, students could expect to hear news about Ann Arbor from Buchanan.

    Dear Aunt Ruth

    By the thousands and with clockwork precision, Ruth Buchanan wrote to U-M students, faculty, staff and alumni serving in World War II. Wherever they were stationed, servicemen and women with ties to U-M could expect news about Ann Arbor from “Aunt Ruth.”

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  9. November 1, 2021 Robert Axelrod, today a professor emeritus in the Ford School of Public Policy and the Department of Political Science, encountered the Prisoner’s Dilemma as a young man in the 1960s. It is the most famous puzzle in the scientific field called game theory, the mathematical analysis of strategic interactions between rivals.

    The Prisoner’s Dilemma

    Robert Axelrod, today a professor emeritus in the Ford School of Public Policy and the Department of Political Science, encountered the Prisoner’s Dilemma as a young man in the 1960s. It is the most famous puzzle in the scientific field called game theory, the mathematical analysis of strategic interactions between rivals.

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  10. October 25, 2021 Already flourishing with students, professors and facilities, U-M was also determined to be the state's agricultural school. It was a headiness that would fuel heated rhetoric and an animated rivalry that continues today between U-M and the school that prevailed as the agricultural school, Michigan State University.

    Seeds of discontent

    Already flourishing with students, professors and facilities, U-M was also determined to be the state’s agricultural school. It was a headiness that would fuel heated rhetoric and an animated rivalry that continues today between U-M and the school that prevailed as the agricultural school, Michigan State University.

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