UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN CELEBRATIONS
IN the course of its hundred years of existence in Ann Arbor, from 1837 to 1937, the University of Michigan held five important celebrations which served to symbolize its progress and emphasize its place in the field of American higher education. Three of these celebrations marked quarter-century periods, while another was the celebration of the first twenty-five years of President Angell's administration; a fifth was the inauguration of President Marion LeRoy Burton.
The first celebration, which occurred during the Commencement season in 1887, June 26 to 30, was the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the University. The program, planned by a committee of which President Angell was chairman, continued over the four days of the Commencement period and was concluded Page 204with a commemorative oration by President Angell on Commencement day. Some twenty-four representatives of the leading educational institutions of the country were present as official delegates.
Nine years later, on June 24, 1896, President Angell's twenty-five years of service at the University were celebrated. The exercises, which took place the day before the annual Commencement, were held in University Hall, and consisted of addresses, greetings from other institutions, a commemorative ode written by Professor Charles Mills Gayley, and music especially written for the occasion by Professor Albert A. Stanley. In the afternoon a dinner was served in Waterman Gymnasium. A large number of representatives of other institutions attended, and President Angell spoke, as well as Rowland Hazard of Rhode Island, a lifelong friend of the President's. Other speakers were former Regent George Willard, a member of the Board of Regents which called Angell to the University, Mrs. Madelon Stockwell Turner, the first woman to be admitted to the University, and President William Rainey Harper of the University of Chicago.
On Wednesday, June 26, 1912, a third celebration commemorated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the University. The whole Commencement season was comprised in the general exercises, though the actual program was held on Wednesday morning in a great tent set up in the center of the campus. University Hall was deemed inadequate for the numbers who desired to attend, and Hill Auditorium at that time was still uncompleted. The commemoration address was delivered by the Honorable Lawrence Maxwell ('74, A.M. hon. '93, LL.D. '04), of Cincinnati, formerly United States Solicitor General. Other speakers were Elmer Ellsworth Brown ('89), Chancellor of New York University, and President William O. Thompson of Ohio State University. The formal program was followed by a luncheon over which President Hutchins presided, and at which James B. Angell, President Emeritus, was the first speaker. He was followed by President Andrew D. White of Cornell University, who had been Professor of History in the University from 1857 to 1867, Charles F. Brush ('69e, Sc.D. hon. '12), of Cleveland, the inventor of the arc light, and Dr. Henry Sewall (Sc.D. hon. '12), who had been Professor of Physiology at the University from 1882 to 1889. Eighty-four official delegates, including fifteen college presidents, represented other universities, while congratulatory letters and telegrams were received from all the leading American and European universities.
Dr. Marion LeRoy Burton's inauguration as President of the University on Thursday and Friday, October 14-15, 1920, was made the occasion of a significant educational conference attended by representatives of most of the leading universities of the country. The exercises were opened at an inaugural session over which President Emeritus Harry B. Hutchins presided, and at which President Burton gave his inaugural address. This was followed by discussions of the function of the governing board, by William L. Abbott, Trustee of the University of Illinois, and the functions of the faculty, by Joseph A. Leighton of Ohio State University. A second session dealt with educational readjustments, with Roscoe Pound, Dean of the Law School of Harvard University, and Sir Robert Falconer, President of the University of Toronto, among the speakers. The next day university administrative problems were considered in a morning session at which President Lotus D. Coffman of the University of Minnesota, Dean Frederick J. Woodbridge of Columbia University, and Vernon L. Kellogg, Secretary of the National Research Council, were Page 205speakers. A consideration of constructive measures formed the general topic of the program in an afternoon session, with a banquet in the evening at which President A. Lawrence Lowell of Harvard University, President E. A. Birge of the University of Wisconsin, and President Harry A. Garfield of Williams College responded to toasts. The next morning, Saturday, October 16, a meeting of the regents of state universities was held to discuss such questions as salaries, student fees, and tuition.
The hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the University in Ann Arbor was held over a five-day period beginning June 14, 1937. All but one of the forty speakers on the program and all of the special guests were within the University's alumni lists, and no representatives of other institutions were invited; unlike the other celebrations, it was entirely a family party. The whole program consisted of eleven sessions, including luncheon and dinner discussions, upon the general topic, "A University Between Two Centuries." The two first sessions were devoted to a retrospective view of the University's history, while all the later sessions were occupied by a consideration of the place which higher education in general, and the University of Michigan in particular, might be expected to take in the coming century. It was the various aspects of this topic, as viewed by alumni who had represented the University effectively and constructively in public service, that formed the striking and noteworthy feature of the celebration.
The program was opened on Monday night, June 14, with a great community dinner held in the Intramural Field House, attended by more than fifteen hundred persons. The cordial relationship of the University and the community over the past one hundred years was emphasized in speeches and interludes of pageantry, in one of which the seven presidents of the University were most effectively impersonated (Litzenberg, pp. 581-89). The following morning, in the second session, the University's past and present were reviewed. Other sessions were devoted to various educational topics — the fine arts and higher education; higher education in the world of tomorrow; government, business, and foreign relations; and higher education for leadership. There was a series of round-table discussions on higher education and scientific progress, and panel discussions were held on the relationships between scientific and social progress, higher education and the professions, the University and educational progress, and the University and the enrichment of life, as well as on the topic, the alumni — Michigan's representatives.
Because the celebration was entirely a University of Michigan undertaking in which only the members of the faculty and the alumni participated, it attracted more than six thousand alumni to Ann Arbor for all or part of the five-day program, and reunions were held by ninety-five classes.
The program as a whole was in the charge of a committee composed of members of the faculty, alumni, and citizens of Ann Arbor, under the general chairmanship of Carl G. Brandt, then Assistant Professor of Speech. The chairmen of the various subcommittees formed a central committee which was responsible for the complete program.
Special commemorative volumes of all of these celebrations were issued by the University, giving the programs, the addresses in full, the organization of the committees, and the lists of invited guests.
In addition to these five important University occasions there have been many other significant commemorations during the University's century of existence. Page 206They have marked the laying of cornerstones, the dedication of important University buildings, the end of significant periods in departmental history, and, in some cases, have paid tribute to individual members of the University staff.
Perhaps the first important celebration of this type was the dedication of University Hall, October 8, 1873, when an audience of 3,400, the largest that had ever gathered at that time for a University occasion, listened to an address by President Andrew D. White, of Cornell, a former member of Michigan's faculty. On October 15, 1902, the cornerstone was laid for the new Medical Building on the campus (now the West Medical Building), and the Regents, the medical faculty, and a group of distinguished speakers participated in the program.
Alumni Memorial Hall, the first building contributed to the University by the alumni, was dedicated on May 11, 1910. Among the speakers were President James B. Angell and former Governor Curtis Guild, of Massachusetts, who gave the principal address. A feature of the opening of this building was an exhibition of Oriental and American art from the collections of the late Charles L. Freer, of Detroit. One of the most impressive of University celebrations was the great national dinner held in the Hotel Astor, New York, on February 4, 1911, which was attended by over six hundred alumni including a special trainload of University representatives and alumni from Detroit and Chicago. The dinner honored especially the many Michigan men in Congress and in important government posts. Included among the speakers were Justice William R. Day, of the Supreme Court, Senator George Sutherland, and Chase S. Osborn, former Regent and Governor of Michigan.
Special ceremonies also marked the opening of the new University Library on January 7, 1920, at which Mr. R. R. Bowker, of New York City, editor of the Library Journal, gave the principal address. Three years later the William L. Clements Library of American History was dedicated, on June 15, 1923, with addresses by the donor, the late William L. Clements, and the distinguished historian, John F. Jameson, Director of the Department of Research in the Carnegie Institution.
A three-day program for members of the medical profession signalized the opening of the University Hospital on November 19, 20, and 21, 1925. Among the distinguished speakers on the formal opening program were the late Dr. William J. Mayo, of the Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota, and Dr. Victor C. Vaughan, who had been for thirty years Dean of the Medical School. In the same year the completion of the first installment of the gift to the University of the late W. W. Cook, the Lawyers' Club and commons, was dedicated on June 13, when Dean Roscoe Pound, of the Harvard Law School, delivered the principal address. Nearly ten years later, on June 15, 1934, a similar occasion marked the completion of the whole Law Quadrangle, with Dean Pound again one of the principal speakers. Others on the program were Justice Harlan F. Stone, of the Supreme Court, Marvin B. Rosenberry, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the Honorable Newton D. Baker.
Appropriate ceremonies by the alumnae on May 4, 1929, accompanied the completion of the Michigan League Building. On December 4, 1936, the completion of the Burton Tower and the installation of the carillon given by Charles Baird, of Kansas City, were celebrated in special dedicatory exercises at which the donor of the carillon spoke, as well as a representative of the English bell founders.
Page 207Two occasions emphasized the progress of the building for the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. The cornerstone was laid with appropriate ceremonies on October 30, 1936, and the building was dedicated on June 17, 1938, at special exercises held in its large auditorium. At the dedication, addresses were delivered by Forest R. Moulton, Secretary of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and by Professor John S. P. Tatlock, of the University of California, formerly a member of the English faculty of the University of Michigan.
The completion of ten years of service on the part of President Alexander G. Ruthven was signalized by a great dinner held in the Intramural Building at Ferry Field, in which 2,500 students, faculty members, and townspeople participated. The program included a pageant presented by the students, emphasizing important elements of the University's program during the ten-year period, as well as speeches by Senator Arthur Vandenberg (read by Mrs. Vandenberg in his absence), Attorney General Frank Murphy, and a concluding address by President Ruthven himself. Appropriate ceremonies marked the dedication of the building for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Institute: Graduate and Postgraduate Dentistry, on April 3, 1940, at which the principal speaker was Dr. Emory W. Morris, of the Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek. A feature of the program was the unveiling of a memorial tablet at the south side of the building to the late Willoughby Dayton Miller ('75, Ph.D. hon. '85), a distinguished graduate who had received the appointment as Dean of the College of Dental Surgery just before his death in 1907.
The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts will celebrate the completion of its hundredth year of service to the youth of the state and the nation in the autumn of 1941.
Addresses Delivered at the Dedication of the Lawyers' Club of the University of Michigan, June 13, 1925. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1926.
"Celebration Plans Are Approved."Mich. Alum., 43 (1936): 65-66.
Dedicatory Exercises of the Law Quadrangle, the Gift of William Wilson Cook …, 1934. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich. Law School, 1935.
Educational Problems in College and University. Addresses Delivered at the Educational Conference … Ed. by John L. Brumm. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1921.
"Exercises on Commencement Day."Mich. Alum., 18 (1912): 481-93.
"The Inauguration of President Burton."Mich. Alum., 27 (1920): 85-123.
Isbell, Egbert R."The University of Michigan's 1937 Celebration."Mich. Alum. Quart. Rev., 44 (1937): 1-16.
Litzenberg, Karl. "The Presidents of the University — a Review of Seven Administrations."Mich. Alum. Quart. Rev., 43 (1937): 581-89.
"Many Gifts Honor Ruthven Achievements."Mich. Alum., 46 (1939): 125-26, 130.
A Memorial of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Founding of the University of Michigan … Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1915.
"Michigan Between Two Centuries."Univ. Mich. Bur. Alum. Rel., Gen. Bull. (Univ. Mich. Offic. Publ., 38, No. 75), No. 22 (1937).
"Michigan — Its Past and Its Future."Univ. Mich. Bur. Alum. Rel., Gen. Bull. (Univ. Mich. Offic. Publ., 39, No. 50), No. 24 (1938).
"1937 Celebration Is Now Happy History."Mich. Alum., 43 (1937): 465-71.
President's Report, Univ. Mich., 1873.
Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1886-1939.
Ruthven, Alexander G."A Decade of University History."Univ. Mich. Bur. Alum. Rel., Gen. Bull. (Univ. Mich. Offic. Publ., 41, No. 68), No. 31 (1940): 3-8.
A University Between Two Centuries: the Proceedings of the 1937 Celebration of the UniversityPage 208 of Michigan. Ed. by Wilfred B. Shaw. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich. Press, 1937.
University of Michigan. 1871-1896. The Quarter-centennial Celebration of the Presidency of James Burrill Angell, LL.D., June 24, 1896. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1896.
University of Michigan. 1837-1887. The Semicentennial Celebration … Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1888.
"University Plans to Celebrate Its Seventy-fifth Anniversary."Mich. Alum., 18 (1912): 182-83.
"The University's Seventy-fifth Anniversary."Mich. Alum., 18 (1912): 473-80.