The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
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On the day when the first class was graduated from the University of Michigan, August 6, 1845, the newly created alumni body numbered exactly eleven. The smallness of this number, however, did not prevent the formation of an organization. Immediately after the Commencement exercises, at a meeting of the graduates of the different "collegiate institutions" in Ann Arbor, a Society of the Alumni was formed and an executive committee of seven was appointed to prepare a plan of organization and to "procure an orator and poet" for the next annual meeting. The following membership provision was adopted:

The graduates of all other colleges resident in the State desirous of becoming members of this society are requested to send in their names to any member of the executive committee with the name of the institution at which they were graduated and the degree and date of graduation.

It is of interest to note that of the executive committee thus authorized two were members of the University's class of 1845 — P. W. H. Rawls, of Kalamazoo, and Edmund Fish, of Bloomfield. The other members were the Reverend Dr. Duffield (Pennsylvania '11), J. M. Howard (Williams College), George V. N. Lathrop (Brown), George E. Hand (Yale), and Professor Andrew Ten Brook (Madison [Hamilton] '39).

Few records are available of the activities of this early organization, though we have an account of the second meeting in 1846, in which a poem on "New England," by William Pitt Palmer, was characterized as a "very handsome production." In 1848 Professor J. Holmes Agnew, President of the Faculty for that year, announced that the degree of master of arts would not be conferred on the graduates of 1845, in accordance with custom in colleges of that period, but would be postponed until the annual Commencement of 1849. The next year Merchant H. Goodrich, of Ann Arbor, and Winfield Smith, of Monroe, were given the degree. This practice was continued until 1882.

In 1853 the alumni met in the Presbyterian Church on the afternoon of Commencement Day, elected officers, and chose an orator for the following Commencement — the invariable agenda for those early meetings. A further action was taken, however, in the passage of the following resolutions, setting forth the objects of the organization:

Resolved, That as Alumni of the University of Michigan, feeling a solicitude for its success, and for the promotion and development of the educational interests of this State, — knowing that to those who have passed the portals of our University, it has a right to look for some effort for its welfare, — and, being satisfied that by this organization alone, can any united action be attained, we earnestly call the attention of our fellow graduates to its objects, and commend it to a more hearty support.

Resolved, That to its annual meeting and exercises we must, in a great measure, look for the promotion of friendly feeling among our graduates, and for a continuance of interest in the commencement exercises of our university.

Resolved, That the Executive Committee be instructed to consult with the Faculty of the University, and to make such arrangements for the social and literary exercises of our next meeting as will induce a more full attendance and general interest.

Resolved, That the Secretary be instructed to procure the publication of the minutes of this meeting in Detroit and Ann Arbor papers.

Since all the officers elected at this meeting Page  362were graduates of the University it may be supposed that the alumni of other institutions had either been dropped from the list or had assumed the role of honorary members.

The active interest of the alumni in the administration of the University was shown in what was evidently a heated discussion of a second series of resolutions eventually adopted at the meeting in 1854, reflecting current dissension within the faculty. The attitude of the alumni is reflected in the second section:

[Resolved], That we have the utmost confidence in the integrity and ability of its Professors (both as men and as instructors), and are sanguine in the hope, that under their auspices, it will attain and preserve a high standard of educational excellence and fulfill the warmest expectations of its founders and the people of the State.

In the program of toasts, "drank in ice-cool lemonade," President Tappan responded to the toast, "The Government of the University," which "elicited much applause," for, although "he was severe upon some of the factious opposers of the University," "his severity was considered well timed."

Other meetings in the ensuing years evidenced an active interest on the part of the alumni in the progress of the University and in its problems. At first, meetings were held in the different churches and in the Union School Building; later, in the law lecture-room and in the University chapel. The dinners were held either at the old Franklin Hotel or at Hangsterfer's Hall. Officers and speakers were elected with regularity, but there is little evidence in the earliest years of any participation of alumni, except as critics, in the affairs of the institution. It is to be noted that the conventional master of arts degrees were often, if not always, conferred upon the alumni at the alumni meeting. The first master of science degree "upon examination" was conferred upon Professor DeVolson Wood at the alumni meeting in 1859, when James Craig Watson, later Professor of Astronomy, received the degree of master of arts. These were the first regular graduate degrees conferred by the University (see Part VI: Graduate School).

It is probably true that the alumni organization "was not taken very seriously" in these early years. Not until a movement for its reorganization was instituted at a meeting in the old Union School Building at Ann Arbor did the society seek to participate more actively in University affairs. At this meeting Merchant H. Goodrich, of the first graduating class, presided. A new constitution adopted on June 26, 1860, set forth the aims of the society in the following terms: "Improvement of its members, the perpetuation of pleasant associations, the promotion of the interests of the University and through that of the interests of higher education in general."

A year later a committee reported on efforts to raise a permanent fund and to have the society incorporated. Evidently little progress was made, undoubtedly because of the war, for no business was transacted at the annual meetings of 1862 and 1863, and practically all the officers were absent. In 1864, however, the movement which eventually resulted in the erection of Alumni Memorial Hall was begun through the approval of a plan for a memorial chapel, although the effort at first proved unsuccessful and was not revived for nearly forty years.

The dismissal of President Tappan just before Commencement in 1863 brought a storm of disapproval from the alumni which was reflected in resolutions adopted at a special meeting of the alumni and students in Ann Arbor on July 2, and at a similar meeting in Detroit. These led to a convention of about fifty alumni in Ann Arbor on July 9 to protest Page  363against the removal of President Tappan and to take "such measures as might be thought advisable to procure a reversal of the action of the Regents." This meeting was held in Hangsterfer's Hall, "the Chapel having been closed against them." A contemporary account reports that the discussions, "though spirited, were mainly in good temper." The indignation of the alumni at Dr. Tappan's dismissal, expressed in these gatherings and in a long series of resolutions, proved ineffective, however, and Dr. Haven became President.

In 1866 a committee was appointed "to memorialize the Legislature … on the subject of increasing the endowment of the University." This action was the result of agitation of this question on the part of the alumni as well as of the people of the state and very probably had its influence in the final establishment of the mill tax as a permanent source of support of the University (see Part I: Haven Administration; Part II: Financial Support).

This committee reported, at the meeting on June 25, 1867, that it was "known to all that the prayer of the petitioners was granted, and that the Legislature by the twentieth of a mill tax provided and secured to the University an increase of resources equal to about one-half of the increase of the present fund." At the same meeting a committee was appointed to ask the state constitutional convention to include a permanent one-twentieth of a mill tax in aid of the University in the organic law of the state.

At the meeting in 1868 the interest of the alumni in the financial position of the University was further evidenced in an oration by the Reverend L. R. Fiske, of the class of 1850, who protested against the lack of financial support from the state, pointing out the support given other public institutions. He cited the case of the University of Wisconsin, which, with an endowment fund greater by $200,000 than that of Michigan, had only about 230 students, as contrasted with Michigan's 1,200 students. The speaker set forth the favorable situation at such institutions as Yale, Harvard, Cornell, and Columbia universities, in contrast to that at the University of Michigan.

The resignation of President Haven in 1869 revived again the agitation for the return of President Tappan on the part of his former students. A resolution advocating his recall was laid on the table as the result of the opposition of some alumni, but the appointment of a committee of five "to confer with the Regents in reference to the vacancy" was authorized after "considerable filibustering, dilatory motions, and motions to adjourn." Evidently the sentiments of the alumni did not reflect those of the student body, for in the Michigan University Magazine (p. 403) we read:

If there are still any persons who have faith in the ability of the alumni as a body, to manage properly the affairs of the University, their confidence must have been sorely shaken by the business meeting on Tuesday afternoon … For the institution to place her destinies in the hands of the society of alumni would be simple suicide.

For many years the Society of the Alumni had functioned only as an organization of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts — or Department, as it was then called. But the establishment of the professional schools eventually brought about the creation of separate alumni organizations for the separate schools, or "departments." The first to be organized were the 1,024 alumni of the Department of Law, on March 29, 1871. Though the Department of Medicine and Surgery had been opened twenty years earlier, the Association of Medical Alumni did not come until 1875, when a Page  364resolution offered at a meeting of the Washtenaw Medical Society advocating such an organization was followed by a meeting of a few resident alumni in the office of Dr. William F. Breakey, and a constitution prepared by Dr. A. B. Prescott was adopted. The object of the organization was defined as "not only to enlist and muster the outgoing graduates, but to keep up lines of communication with them in the field and to invite them each year to come back." In a call to the medical alumni issued as a result of this action it was stated that the medical graduates numbered 1,200. The first meeting was held at the McGregor House in Ann Arbor, on March 23, 1875. Dr. Bolivar Barnum, of the class of 1854, of Schoolcraft, was elected president, and Dr. A. B. Prescott, secretary. Similar organizations soon sprang up in the College of Dental Surgery, in the School of Pharmacy, and in the Homeopathic Medical College, so that in the University Calendar of 1884-85 the officers of six organizations were listed.

As was to be expected, however, the Society of the Alumni in the Literary Department continued to evince the most signs of life. One indication of its strength was a meeting held at the Vendome Hotel in Boston in February, 1882. At this meeting John D. Pierce, who was then living at Ypsilanti in retirement and who died six weeks later, was an honored guest (Hoyt and Ford, p. 146).

The society was strengthened particularly after 1874, when action was taken looking toward the establishment of a fund of $25,000, the income from which was to be used for the support of George Palmer Williams, Professor of Physics, the first member of the faculty actually to teach classes, who had retired in 1871. The fund was known as the Williams professorship fund, and $26,000 was subscribed within a short time. For some years it served the purpose for which it was raised, but in 1889 Professor Calvin Thomas, as chairman of the auditing committee of the Alumni Association, insisted upon examining the bankbooks and securities called for by the report of the treasurer of the Association. The result revealed a sad state of affairs. Not only had the treasurer, Zina P. King, embezzled a good part of the funds, but the affairs of the bank in which they were deposited were also in a questionable state. King for years had been balancing the books of the society with the use of his own money.

At the meeting held in June, 1890, the deficit, which amounted to $19,054.05, was the chief topic of discussion. The audit revealed that the books had not been posted since 1881, a period of about eight years, and that there had been no entry since 1882; the defalcations did not begin probably until 1880 or 1881. Moreover, the treasurer's bond was made in 1878 and had not been renewed, and since some of the bondsmen were dead and had left insolvent estates, collection on the bond was considered most doubtful.

In the meantime a committee had made a settlement with King, following a similar settlement made by the bank. King turned over all he possessed — his home, stocks, bonds, and law library — and gave a note of $10,579.04 to balance the deficit. A criminal action was unsuccessful, since the directors had already made a settlement. The remainder thus left in the fund, some $15,000, was turned over to the Regents in 1897 for administration. For many years the interest was allowed to accumulate, until the fund now amounts to some $36,000. In accordance with an action of the Alumni Society in 1897, it is now used to provide allowances for members of the faculty upon retirement.

This episode in the history of the society is important, not only because it led Page  365eventually to a drastic reorganization of the whole plan of alumni organization, but also because it was one of the first efforts on the part of college alumni to set up a fund of this character, and was the first considerable alumni contribution to the University.

One of the earliest efforts for the establishment of fellowships by the alumni was inaugurated at about the same time. Some $3,000 was pledged, but the straitened circumstances of the Association, unfortunately, led to the discontinuance of the effort.

As a result of these financial difficulties, former Treasurer Samuel S. Walker ('61), Regent of the University from 1876 to 1884, recommended that there should be a "united alumni" which should have "such an organization as will have their entire confidence and execute the trusts that … arise, with honesty and efficiency." He also suggested that a "Board of Trustees of the Associated Alumni of the University," made up of representatives from each of the different alumni societies and reporting to the Board of Regents, be elected, and that the State Banking Department should be empowered to examine the books. This recommendation was considered a year later, in 1891, and a committee was appointed to study the plan.

This committee made a report in 1892 and was asked to continue its study of the consolidation of the various departmental alumni organizations. A significant action was taken at this meeting in the abolition of the time-honored practice of electing an annual orator and poet. It was also voted that badges should be worn and refreshments served at all alumni meetings.

The following year a new committee on reorganization, empowered to negotiate with the other departmental alumni societies, was appointed. No action was taken at the next meeting, and not until 1896 was the matter of the proposed reorganization again seriously considered. This time the proposal came as a result of an appeal from President Angell, just before his departure as Minister Plenipotentiary to Turkey. The President had expressed a hope that he would find the reorganization an accomplished fact upon his return. Eventually the movement was inaugurated through a resolution made by G. Frank Allmendinger ('78), of Ann Arbor, who moved that the chair appoint a committee to consider some plan of union of the alumni societies of the different departments of the University. This committee was composed of Levi L. Barbour ('63, '65l), Professor George Hempl ('79, Ph.D. Jena '89, LL.D. Michigan '15), Junius E. Beal ('82), and the newly elected secretary, Louis P. Jocelyn ('87).

The annual meeting held on June 30, 1897, with Regent William J. Cocker as chairman, was the last meeting of the old Society of the Alumni of the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts. At this meeting the report of the committee on unification was approved. It presented five recommendations, as follows: (1) a unification of all alumni societies of the University, (2) the appointment of a committee to meet with like committees from the other departments, for the purpose of organizing a new society, (3) an annual membership fee of one dollar, (4) a paid general secretary and (5) that the Williams professorship fund, all fellowship funds, and all of the monies belonging to the Literary Department Society of the Alumni be turned over to the Board of Regents in trust.

Upon previous advice by President Angell the secretary had familiarized himself with the method of organization in other institutions and had ascertained the reasons for their success or failure. Most of them were organized in one general Page  366alumni body. The University of Pennsylvania reported a salaried secretary at $600, and the Lehigh University alumni paid their secretary $200. Obviously, however, these were not full-time officers. There was naturally some opposition to the consolidation movement, particularly in the old Society of the Alumni, which had thousands of dollars whereas the other associations had very little, but this was met by making the Regents custodians of the funds. Moreover, the literary degree meant four college years and strict entrance requirements, but in the Law and Medical Departments, even the entrance requirement of high-school graduation and the nine-month academic year were relatively new, and the courses had only recently been extended to three and four years respectively, the law degree representing but three years of training beyond the high school.

To answer these objections to the plan for consolidation, Judge Lawrence Maxwell ('74, A.M. hon. '93, LL.D. '04, LL.B. Cincinnati '75) of Cincinnati, Judge Claudius B. Grant ('59, A.M. '62, LL.D. '91) of Detroit, Dean Jerome Knowlton ('75, '78l) of the Law School, and other prominent alumni were stationed strategically and were called upon at the meeting. After a report by the secretary upon the practice of other colleges and universities, the recommendations of the committee were adopted. The old officers were asked to continue in office until the affairs of the society were closed and the funds turned over to the Regents.

Meanwhile the alumni associations in the other departments had taken similar action, and a meeting composed of representatives of the different departments was held in the old chapel in University Hall on the evening of the same day.

At this meeting it was voted that all departmental societies become one united body, that an annual fee be imposed, and that a paid general secretary be employed. Also, a constitution was adopted, providing for a board of five directors, chosen from the alumni at large and not as representatives of the different departments, which would choose from among its own members a president, a vice-president, a recorder, and a treasurer. The directors were also to elect the general secretary annually from outside their own number. Under this constitution Levi L. Barbour ('63, '65l) was elected president, with E. Finley Johnson (LL.M. '91), Louis P. Jocelyn ('87), Professor Frederick C. Newcombe, ('90, Ph.D. Leipzig '93), and Dr. G. Carl Huber ('87m) the other directors. Ralph C. McAllaster, who had graduated from the State Normal School at Indiana, Pennsylvania, in 1884, and had later attended the Literary Department (1885-86) and then the Law Department (1886-87) at the University of Michigan, was elected the first general secretary. He served only for a few months, however, and was succeeded by James H. Prentiss ('96), who held the position for three years.

Plans were immediately set on foot to expand the activities of the Association, and within a few months negotiations were concluded for the purchase of the Michigan Alumnus, which had been established in 1894 by Alvick A. Pearson ('94; see Part II: Michigan Alumnus). One of the first efforts of the new organization was to stimulate the organization of local alumni clubs, and a strong plea for the creation of such organizations was made by the acting president, Harry Burns Hutchins, in the Alumnus for June, 1898. The result was a very considerable expansion of the number of alumni clubs.

The finances of the new organization, however, remained in a precarious condition. Page  367The income, arising from the annual memberships of one dollar and from advertising in the Michigan Alumnus, proved insufficient to carry on the expanded program of the Association, and an additional source of revenue became necessary. After some study the Board of Directors announced, in July, 1899, the establishment of endowment memberships in the Alumni Association. This plan provided for the payment of $35 in seven annual installments of $5.00 each, with $1.00 of each payment to be retained as equivalent of the annual dues until the endowment of $28 should be completed. To provide for immediate expenses, the whole amount in the case of a certain proportion of these endowment memberships was made at once available, but within the first year the endowment fund was actually set up. It grew steadily from that time on, and in June, 1940, amounted to almost $69,000.

The years immediately after this reorganization formed an era of slow growth and consolidation. Shirley W. Smith ('97, A.M. '00) became General Secretary in October, 1901. His principal tasks were the publication of the Alumnus, the stimulation of contributions to the alumni fund, and correspondence with local alumni groups and classes. In addition to these activities he also served as editor of the University News-Letter and director of the general alumni catalogue, functions since merged with the general University program which are discussed elsewhere (see Part II: University News Service and Alumni Catalog Office). Special funds were voted to the Alumni Association in June, 1901, when an annual appropriation of $1,400 was granted — $600 for advertising the University in the Michigan Alumnus, $300 for the editing and publishing of the News-Letter, and $500 for the maintenance of the alumni catalogue. Support from the University for such advertising and for the catalogue has continued to the present time.

At the alumni meeting in July, 1899, an alumni clubhouse, to cost approximately $30,000, had been suggested, and the general secretary reported that some seven or eight thousand dollars had been subscribed. The project was carried no further, but a year later a room formed from a section of the old chapel in University Hall was set aside for the Association and was furnished as an office with a reception room at a cost of $324.50. This was made possible through a gift from the Students' Lecture Association and through action by the Regents. This room was used until the opening of the Alumni Memorial Hall in 1909.

The Alumni Association had an intimate interest in two projects which developed in 1903 — the plans for an alumni memorial hall, sponsored by a committee of the Alumni Association, and the Michigan Union, first advocated by a student group. These two projects to a certain extent divided the interests of the Association in their campaigns for funds, though the members of the memorial committee, who were well-known, distinguished alumni, insisted that the official interest of the Alumni Association lay with the project of a memorial building. However, the general secretary of the Alumni Association was made ex officio a member of the Board of Directors of the Union, and both causes were actively sponsored by the officers of the Association and through the columns of the Michigan Alumnus.

After three years of service as General Secretary, Shirley W. Smith resigned in the fall of 1904, to be succeeded by Wilfred B. Shaw ('04), who held the position for the following quarter century. During these years the successive annual reports show a gradual increase in the number of members of the Association, the establishment of alumni clubs, and a small, Page  368steady addition to the endowment fund through the enrollment of new members.

With the appointment of Harry Burns Hutchins as Acting President of the University, in 1909, a new era in the relationship between the University and the Alumni Association began. During the previous administration the attitude had been one of friendly but not especially active co-operation.

In order to prevent further conflicts such as had arisen between the several zealous bodies of alumni in their efforts to help the University, President Hutchins, with his characteristic astuteness, went directly to the Regents, and in their meeting of July, 1911, at his suggestion, they resolved "that no University organization of a general nature shall hereafter solicit funds for any purpose from the alumni of the University without first having obtained the approval of this Board" (R.P., 1910-14, p. 196).

He realized fully the implications of the alumni organization as a source of support for the University, and set about its immediate development. He made a special point of addressing as many gatherings of alumni as possible and actively encouraged their organization, particularly in the state of Michigan; as a result of his encouragement the Alumni Association made a special effort to organize the alumni in every county in Michigan where it was practicable to do so. In 1909 he was accompanied on a trip through the Middle West by Dean John O. Reed of the Literary Department, Dean Mortimer E. Cooley of the Department of Engineering, and Wilfred B. Shaw. These representatives of the University, after leaving Chicago, were met and cordially entertained by the alumni in Des Moines and Omaha. There the President was compelled to turn back, but the other members of the party continued to the Pacific coast.

Accounts of organization and meetings of alumni clubs were increasing in the pages of the Alumnus. By 1913 there were forty-six alumni associations within and sixty-nine outside the state of Michigan — a total of 115 — and at the end of the Hutchins era in 1920 there were 141.

Also during the Hutchins administration the alumnae of the University were becoming well organized, and as a result of an action taken by the Alumni Council it was recommended by the Board of Directors, in June, 1914, that the number of directors be increased by a change in the bylaws to seven instead of five, allowing for one director representing the alumnae (see Part II: Alumnae Council). A further measure taken at this time came as a result of a report by Professor I. N. Demmon on the Williams professorship fund. This fund had increased to $30,000 after lying dormant for twenty years, and the Board of Directors recommended the establishment of a Williams emeritus professorship to be supported by the income from the fund, the Board of Directors to make the nomination and the incumbent to be appointed upon approval by the Board of Regents. The Regents confirmed this measure. Certain matters of significance to the alumni organization also developed throughout this period as a result of actions of the Alumni Advisory Council, which had been created with the co-operation of the Alumni Association (see Part II: Alumni Advisory Council).

Declaration of war in the spring of 1917 materially affected the activities and the policies of the Association and may be said to mark the end of a period in its development. The general secretary's report made at this time shows that there were then 135 local alumni clubs, of which thirteen represented the alumnae, and that there were 6,500 subscribers to the Michigan Alumnus. For the next twelve months the energies of Page  369the Association were very largely concerned with the activities of the alumni in war service; succeeding numbers of the Alumnus gave the names of the faculty and alumni who were enlisted. For the time being, efforts toward organization lapsed, and no meetings of the Alumni Council were held.

During the next few years changes in the organization of the Association materially strengthened its effectiveness and made it more responsive to the interests of the alumni scattered all over the United States. Various means for enlarging the scope of the activities of the Association were considered by the Board of Directors and by the Alumni Advisory Council in the immediate postwar years, and as a result $7,500 was pledged in 1922 by a group of alumni to finance an expansion of the work of the Association. This permitted the appointment of a second executive, T. Hawley Tapping (Iowa '11, Michigan '16l), with the title of Field Secretary. At this time provision was made in the bylaws for eight new directors to be elected to the board from outside Ann Arbor, making a total of fifteen, and the treasurer of the University was made also treasurer ex officio of the Association. It was also provided that all former students of the University with credit for one year or more were eligible to membership upon payment of the annual dues. Also, an executive committee was created.

These changes in organization were suggested by a study of the basis of the alumni organizations in a number of leading American universities, made by the general secretary in 1922. He recommended in his report a federation of alumni clubs to be organized in districts, each district to be represented by a director. The creation of a class secretaries' organization was also recommended, to co-ordinate the work of the classes and to assist them through advice and help in the problems which confronted them.

As a result the organization of the Alumni Association was changed at the annual alumni meeting, June 16, 1923. Instead of the annual meeting, the local alumni groups were made the basis of the central Association. The whole alumni body was divided into ten districts, each of which elected a director of the Association, with the exception of the two Michigan districts, each of which elected two directors. (Very soon afterward one of the Michigan districts and, later, the far western district, were divided.) In addition, the Alumnae Council elected two directors, and six directors were elected at large. A few years later this plan was further changed. The past presidents of the Alumni Association were made ex officio members of the Board of Directors, and the three officers of the Class Secretaries' Council, composed of the chairman, vice-chairman and secretary-treasurer, took the place of three of the directors elected at large. The new plan also provided that the local alumni clubs pay annual dues of fifty cents a member to the general association. It was also provided that triennial meetings of the representatives of the alumni clubs be held at central locations outside of Ann Arbor. As part of this general expansion of the Association's program, the directors also authorized the creation of a small printing plant in the basement of the old Chemistry Building, known as the Alumni Press. The sum of $20,000 was borrowed to set up this press, which continued in operation for seven years.

These changes in the organization of the Association have proved on the whole effective. For the most part the districts have functioned as expected, holding annual meetings with fair regularity at which representatives of the general Association, the field secretary or general secretary, and sometimes the Page  370president have been present. The directors of the Association have met two or three times each year to receive reports from the various districts and to discuss the fundamental policies of the Association. The first triennial meeting was held in Detroit in 1925. The second was held in Chicago, the third in Cleveland, and the fourth in Grand Rapids; and the 1937 celebration in Ann Arbor served as the fifth triennial.

Wilfred B. Shaw ('04) resigned as General Secretary in 1929 to become a University officer with the title of Director of Alumni Relations. He had been active in organizing, in 1913, the Association of Alumni Secretaries, a national body of alumni executive officers, of which he was elected president in 1915 and again after its reorganization as the American Alumni Council, in 1927. For many years he had been interested in the broader and more fundamental applications of alumni organization, represented in the programs in alumni education considered as part of the then new movement in adult education. Michigan became a pioneer in this field. For six months following his resignation he was engaged in a study of alumni education for the American Association for Adult Education, under a grant from the Carnegie Corporation. He was succeeded by T. Hawley Tapping, Field Secretary of the Alumni Association since 1922, who had been largely responsible for the development of the district organization within the Association and the rapid growth of alumni groups throughout the country.

The beginning of the depression in 1929 brought a gradual recession in the activities of the Association; the number of alumni clubs decreased materially, dues declined, and the number of subscribers to the Michigan Alumnus fell off by about one-third. This naturally limited the program of the Association, while the drastically reduced income was reflected in an increasing deficit, which amounted to over $24,000 in 1934.

To meet this situation, paralleled in the alumni organization of almost every institution in the country, the help of the University was enlisted and an arrangement was made whereby $2.50 from the dues paid to the Michigan Union by the men was allocated to the Alumni Association. In 1939 this revenue was supplemented by a one-dollar allotment from the fees paid by women students. As a corollary to this action, the executive committee of the Board of Directors was reorganized to include four members of the University faculty, all alumni of the University, and placing in the executive committee the fiscal control of the Association. This measure proved a most fortunate one, and within three years the indebtedness was wiped out and the money which had been borrowed from the capital fund of the endowment was repaid.

At the present time the alumni of the University are organized into some 195 local clubs, and 275 classes are organized, have class officers, and hold reunions normally at five-year intervals. The endowment fund has gradually grown until on June 30, 1940, it amounted to $68,698.32, with a total of 1,750 living alumni enrolled as life members of the Association and recipients of the Michigan Alumnus for life. Since the dedication of Alumni Memorial Hall in 1910 the headquarters of the Alumni Association have been in that building, with the large room on the first floor as the general offices. In the basement of the same building, along with the Alumni Catalog Office, are a large storeroom for the Association and the editorial offices of the Michigan Alumnus.

The alumni organization has thus developed with the University from almost the first days of the institution. Page  371Michigan has always been aware of the place of the alumni in the University's whole educational program. In a creed drawn up by President Ruthven in 1932 this principle was stated as follows: "We believe that the student should be trained as an alumnus from matriculation. He enrolls in the University for life and for better or worse he will always remain an integral part of the institution."

This has been the cardinal concept upon which the Alumni Association has built, and it has met with general acceptance from the University's great body of graduates and former students, which totaled 98,914 in July, 1940. While it is difficult to assess the contribution alumni have made through personal efforts, advice, and co-operation in University undertakings, one concrete evidence of this support is revealed in the $22,034,609.88 given to the University by the alumni (see Part I: Gifts).


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MS, "Records of the Society of the Alumni," 1859-97. Univ. Mich.
Shaw, Wilfred B.The University of Michigan. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920.
State University of Michigan. General Catlaogue of Officers and Graduates from Its Organization in 1837 to 1860. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1861.
University of Michigan. Catalogue of Graduates, Non-Graduates, Officers, and Members of the Faculties, 1837-1921. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1923.
University of Michigan. A General Catlogue of the Officers and Graduates from Its Organization in 1837 to 1864. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1864.
University of Michigan. General Catalogue of Officers and Students, 1837-1890. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1891.
University of Michigan — General Catalogue of Officers and Students, 1837-1911. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1912.
University of Michigan Regents' Proceedings …, 1837-1864. Ed. by Isaac N. Demmon. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1915. (R.P., 1837-64.)
Page  372


THE Alumni Advisory Council is a selected body of representative alumni which meets at the University at least once a year to consider the University's problems and its accomplishments. As organized at the present time, the program at the annual meetings consists largely of answers from various University officers setting forth different aspects of the University's activities in response to questions submitted by members of the Council. Ordinarily, no definite action is expected from the alumni present. In its advisory capacity the Council works through committees, set up from time to time to consider questions in which the University administration feels that the alumni can give effective and helpful co-operation. At the present time the Council consists of about two hundred members.

The first alumni advisory body of this type came at the suggestion of Shirley W. Smith when he was Secretary of the Alumni Association. He recommended that an advisory committee from the alumni at large be created by the directors of the Alumni Association. This recommendation was approved, and the Board of Directors appointed a committee composed of Henry W. Ashley ('79), of Toledo, John D. Hibbard ('87e), of Chicago, Edward C. Hinman ('74), of Battle Creek, H. Clark Ford ('75), of Cleveland, and Clarence M. Burton ('73) of Detroit. This committee met on November 11, 1904, and considered some of the problems that faced the Association, particularly plans for increasing its membership, for collecting unpaid dues, and for the possible appointment of an assistant general secretary in Chicago.

The next year this committee met again, but there was little in the way of concrete results from the movement until James Rowland Angell ('90, A.M. '91, LL.D. '31), at that time (1909) a member of the faculty of the University of Chicago, advocated the formation of an alumni council on a much broader basis (Angell, pp. 399-406). A letter from the Chicago Alumni Association suggested the appointment of a committee of alumni "to devise and establish means for rendering the relations of the alumni to the University more intimate and effective than at present." After these proposals had been extensively considered, a committee of twenty, with power to act, was appointed, and an amendment to the bylaws of the general Association, creating an advisory council, was passed. This amendment authorized each local alumni club with fifty or more members to elect a member, and to elect an extra representative for every two hundred members in excess of fifty. An executive committee of the Advisory Council of seven members was also created.

At the first meeting of the Council, in June, 1911, the University authorities were asked to give suggestions as to the principal needs of the University, and the Dix plan for reunions was approved. This is a plan designed to bring together, for reunion, groups of four classes which were in college at the same time.

In 1914 the Council recommended that the number of members of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association be increased to seven and that the directors also be authorized to nominate the holders of the Williams professorship, subject to the approval of the Regents. Other measures considered and approved by the Council were the addition of an extra day to the reunion season, the use of Hill Auditorium for Page  373alumni entertainment during the Commencement season — a practice followed for some years — and the adoption of a permanent alumni button.

The next year a committee on student living conditions was appointed by the executive committee of the Council. This committee recommended to the Council in 1917 the establishment of approved rooming and boarding houses, and its report, referred to the Senate Council of the University Senate, led to changes in the University's policy with regard to the control of student housing.

During the war years and the period immediately after the war the Council held no meetings. In June, 1921, a revival of the Council was advocated by the general secretary of the Alumni Association, who suggested that the Council should "have some recognized status in relation to the University." No action was taken at that time, however, and there was no official organization for some years.

President Marion L. Burton meanwhile had called together at various times four groups of well-known and active alumni, who spent a day in Ann Arbor in conference with him and with the other University authorities. These more or less informal gatherings in reality performed effectively the functions of the earlier Council. Similar alumni groups were also called together by President C. C. Little.

It was not until 1928 that plans were finally inaugurated, at a conference held in Detroit, to organize a national advisory council of some one hundred and fifty members, under the auspices of the Alumni Association. As a result, on May 3, 1930, the reorganized Council was called together more or less informally. In 1931, however, at a second session under the inspiration of President Ruthven, a definite plan of organization was approved. A meeting has been held every year since that time except in 1937, when it was omitted because of the centennial celebration.

Although there is no constitution, a summary of the proceedings of the meeting of June 19, 1931, published in pamphlet form, served as a scheme of organization of the Alumni Advisory Council. The purpose of the organization, as stated at that meeting, is "to consider and advise the President on matters affecting policies, or other questions which he may desire to submit." The membership is to consist of three types: (1) representatives appointed by the local alumni clubs and alumnae groups, (2) former directors and officers of the Alumni Association, and (3) members at large appointed by the president of the University. The final decision as to the size of the Council is to be left to the University president. The organization is to have one annual meeting, and "such other meetings as shall seem desirable" to the chairman and the secretary, the only officers of the organization. Also, the chairman of the Council is empowered, in consultation with the president, to appoint such committees "as shall best carry on the express purposes of the Council."

Under this elastic charter the present Council has held ten successful meetings, at which many of the problems and accomplishments of the University have been freely and intimately discussed. Reports of these discussions have been distributed to all the members of the Council, and sometimes sent to the alumni at large. In accordance with the plan of organization, some seven committees of the Council have also been appointed and have met from time to time to consider the special problems laid before them by the officers of the University. These specially appointed committees have been called together to consider such widely varied subjects as University publications, Page  374the University Arboretum, engineering research, the development of a program in social problems, alumni relations, and the program of the School of Dentistry.


Angell, James R."A Plea for More Vital Relations Between the University and Its Alumni."Mich. Alum., 15 (1908-9): 399-406.
MS, "Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association," 1897-1940. Univ. Mich.
President's Report, Univ. Mich., 1920-40.
"The University Today."Univ. Mich. Bur. Alum. Rel., Gen. Bull., No. 27 (1939).
"Questions on the University."Univ. Mich. Bur. Alum. Rel., Gen. Bull., No. 30 (1939).
"Student Problems."Univ. Mich. Bur. Alum. Rel., Gen. Bull., No. 33 (1940).


THE Alumni Association of the University of Michigan has sponsored two funds, one of which has been utilized for the support of the Association and the other, in theory at least, for the general welfare of the University (see also Williams professorship fund, in Part II: Alumni Association).

The first is the endowment fund of the Alumni Association, established at the time of the reorganization of the Association in 1897. At that time a plan was inaugurated whereby the alumni who so desired might become life members of the Alumni Association and life subscribers to the Michigan Alumnus by the payment of $5.00 a year for seven years, or $35 in all. Of every five-dollar payment, $1.00 was reserved for the running expenses of the Association and the other $4.00, or $28 in all, was deposited in the permanent fund, only the interest of which could be used for Association purposes. Subsequently, in June, 1921, with the increased subscription price of the Alumnus, the individual memberships were increased to $60 on a basis of six annual payments or $50 if paid at one time.

At the time when this fund was put in force the finances of the Alumni Association were very low, and a certain number of immediate payments of $25 were solicited; the amount received was to be made available for the support of the Association. Within three years, or at the end of the general secretaryship of James H. Prentiss, who had first sponsored the plan, the total amount of this endowment was $4,526.30 in cash and $35,780.40 in life memberships pledged but not due. Through many years the endowment fund has grown, although in the period 1930-38 it suffered some losses, until in 1940 it amounted to a total of $68,698.32. It is now administered by the University officials who handle trust funds, but is kept as a separate account and is not included with the other University investments. Normally it returns some $2,000 to the Alumni Association each year.

The second fund, known as the alumni fund, is administered by a board of trustees, originally created on action of the Alumni Association but now a self-perpetuating, incorporated body. The fund now amounts to $7,271.27.

Page  375Funds operated on a similar basis had been created in a number of other college and universities prior to the establishment of such a fund at this University and have become decisive factors in the support of their respective institutions. With this record in mind the class of 1916 recommended to the Alumni Association that such a fund be established and gave the sum of $387.03 toward it as a class memorial. The plan was approved by the Alumni Association and by the Regents, and was incorporated (P.A., 1903, No. 171) under the name, "Trustees of the University of Michigan Alumni Fund." The articles of Association were dated June 19, 1920.

This fund was designed as a reservoir for gifts to the University, and the trustees were empowered to administer the income in any way they saw fit for the benefit of the institution. It was provided, however, that special funds designated for specific purposes might also be incorporated in the fund and administered by the trustees in accordance with the specifications.

The fact that Michigan is a state university, however, has seemed to limit the growth of the fund, which has never developed as have similar undertakings in some of the endowed institutions. There has been a general feeling that if the University were to set up a large fund with no specific limitations as to its administration the legislature might at some time insist on its use for certain specific objectives rather than make an appropriation for them from the state funds, and alumni support has therefore developed in other ways.

In 1935 it was proposed that the alumni fund function as a temporary depository of monies ultimately to go to the University through the functioning of the Michigan Alumni Ten-Year Program. Only one occasion arose in the next five years, however, for this use of the fund, as it was discovered that the normal procedure of the ten-year program made advisable the immediate transmittal of contributed monies to the University.

The result has been that the fund has maintained its organization, but has developed very little since it was originally created.


The Alumni Fund of the University of Michigan. Ann Arbor: Board of Trustees, Univ. Mich. Alumni Fund, 1921.
Financial Report, Univ. Mich., 1917-40.
The Michigan Alumnus, Vols. 1-46 (1894-1940).
Michigan. Public Acts [of the Session of …], 1903. (P.A.)
MS, "Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association," 1897-1940.
A Program for the Promotion of the University of Michigan Alumni Fund. Ann Arbor: Board of Trustees, Univ. Mich. Alumni Fund, 1924.
Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1896-1940.
Shaw, Wilfred B.The University of Michigan. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920.
Page  376


THE office of alumni secretary, which has come to have a recognized place in college and university administration, originated at the University of Michigan in 1897, when the Alumni Association was reorganized and co-ordinated. Although certain other universities, notably the University of Pennsylvania and Lehigh University, had had part-time secretaries of their alumni organizations who received small fees for their services, the position and its duties had not been precisely recognized or defined.

What may be taken as a first step toward the creation of the office is to be noted in the minutes of the faculty of the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts for February 1, 1864. It was provided that the name of Edward P. Evans ('54), Professor of Modern Languages and Literature, "be placed in the general catalogue as a person to whom the alumni of this department are requested to communicate information in relation to their place of residence, occupation, etc." (MS, "Faculty Records," 1858-64, p. 420). Thus some of the duties comprised in the present office of the general secretary were recognized more than thirty years before the office actually came into existence. There is little evidence that Professor Evans ever took these duties very seriously. He resigned from the University faculty in 1870.

The need for some officer whose duty it should be to keep in touch with the alumni, maintain the alumni records, and stimulate their interest in the University was long recognized, but for many years no feasible way appeared in which to finance such an office. With the consolidation of the departmental societies in 1897, however, and the expansion of the whole alumni program in the University, almost the first practical step was the appointment of a general secretary.

The first incumbent of the office, Ralph C. McAllaster, had been a student in the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts in 1885-86, and in the Law Department the next year, after which he had had three years' experience in editing one of the Ann Arbor papers. He was appointed on October 1, 1897, but resigned during the last week of the following December. James H. Prentiss ('96) was appointed as his successor and entered upon his duties January 10, 1898. For some years the new general secretary had been active in college journalism, and, although in addition to his other duties he served as editor-in-chief of the Michigan Alumnus, his main interest proved to be the building up of financial support of the Association through the solicitation of life memberships and subscriptions to that periodical. Louis A. Pratt ('96), the former editor of the Michigan Alumnus, remained as managing editor. Prentiss' efforts during the three years of his service as General Secretary resulted in giving the Alumni Association an assured financial status which formed an effective basis for future expansion.

Prentiss was succeeded in 1901 by Shirley W. Smith ('97, A.M., '00), who for the three previous years had been Instructor in English. With a broad vision of the possibilities of alumni organization, he took active charge of the editorial program of the Michigan Alumnus, systematized not only the financial records of the organization but also the records of the alumni, and undertook at Page  377once the stimulation of class organization and the development of alumni clubs throughout the country. In great measure the pattern upon which the activities of the Alumni Association subsequently developed were set during his three years of service. Mr. Smith resigned in October, 1904, to accept a position with the Pennsylvania Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia. He returned in the fall of 1908 to become Secretary of the University and eventually Vice-President and Secretary in Charge of Business and Finance.

Wilfred B. Shaw ('04) succeeded him as General Secretary on October 1, 1904. Since his graduation the previous February he had been engaged in newspaper work in Chicago. For twenty-five years he remained as General Secretary, and at the time of his resignation, in October, 1929, he was the oldest alumni secretary in point of service in the country. Throughout the quarter century of his administration the Alumni Association grew slowly but steadily. The Alumnus expanded, its circulation rising to a total of about eleven thousand just before the depression years. In 1921 it had become a weekly magazine. The Alumni Association itself was reorganized in 1923, largely upon the basis of a report which he prepared for the Board of Directors. Throughout this quarter century the number of class organizations steadily increased, until almost all the classes in the different departments had elected secretaries and had met for reunions in June. The local clubs likewise increased in number, until there were 140 alumni clubs listed in the Michigan Alumnus in 1929, in addition to the organized alumnae groups.

A special aspect of the work of the program of the Alumni Association during the later years of his incumbency was the emphasis on what has come to be called alumni education — a program designed to keep the alumni interested in continuing their own educational efforts after college years, and informed upon the scholarly and intellectual interests of the University. To carry out this program, a new department of the University, the Bureau of Alumni Relations, was accordingly set up by President Ruthven, and Mr. Shaw resigned to become Director of this Bureau in the fall of 1929.

When the Alumni Association was reorganized in 1923 a new executive officer had been appointed, a field secretary, whose duties were to keep in touch with the local alumni organizations all over the country, to stimulate their development, and to supervise them. This program developed rapidly, and, in 1929, T. Hawley Tapping (Iowa '11, Michigan '16l), who had been Field Secretary for six years, became General Secretary. Although Tapping's administration as General Secretary has coincided for the most part with the difficult years of the depression, the Alumni Association has, nevertheless, continued to expand. A growing indebtedness, arising in part from the unpaid balance of the cost of Alumni Memorial Hall and in part from a sharp decline in income due to the depression years, which eventually totaled some $30,000, was wiped out through co-operation with the University and a reorganization which gave the University representation on the executive committee of the Board of Directors. The publication schedule of the Michigan Alumnus was changed to permit the publication of a quarterly issue. The Class Officers' Council became an active factor in the whole alumni program, with an assistant general secretary of the Association, Robert O. Morgan ('31ed), appointed in 1935 as secretary of the Council. The district organization not Page  378only was kept alive through difficult years, but also was expanded and consolidated through personal visits on the part of Tapping and other officers to district and local club meetings.


The Michigan Alumnus, Vols. 1-46 (1894-1940). (Especially annual reports of the general secretaries of the Alumni Association.)
MS, "Minutes of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association," 1898-1940.
MS, "Records of the Faculty … [Dept. of Literature, Science, and the Arts]," 1858-64. Mich. Hist. Coll., Univ. Mich. ("Faculty Records.")
Shaw, Wilfred B.The University of Michigan. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920.
Tapping, T. Hawley. "The Field Secretary."Rept.… Ann. Conf. Amer. Alum. Counc., 14 (1927): 97-104.


THE history of class organization in the University centers largely about the annual class reunions, which led naturally and inevitably to the appointment of class secretaries and other officers. Although at Commencement time there were, undoubtedly, informal reunions of the earliest classes, no formal reunions were recorded prior to 1868. The first class to hold a reunion, as far as the official records indicate, was the class of 1858, which met on June 23, 1868, and inspected the trees which its members had planted as the first recorded class memorial, under the inspiration of Professor Andrew D. White.

From that time on, a few classes met every year. The records show that in 1876 the classes of 1866, 1869, 1871, 1872, 1873, and 1874 met at Commencement time. Eleven years later, in 1887, at the time of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the University, the class of 1845 held a reunion, apparently its first. Other classes which met at that time were those of 1861, 1863, 1867, 1872, 1873, 1875, and 1886.

Very little has survived, however, in the way of records of these early reunions. It was not until the Alumni Association took over the publication of the Michigan Alumnus in 1898 that official reports of reunions began to appear; thenceforth they were included in the Commencement issues of the magazine. In 1898 the reunions of the classes of 1848, 1858, 1868, 1873, 1878, 1888, and 1896 were recorded, although no reports were given, but in 1901 there were reports of seven reunions. A few years later, in 1904, the Alumnus contained reports of the reunions of thirteen classes and of a semicentennial reunion held by the class of 1854. This class held another very successful gathering in 1905.

From this time on, the number of classes holding reunions at Commencement time gradually increased. Reunions of the alumni of the professional departments also began to have an increasingly important place in the program. By 1915 the general secretary reported that 125 classes in the different schools and colleges of the University were organized and were represented by regularly elected or appointed class secretaries. Thirty classes held reunions in 1915, when the alumni registrations numbered 1,420.

Page  379The first effort toward an organization of class officers came as the result of a report made by a committee of the Alumni Advisory Council in June, 1913. This committee recommended (1) that steps be taken to enlist the services of the most efficient members of the classes as alumni officers, especially for classes in which no secretary had yet been appointed, (2) that the necessity of electing class secretaries be impressed upon the graduating classes, and (3) that measures be taken to effect a general organization of all the class secretaries which would serve as a clearinghouse for suggestions and as a means of stimulating the interest of the class secretaries in their work. It was also thought that such an organization would serve to standardize methods of obtaining statistics and information for incorporation in University and class records. This plan, however, proved premature, for the general secretary reported the following year (1914) that the projected organization did not appear practicable or desirable, in view of the fact that the class officers seemed disposed to leave the burden of the work with him, as theretofore, rather than undertake certain of the duties themselves.

The plan for creating such an organization was only held in abeyance, however, and when the Alumni Association was reorganized in 1923 it was revived. As a result of a letter sent out by President Little, seventy-five class officers met on March 5, 1927, and effected a new organization known as the Class Secretaries' Council. The expenses of organization and the salary of a permanent secretary were to be financed by assessing annual dues against the classes to the amount of fifteen cents for each living member, as shown by the records. The first secretary of the Class Secretaries' Council was Charles J. Rash ('22), who assumed his duties on January 1, 1928. Subsequently the name of the organization was changed to the Class Officers' Council.

Since 1928 this "bureau" of the Alumni Association has grown steadily in prestige and effectiveness. The three officers of the Council were given posts as directors on the Board of the Association, and it was significant of the place assumed by the Council in Association affairs that two of the presidents of the Alumni Association "graduated" from the Council to the chief executive position in the national organization.

On September 1, 1929, Fred S. Randall, who had attended the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts between 1919 and 1921, became Secretary of the Council; he retired in 1935, and was succeeded by Robert O. Morgan ('31ed), the present Secretary.

The response of the classes to the opportunities offered in the Council was immediate and effective. Through the Council's operations, officers for practically all classes were secured, and these officers took their duties seriously. Attendance at reunions mounted as the officers planned programs carefully and promoted attendance.

One of the first and most interesting developments was the organization of the Emeritus Club, unique in character. In June of 1930 Luther Conant, a retired newspaperman of Chicago, conceived the idea of a so-called "Tappan reunion" on the campus, designed as a homecoming for alumni who had known the campus in President Tappan's time or shortly thereafter. From this beginning there developed, the following year, the Emeritus Club, embracing in its membership all those graduates and former students who were members of classes older than the Golden Anniversary Class. Formal organization was perfected, emeritus professors were included in the membership, and the club was launched for a career which has been increasingly significant Page  380and enjoyable with each year. In 1938 the University started the practice of presenting membership pins to the Emeritus Club members and to the home-comers of the Golden Anniversary Class who were inducted into the Emeritus Club. Membership certificates were awarded by the Alumni Association.

As the mechanism of the Council has been perfected, increasing emphasis has been placed on continuing activity by the various class organizations. Formerly the sole function of the officers was the planning and organizing of reunions. Secretaries took pride in maintaining contact with class members throughout the five-year periods between reunions. Class directories and books were published. Conferences of officers were held.

In line with this progress came attention to the Michigan Alumni Ten-Year Program. Classes adopted projects which required planned solicitation through the years. At the 1939 reunion eight classes announced adoption of objectives in the ten-year program.

Class organization is based on a mechanism which calls for the election of officers in each class of each college and school. Reunions are held on the same basis, which means that more than fifty classes hold reunions every five years. The so-called "Dix plan," approved by the Alumni Advisory Council in 1911, was followed for a number of years. This brought back a group of classes which were in college together for a general reunion, but it was eventually abandoned in favor of the more simple and apparently more popular five-year scheme. Upwards of two thousand alumni, graduates and nongraduates, attend these home-comings each June, convening during the two or three days preceding Commencement.

Save for a brief period, when the lobby of Angell Hall was used, general registration headquarters have been in Alumni Memorial Hall. Here the alumni register on their arrival and are given the now official reunion badge, an attractive yellow and blue, oval lapel button displaying their name and class in large type. In 1937 the first all-class dinner was held. This has come to be a regular feature of the commencement-week program, and is scheduled for Thursday evening, normally the opening day of reunions. On Friday evening the University decorates the mid-campus with Japanese lanterns, creating a beautiful setting for the "alumni sing." The alumni luncheon on Saturday noon, at which time the alumni are guests of the University, has grown to be the climax of the week. At this annual meeting certain directors of the Alumni Association are elected, the status of "honorary alumnus" is conferred upon conspicuous and active friends of the University who have never attended it, and the president delivers an annual report on the University's progress.


The Chronicle (title varies), 1867-91.
The Michigan Alumnus, Vols. 1-46 (1894-1940).
The Michigan Daily (title varies), 1890-1940.
MS, "Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association," 1897-1940.
President's Report, Univ. Mich., 1852-1909, 1921-40.
Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1864-1940.
MS, "Records of the Society of the Alumni," 1859-97. Univ. Mich.
Shaw, Wilfred B.The University of Michigan. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920.
Page  381


AT the time of the 1937 celebration, the University of Michigan had 195 alumni clubs and 53 alumnae groups, including several in foreign countries. This wide distribution of the alumni forces is the real basis upon which the University of Michigan's Alumni Association rests. Membership in the general Alumni Association arises only through membership in the local clubs, which send in national membership dues of fifty cents from the annual club dues received from each of their members.

The organization of the alumni of the University of Michigan by local clubs and associations undoubtedly began in the earlier years of the University, though this cannot be said with certainty, as definite information is meager. It is known, however, that the alumni in Detroit were accustomed to assemble as a group from time to time, especially in such a crisis as the dismissal of President Tappan, and reports of some of these meetings are still available. Whether a definite continuing organization was effected as early as the end of the Tappan administration is not clear. It is very probable that on occasion groups of alumni gathered to welcome some visitor from the University, particularly the president. Since there was no general alumni association prior to 1897, the arrangements for these meetings, as far as they concerned the University, were carried on through the office of the University president, and no records have survived except in some occasional newspaper reports.

The first local alumni meeting of which a record is preserved took place at the Tremont House in Chicago, on February 7, 1868. A constitution was adopted making graduates of the Literary Department only eligible for active membership. On December 28, 1876, thirty alumni met at the Pacific Hotel at San Francisco and effected a definite organization, with Professor Bernard Moses ('70, LL.D. '02), of the University of California, as president. Occasional reports of other meetings are recorded. A newspaper note that the New York alumni held their annual meeting on April 3, 1884, apparently indicates that there had been previous meetings. Another report informs us that on May 28, 1885, about thirty Chicago alumni again met to form an organization and on June 18 of the same year a banquet was held at which fifty-four were present and President Angell was the guest of honor. The Washington alumni held their third annual banquet in February, 1887. The alumni in Detroit were somewhat slower in effecting a definite organization. We have record of a "first annual meeting" held on March 19, 1897 at the old Russell House, with former Postmaster General Donald M. Dickinson ('67l) as president.

In the first issue of the Michigan Alumnus, October, 1894, in an article entitled "The Alumni Question — a Review," Ralph Stone ('92l) mentioned alumni centers located at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington; at Grand Rapids and Battle Creek in Michigan; and at Chicago, Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Denver in the central and western states; and wrote, further:

All of these are regularly organized and officered and arouse at times considerable annual banquet enthusiasm. At Detroit and San Francisco there are loyal alumni, but there are no ties of organization binding them together. Our only foreign association is located in Japan, which recently organized and cabled an affectionate greeting to President Angell.

Page  382From this we may gather that the auspicious start of the alumni club in San Francisco fell by the wayside during the ensuing eighteen years.

In 1894 the alumni body of the University was probably one of the largest, if not the largest, alumni body in any educational institution in America. In 1892 there were 11,449 alumni, and the graduating class numbered 699. In 1898 Dean Harry Burns Hutchins ('71, LL.D. '21), at that time Acting President of the University, called for the organization of local clubs, and from that time on the movement developed rapidly. In the Michigan Alumnus for October, 1904, the officers of thirty-one clubs were listed. The number of clubs had increased to sixty-eight in 1911, when the first great meeting of the alumni was held. This national dinner, held in the Hotel Astor in New York City on February 4, was attended by nearly one thousand alumni of the University — the largest gathering of its type ever held up to that time. Earl D. Babst ('93, '94l, A.M. hon. '11), later president of the American Sugar Refining Company, was chairman (see Part I: University of Michigan Celebrations).

By 1917 there were recorded 135 local clubs, of which 13 were women's organizations, and in 1922 the number had increased to 184, with 50 alumnae groups. Not all of these, however, were active. With the reorganization of the Alumni Association in 1923, the effectiveness of this local organization of the alumni all over the country was definitely recognized, and these organizations were made the actual basis of the University's entire alumni organization. The country was divided into districts, the clubs of each to hold an annual district meeting, at which a director of the general Association, as well as district officers, should be elected. Originally it was arranged that each district contain approximately five thousand alumni, though one district, that in the southeastern portion of Michigan, was nearly twice this size and therefore was given two directors as its representation. The original total of ten districts was subsequently increased to twelve, when the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was made a separate district and was allotted one of the two directors at first given to a second Michigan district and the district comprising all the far western states was divided.

One of the significant results of the organization of alumni by clubs and districts has been the recruiting of a large number of active alumni workers and leaders. These men and women have been enthusiastic over their work in the interest of the University, and have given generously of their time and attention. The representative nature of the government of the Alumni Association has encouraged them to continue their efforts and to gain promotion, so to speak, up through the district organization ranks into places of leadership in the Association.

The annual district conferences, beside offering ideal opportunity for district administration, also serve as forums for the discussion of the technique of club operation. One result has been the development of a high degree of efficiency in club work and the adoption of uniform formulae for the operation of the various units.

The efficiency thus developed has enabled clubs to undertake successfully many activities beneficial to the University. The alumni have been able to help the University in its contact with preparatory-school students and with the introduction of students to University life. Scholarship and loan funds have been established as objectives in the Michigan Alumni Ten-Year Program. Other gifts to the University, often suggested by campus officials, have been made by these local groups, alumni and alumnae. The clubs have been able to facilitate Page  383close contact with the campus, as their meetings offer an ideal opportunity for visits by speakers from Ann Arbor.

At the time of the reorganization in 1923 there was written into the constitution a provision for holding national meetings once every three years — therefore called triennials. The first was held in Detroit in 1925, the second in Chicago in 1928, the third in Cleveland in 1931, the fourth in Grand Rapids in 1933, and the fifth in Ann Arbor in connection with the 1937 celebration. The University cooperated with the Alumni Association in planning these meetings, with the result that they had an educational phase as well as the anticipated alumni reunion and conference aspect. No regular triennial meeting, however, was held in 1940, since it was felt that other meetings could well take the place of such a formalized program.


Editorial. Mich. Univ. Mag., 2 (1868): 230.
The Michigan Alumnus, Vols. 1-46 (1894-1940).
MS, "Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association," 1897-1940.
Tapping, T. Hawley. "The Field Secretary."Rept. … Ann. Conf. Amer. Alum. Counc., 14 (1927): 97-104.
Tapping, T. Hawley. "The Practical Organization of Clubs."Rept. … Ann. Conf. Amer. Alum. Counc., 26 (1940): 104-12.


THE Michigan Alumni Ten-Year Program, designed as a tangible means by which the graduates and former students of the University could evince their interest in the institution, was announced formally on March 12, 1927. A few days later, March 18, it was described in a broadcast by Elmer J. Ottaway, President of the Alumni Association, as a "new and higher ideal of alumni relations."

This ten-year program was Ottaway's conception. When he was asked, in the summer of 1926, to accept election as president of the Alumni Association, he stated that he did not desire the honor unless he could devise some constructive program for the organization. The Michigan Alumni Ten-Year Program was the result of his study of the problem and of his numerous conferences with alumni leaders and with University officers.

Ottaway accepted the presidency on December 14 and at once issued to the alumni a call to service, which was really an announcement of the ten-year program. As the project developed it became a threefold program — first, a survey of the alumni to determine their interests and attitude; second, participation in President Little's plan for an Alumni University and the development, within the Alumni Association, of a perfected mechanism of alumni activity; and, third, the cataloguing of the special needs of the University and the satisfaction of those needs by the alumni, either as groups or as individuals.

The program was launched officially at the third national dinner of the Alumni Association at the Michigan Union in Ann Arbor on January 21, 1928, when President Little described his Alumni University idea and President Ottaway told of the Alumni Association plans. Several months later, at the second triennial Page  384celebration of University of Michigan clubs in Chicago, May 10-12, the University of Michigan clubs of Detroit and Ann Arbor announced the adoption of projects in the program, Ann Arbor offering its help in the financing of a campanile and Detroit affirming its espousal of the campus dormitory program.

The ten-year program, in its financial phase, is unique among alumni efforts in behalf of educational institutions. It abandoned, in principle, the popular scheme of alumni funds, that is, of general campaigns for the raising of endowment or operating funds, and has also avoided the plan of a widespread solicitation of money for any large, but specific, enterprise. It is based, primarily, on the idea that each individual or group shall undertake to satisfy some specific need of the University, large or small, and that such accomplishment is the sole achievement of that individual or group.

Its name, as time developed, proved a not particularly happy one. Originally, it was believed that the goal could be accomplished in ten years and that an "achievement celebration" could be held at the time of the observance of the University's centennial in 1937. But before the ten-year period had passed the Regents recognized the real birth date of the University of Michigan as August 26, 1817, and — still more important — the depression prevented the alumni from giving financial help to the University.

As the years went by the Michigan Alumni Ten-Year Program became, in popular conception, not the threefold project, but merely the financial program of the alumni. President Little resigned and the Alumni University idea took on a different character. The survey of the alumni was completed, the progressive steps in the internal organization of the Alumni Association were accomplished, and the alumni turned to this third phase of Ottaway's proposals.

In spite of all obstacles the program prospered. University of Michigan clubs, alumni class organizations, and individuals espoused their own particular objectives and carried them to completion. The largest project adopted was the faculty salary endowment fund of the University of Michigan Club of New York City. An endowment of $250,000 was set as the goal, and more than $200,000 was pledged, for payment over a ten-year period. By 1939 more than half of this amount had been paid in to the University, the depression notwithstanding. In his statement to the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association in June, 1939, the general secretary announced that upwards of $182,000 had passed through the Alumni Association offices, in transit to the University, representing contributions of the alumni under the ten-year program. This was in addition to the funds which went directly to the University from the alumni under the program.

Projects of many types, with a variety of conditions attached, have been adopted by the alumni as objectives in the Michigan Alumni Ten-Year Program. In 1928 President Little had a comprehensive statement of the special needs of the University prepared. This statement gave to the alumni the information they needed in selecting their projects. From time to time alumni and University officials suggested additional projects, and in many cases these were adopted as objectives. In March, 1938, President Ruthven completed another survey of University needs, which was published as a second roster of ten-year program objectives in the March 26 issue of the Michigan Alumnus, and in the Alumni Relations Twenty-Sixth General Bulletin.

By 1934 the program had proven so popular with the alumni and had become such an effective medium for alumni support of the University that steps were taken to make it a continuing activity. Page  385In the fall of that year the Board of Directors decreed that the program, unchanged in name, should be a continuous alumni effort, divided into ten-year cycles, with a so-called "jubilee" at each succeeding anniversary of the launching of the program. At this jubilee there was to be an accounting of progress, an announcement of new objectives selected, and a renewed emphasis on the endeavor.

The first of these jubilees came during the 1937 celebration on the campus. Held at about the time originally planned for the depression-retarded conclusion of the program, the jubilee was one of the high lights of the celebration. Nearly five hundred representatives of University of Michigan clubs and alumni classes gathered at luncheon in the ballroom of the Michigan Union, and there heard a roll call of the projects adopted, completed, or under way. Thirty-seven of the more than forty projects were reported.


The Michigan Alumnus, Vols. 34-46 (1927-40).
MS, "Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association," 1927-40.
"The Needs of the University."Univ. Mich. Bur. Alum. Rel., Gen. Bull., No. 26 (1938): 7-9.
President's Report, Univ. Mich., 1927-40.
A University Between Two Centuries: the Proceedings of the 1937 Celebration of the University of Michigan. Ed. by Wilfred B. Shaw. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich. Press, 1937. Pp. 443-54.


THE University of Michigan was among the first of the large universities to become coeducational; its first woman student came in February, 1870, and its first women graduates received their degrees in 1871.

University of Michigan women were not formally united in an alumnae body of their own until 1917, but from the first they were distinguished in the field of general alumnae organization. They took a leading part in building up the society now called the American Association of University Women, which was founded as the Association of Collegiate Alumnae and retained that name until 1921. In 1881 three Michigan alumnae in the East were invited to a meeting of a number of college women, including Marion Talbot (Boston '80, A.M. ibid. '82), the originator of the idea of forming such a society, and there helped to lay the plans for its immediate organization.

One of the Michigan women was at that time the acting president of Wellesley College, Alice Elvira Freeman ('76, Ph.D. hon. '82), well known as Alice Freeman Palmer. It was she who proposed the resolution "that a meeting be called for the purpose of organizing an association of women college graduates, with headquarters at Boston" (Talbot and Rosenberry, p. 10). The society was established early in 1882. The only other state university represented by charter members was Wisconsin; the other coeducational institutions were Oberlin College, Boston University, and Cornell University. The women's colleges represented were Vassar, Smith, and Wellesley.

Alice Freeman (Palmer) was twice president of the Association, from 1885 to 1887 and again for the term 1889-90. As a member of its first committee on the admission of institutions she helped to establish the Association's strict accrediting Page  386policy for selecting the colleges whose graduates were to be considered eligible for membership. This policy was directly responsible for raising both instructional standards and living conditions for women students throughout the United States, but, in order to be effective, had to be maintained for a number of years. Such an undertaking was especially difficult in the formative period of the society, when members and funds were badly needed, but as soon as the policy began to prove successful the prestige of the Association itself was strengthened. After her presidency of Wellesley College and her marriage, Mrs. Palmer spent three years at the University of Chicago, where, as one of the first deans of women, she ably demonstrated the possibilities of that office for bettering the lot of the undergraduate woman.

Among other early leaders in the movement to improve women's education was Lucy Maynard Salmon ('76, A.M. '83). She, too, was a charter member of the Association, as well as Professor of History at Vassar College and author of Education in Michigan During the Territorial Period (1885).

Thus, indirectly, the University has always participated in the affairs of the Association through the membership of its alumnae; more direct and local participation came somewhat later. A Midwestern subdivision, covering several of the north central states, was formed only a year after the Association of Collegiate Alumnae was established, but seceded before long (1884), because of some issue involving Western freedom and the authority of the central organization in the East. It remained autonomous until 1889, although for all practical purposes it functioned as if it were a Western section of the same organization. This regional society, which convened at Ann Arbor in 1888, offered a graduate fellowship of $350 that year, to be won in competition — probably the first fellowship for a woman and given by women. The winner, Ida Maria Street (Vassar '80, A.M. Michigan '89), used the proceeds for a year's graduate study at the University of Michigan. The award in 1889 went to a Michigan graduate, Arlisle Margaret Young ('89, A.M. '90).

Among the local chapters that became branches of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae in the merger of 1889 was one with both Detroit and Ann Arbor residents as members, but centered in Detroit. A separate Ann Arbor branch was formed in 1902, and has continued to hold an important place in the activities of collegiate alumnae in this city, where the national convention met in 1912.

For some time before the World War the Association of Collegiate Alumnae sponsored, in connection with its biennial convention, a conference of deans of the institutions which it accredited. In 1915 a similar conference for professors was launched, and before 1917 a third conference of a similar nature for representatives of the institutional alumnae organizations, called the "alumnae conference," had been begun. In that year an invitation to the "alumnae conference" in Washington was extended to the alumnae organization of the University of Michigan, but, partly because Michigan was a coeducational institution and its Alumni Association was therefore not an alumnae association as well, as in a women's college, no such organization had ever been built up. There were fourteen alumnae clubs at various points throughout the country, which, except as units of the Alumni Association, had no co-ordinated program. The alumnae leaders now saw in such a possible organization a means of meeting certain University needs and those of its women students.

The Alumni Association provided $150 for the institutional membership fee, and Page  387the full number of delegates allowed the new organization, on the basis of the total number of the University's living alumnae, attended. This was the first coeducational institution represented, only the larger Eastern colleges for women having previously sent delegates. The first entry in the official alumnae record was dated 1917 and was a report of this convention — a turning point in the alumnae history of the University. Knowing that the quotas allotted to the various colleges were strictly proportional, the Michigan representatives were surprised to find that the Smith College delegation was the only one larger than their own. They decided that the Michigan alumnae, through their new organization, should become comparable in accomplishment, and they determined "to do more for Michigan women and to stand loyally by all interests and achievements of the University as expressed through her Alumni Association."

The first functioning organization was a central correspondence committee of three members: Mary Bartron (Mrs. William D.) Henderson ('04) of Ann Arbor, Marie Louise Hall (Mrs. Charles H.) Walker ('77) of Toledo, and Miss Claire Mabel Sanders ('04) of Detroit. The purpose of this committee was to keep closely in touch with the life and the needs of the women at the University and to report to the alumnae. The whole plan was an effort to give the Alumni Association added support from the women. This alumnae organization was to be an integral part of the Alumni Association, and its sole purpose was to be of service to the University, with its activities centering around the needs of the women students.

From the beginning, interest in the new organization was spirited. The fourteen alumnae groups which were known to be organized in 1917 were those of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New York, Pasadena, Philadelphia, Saginaw, St. Louis, Toledo, and Washington. Scattered as they were, they had until that time acted independently of one another, and the first task of the central correspondence committee was to build up an effective, unified association by co-ordinating their activities. At a meeting of all alumnae, called at Commencement time, 1917, alumnae affairs were thoroughly considered and an organization was effected. By this plan, a corresponding member of each group was appointed to suggest to the committee projects important for University women.

After a canvass in 1914 had revealed a need of a women's residence, Detroit alumnae had assumed the responsibility of adding to the funds of the Women's League already available for the purpose. The other alumnae, who later joined them, stipulated that this should be a self-help house, the students sharing the duties of maintenance. A beautiful old home on Washtenaw Avenue was purchased in 1917, at a final cost of about $18,000, and was occupied until it was razed for the extension of Forest Avenue. In May, 1926, the Regents acquired the spacious old Harriman residence, on the triangle bounded by Washtenaw, Geddes, and Forest Avenues, and made it "definitely and permanently" a residence for women. The valuation of this property by the University in June, 1940, was over $49,000.

Alumnae House is still regarded by the alumnae as their favorite project, for in its existence of over twenty years it has more than justified the faith with which it was established. It furnishes a pleasant home and congenial companionship to a group of eighteen girls. No finer group spirit is found in any house or dormitory at the University, and for the past two years it has carried off the highest record for scholarship on the campus. This project was not achieved without united Page  388effort, hard work, and a small debt, but it proved to the alumnae that their organization was of value.

The three years 1917-20 were spent in removing the debt from Alumnae House, in perfecting the alumnae organization as a part of the Alumni Association, in order that it might work for the mutual benefit of both groups, and in centralizing alumnae effort in the further founding of University of Michigan alumnae chapters, or groups, throughout the United States (see Part II: Alumni Clubs and Groups).

With the continued growth of alumnae groups, both in numbers and in strength, it was felt that the name central correspondence committee no longer represented the real function of the central organization. Accordingly, in 1920, the name was changed to Alumnae Council of the Alumni Association. A representative from every organized group was taken into membership on the new Council. In 1921, a constitution, basically the same as the one used today, was adopted.

In 1920 the president of the Women's League reported to the central correspondence committee (then often called the C. C. C.) that the greatest need and the greatest interest of the undergraduate women centered in the hope for a women's building. With the ever increasing enrollment, a place in which to carry on women's activities had become almost a necessity. Barbour Gymnasium, used as headquarters, had been built when there were about four hundred women students on the campus. Although this number had increased by 1920 to some sixteen hundred, no extension of facilities had been made to meet the social and educational requirements of so large a group. Committees and special gatherings tumbled over one another as they met in the corners of Barbour Gymnasium, or were crowded out altogether, and the constructive work of developing a general social program for all girls on the campus was badly hampered. As evidence of the earnestness of their proposal, the undergraduate women, in 1921, through the president of the Women's League, offered a sum of $1,200 which had already been set aside by women's organizations on the campus for financing a campaign for such a women's building (see Part VIII: Michigan League Building; Part IX: Michigan League).

In January, 1921, the Alumnae Council voted to embark on a campaign to raise $1,000,000 for a women's building. Once the campaign was launched, the alumnae met the challenge. An attempt was made to reach every alumna and invite her to become a member of the new Women's League. Organized groups gladly took the responsibility of raising campaign expenses in addition to pledging the quotas assigned to them. A. B. Pond and I. K. Pond, who had designed the Michigan Union, were selected as architects. New and unusual moneymaking ideas were devised as the alumnae entered upon five long years of hard and constant work.

Always in the background, in loyal support of the alumnae, were the Regents, the president of the University, and the Alumni Association, whose moral support and belief in the project carried the women through many a depressing situation. The Regents promised a site for the building as soon as half the required sum should be raised. In 1926 this sum was on hand, and the Regents, therefore, gave the land on which the building now stands. By 1927 the whole million was pledged and the building was assured. The cornerstone was laid March 29, 1928, and on June of the following year the formal dedication took place.

Today, as the League hums with life and activity, serving the purpose of a perfectly equipped women's center for students, alumnae, and the University Page  389community, one wonders how life at the University ever went on without it.

The League, the greatest achievement of Michigan women to date, could never have been built without the unflagging energy and the superb leadership of Mrs. Mary Bartron Henderson, Executive Secretary of the Alumnae Council. She was a woman who never knew the meaning of discouragement and who never admitted a failure. Her vision and her will to succeed carried the project to successful completion. When Mrs. Henderson retired from the secretaryship, in June, 1930, she was succeeded by Marguerite Chapin (Mrs. Edward D.) Maire ('20). Mrs. Maire left the position in February, 1932, and was followed by the present Executive Secretary, Lucile Bailey (Mrs. Seymour B.) Conger ('04).

The Council still follows the plan of organization adopted twenty years ago, with the national chairman, the Board of Directors, and the Council forming the governing body. Through the simple method of direct representation on the national Alumnae Council, each group has a feeling of vital participation in the shaping of alumnae policy, a fact which has contributed largely to the continued success of the organization. At present about fifty groups are represented at the three Council meetings held annually in Ann Arbor. All projects are sponsored and developed by the Council as a whole with the full consent of all local groups and with their pledged support. In addition to this centralized work, many groups have extended their usefulness by recruiting valuable students for the University, by promoting student-alumnae relations, by assembling information concerning alumnae in various fields, and by establishing local loan or scholarship funds (see Part II: Alumnae Fellowship and Scholarship Program).

The relationship of the Alumnae Council to the Alumni Association remains almost unique in the history of alumni activities. Though an integral part of the Alumni Association, the Council maintains freedom of activity through its own national organization. Though alumnae projects to be undertaken and the method of developing them are left to the alumnae, they are never undertaken without the full consent and approval of the president of the Alumni Association and the approval of the Board of Regents. To tie the relationships of the two bodies more closely, the Council since 1923 has been represented on the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association by two alumnae. The University of Michigan is the only large state university enjoying such an organization and the only state university with so great a record of achievement credited to its alumnae — an adequate proof of the practicability of this form of alumnae organization.


The Michigan Alumnus, Vols. 1-46 (1894-1940).
MS, "Minutes of the Alumnae Council [Central Correspondence Committee, 1917-20]," 1917-40.
MS, "Minutes of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association," 1898-1940.
Talbot, Marion, , and Lois K. M. Rosenberry. The History of the American Association of University Women, 1881-1931. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1931.
Page  390


UNTIL January, 1930, the alumnae, absorbed with the financing and erection of the Michigan League Building, could not participate in the University's ten-year program. With the League completed, however, attention and interest were directed toward the selection of some special project which would fit into that program. The Alumnae Council, after considering the various existing needs enumerated by the University, and after consulting with Dean Huber of the Graduate School and General Secretary Tapping of the Alumni Association, adopted a program of student aid based on broad and flexible lines. This program provided for the immediate awarding of current scholarships and fellowships and for the establishment of permanent endowments in $10,000 units as basic funds for graduate fellowships.

In this program, the general aim has been to fulfill the original purpose of the organization, that is, "to assist the University through special attention to the needs of the women on campus," and the more specific aims have been (a) to help the women students who were poor in purse but gifted in intellect and (b) to co-operate with the Graduate School in maintaining the highest standards of advanced scholarship and thus bring added prestige to the University among scholars and leaders of thought.

In the beginning no goal was set as to the amount to be raised and no time limit was put upon this project, as this is a type of work which can continue through the years and one which always claims the interest and support of University women. It is hoped that eventually the sum of $150,000 will be credited to alumnae gifts for this purpose.

Machinery for the development of this program was immediately set up, and alumnae groups were invited to participate. Detroit took the initial step in establishing a fellowship in memory of Lucy Elliott, a well-known and beloved alumna of Detroit who met a tragic death in 1930. Gifts contributed in her memory made up a capital sum of $12,000, which the University holds in trust and the increment from which maintains an annual award known as the Lucy Elliott fellowship. This was the first capital fund or endowment to be completed by University of Michigan alumnae.

The undergraduate women, who have traditionally shared in the alumnae plans (see Part IX: Michigan League), followed shortly with their plan to establish the Alice Crocker Lloyd fellowship fund, with a capital investment of $15,000 — a project which is fast approaching completion. The Elliott and Lloyd fellowships are to be used solely for supporting graduate women. Designed both to bring to the campus outstanding graduates of other institutions and to enable University of Michigan graduates to continue their studies wherever the provisions for instruction and research are most advantageous, these fellowships should produce rather farreaching benefits for the University.

In addition to these capital funds, (1) memorial scholarships have frequently been included in the program; (2) current awards, both for graduate students and for junior and senior women, have been contributed by various alumnae Page  391groups; and (3) loan funds, through which many excellent students have been sent to the University, have been built up in various cities and have come into very active use. Scholarship and fellowship funds to be administered by the University and the Council have been contributed by alumnae in Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Marshall, Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and in the region of San Francisco Bay; loan funds and scholarships locally administered have been made available in Pontiac, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Royal Oak, Bay City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Buffalo, and other cities. Aside from the permanent graduate fellowship endowments, the scholarship aid contributed by the alumnae to date has exceeded $21,000.

The program has lately taken on new form in the plan for a $50,000 women's co-operative dormitory, in which residence is to be based on high scholarship. The dormitory is to be a memorial to Mrs. W. D. Henderson, and the residents will be known as Henderson scholars. This will be one more step toward the $150,000 goal.


Calendar, Univ. Mich., 1896-1914.
Catalogue …, Univ. Mich., 1914-23.
Catalogue and Register, Univ. Mich., 1923-27.
General Register Issue, Univ. Mich., 1927-28.
The Michigan Alumnus, Vols. 3-46 (1896-1940).
MS, "Minutes of the Alumnae Council," 1917-40.
Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1917-40.
Scholarships, Fellowships, Prizes, and Loan Funds (title varies), Univ. Mich., 1928-40.


FROM its earliest years the University of Michigan published occasional records of its students and alumni, although these publications were, it has been discovered, more or less incomplete. In 1849 and again in 1852 there appeared a Latin "Alumnorum Catalogus" (see Part VIII: Official Publications, for a more extended account of University publications). This first catalogue contained lists of the Regents and alumni of the University from the establishment of the Board in 1837. It also gave a list of the ninety-seven graduates up to that time, arranged according to classes. The first name of each was latinized, if possible: under the class of 1845, the name of Edmundus Fish appeared, and under 1851, Josephus Webb Bancroft and Georgius W. Perry.

Eight years later, in 1860, the University published a General Catalogue … containing lists of officers and alumni from 1837 up to that time, including the alumni of the Department of Medicine and Surgery, from which the first class had been graduated in 1851. In this book the Latin forms were dropped. A third General Catalogue …, published in 1864, contained a register of the additional classes since 1860 and a roster of the Law Department graduates beginning with the first class, that of 1860.

The first and only Triennial Catalogue …, with index, was published by the University in 1871. It listed the names of all the graduates, primarily according Page  392to the degrees received, and secondarily according to classes. The names of students who had received the degree of pharmaceutical chemist were also included for the first time, since the first class was graduated in pharmacy in 1869.

A privately printed venture, The Michigan University Book, 1844-1880, edited by Theodore R. Chase (A.M. '49), was published in Detroit in 1881. Brief biographical notes of officers and alumni appeared in this book for the first time, and the names of the graduates of the College of Dental Surgery and of the Homeopathic Medical College, both of which had been established about five years before, were included. There were also alphabetical and geographical arrangements of the names, and the book was interleaved with blank pages for later notes by purchasers. Although it was not authorized by the University, apparently some contribution was made by the Regents toward its publication.

The value of these periodical lists of alumni had by this time become obvious and led the Regents in 1889 to undertake the publication of a complete General Catalogue … of alumni and students of the University from the time of its organization, and President Angell, Regents Charles S. Draper and Charles R. Whitman, and Professors Isaac N. Demmon and William H. Pettee were appointed to take charge of the work. The results of their labors were the publication in 1891 of a General Catalogue of Officers and Students, 1837-1890, and the real beginning of the department of the University later known as the Alumni Catalog Office (and as the Alumni Catalog Office since 1933). It was several years, however, before the first steps toward systematic organization of this work were undertaken.

Professor Demmon for some time carried on the recording of the names and addresses of the alumni as a labor of love; but when the Alumni Association was reorganized in 1897, the maintenance of the catalogue of alumni was recognized as one of its duties by the Regents' action appropriating $25 for a "catalogue case"; and in 1901 the sum of $500 was granted the Association for the purpose of "keeping at all times a correct list of the alumni of the University in such a manner as to be ready for publication at any time in the General Catalogue …" (R.P., 1896-1901, p. 651).

This program was carried on in connection with the Alumni Association by Professor Demmon, and in 1901 and 1911 the second and third general catalogues were published under his editorship, a monument to his patience and painstaking care. His intimate knowledge of the University and its thousands of alumni formed a solid basis upon which the present remarkably complete records of its faculty and alumni rest.

After the publication of the third general Catalogue of Graduates … it became apparent that the appropriation was far from sufficient to maintain the catalogue satisfactorily, in view of the continually increasing size of the alumni body. Accordingly, in 1912, the University created a separate alumni catalogue organization and placed it under the general charge of Professor Demmon. This was installed in the basement of Alumni Memorial Hall, in the offices now occupied by the Alumni Association, and was adjacent to the editorial room of the Michigan Alumnus. By the same action of the Regents the general Alumni Association was relieved of further responsibility in connection with the general catalogue.

The last general alumni catalogue of the University, covering the years through 1921, was published in 1923, under the editorship of Harley L. Sensemann ('11, Page  393A.M. '15), who succeeded Demmon as Director of the Alumni Catalogue Office in 1915. This also followed the plan of the three preceding general catalogues.

Upon Sensemann's resignation in 1925, Mrs. Lunette Hadley was appointed Director.

As may be seen, it had been the custom of the University in the past to publish a general catalogue decennially. If this plan had been pursued, another catalogue would have been published in 1931, but the Regents voted in 1929 not to publish one at that time. This action was based on the expense of publication and on the fact that the alphabetical and geographical lists of alumni are on file in the Alumni Catalog Office for proper consultation.

The function of the Alumni Catalog Office is twofold: (a) to keep for the University certain official records, and (b) to maintain a directory for the purpose of serving the alumni. The office at present possesses: (1) the early registration books and student registration cards to date, (2) the diploma fee cards, (3) the corrected copies of all annual catalogues, (4) the necrology file, containing obituary data, and records of all deceased alumni, (5) bound copies of the Regents' Proceedings, (6) the files of approximately 99,000 folders containing biographical material, registration cards, correspondence, circulars, etc., (7) the alphabetical card file of full names, degrees, years of attendance if no degree, and latest address of all living former students, as well as the names and degrees (or years of attendance) of all deceased alumni, (8) the card file of complete and detailed military record of University of Michigan men and women who served in the Mexican, Civil, Spanish-American, and World wars, (9) the files of University of Michigan men who died while serving in the first World War or as a result of such service, (10) the geographical files of addressograph stencils of all living graduates and former students, and an addressograph-plate list of all graduates since 1921 by schools and colleges, (11) three addressograph machines and two electric graphotypes, (12) the folder file of all past and present administrative officers and teaching faculty members of the University, (13) complete undergraduate files from the Registrar's Office since 1937, and (14) a large collection of various directories and other miscellaneous material.

Many supplementary addressograph-plate lists are also made up and kept for addressing purposes. These include lists for many fraternities, honorary societies, local churches, nearly all campus departments, the University faculty, local clubs of the Alumni Association, the State Bar of Michigan, editors of weekly and daily newspapers, teachers within the state, and many others. Many of these groups are addressed weekly. The financial charges for such labor are added to the annual budget of the Alumni Catalog Office.

The complete alumni body is addressed many times each year by the director of alumni relations and others, and there is less than a 2 per cent return of unclaimed mail. Nearly all schools and colleges of the University address their own graduates periodically. The list is used as a basis of all alumni and alumnae club organizations and for the preparation of all such special meetings as class reunions. An address or information is not given out for any purpose that might be a source of annoyance to the alumni.

At the present time, the Alumni Catalog Office contains detailed information of a chronological nature of every alumnus from the time of his application for admission until he finally leaves the University, and all subsequent information about him or her is carefully catalogued. Page  394Thus it is made possible for those needing biographical information to obtain such data with ease and accuracy. Approximately three thousand changes of address are entered each month.

The Alumni Catalog Office prepares a necrology list which appears in alternating issues of the Michigan Alumnus, and at the end of each year the list of deaths is published in pamphlet form.

In 1930, the work of the Alumni Catalog Office had entirely outgrown the room which it had originally occupied. At this time the Alumni Association vacated its adjacent editorial rooms, and this space was added to the original quarters used for the alumni catalogue work. The long hall leading to these rooms was used for biographical files.

The number of alumni has nearly doubled since 1921. The staff has been gradually increased until it now consists of six persons in addition to the director. The space utilized by this University unit again became entirely inadequate for its efficient operation. When the University Club moved to the Michigan Union Building in 1938 (see Part II: University Club), the large, northwest, basement room formerly occupied by the club at last provided commodious quarters for the Alumni Catalog Office.

The following summary indicates the scope of the work of this office:

    Total number of degrees conferred, 1845-July 1, 1940
  • 88,287
  • Total number of persons who have received degrees, 1845-July 1, 1940
  • 76,280
  • Number of nongraduates in all schools and colleges, calculated to July 1, 1938
  • 48,510
  • Total number of former students, including graduates to July 1, 1940, and nongraduates to July 1, 1938
  • 124,790
  • Total number of former students known to be deceased (graduates, 14,518; nongraduates, 11,358)
  • 25,876
  • Total number of living alumni (graduates, 61,762; nongraduates, 37,152)
  • 98,914

Calendar, Univ. Mich., 1871-1914.
Catalogue …, Univ. Mich., 1844-71, 1914-28.
"Catalogus Senatus Academici … Alumnorum Catalogus."Catalogue …, Univ. Mich., 1849, pp. 26-27.
"Catalogus Senatus Academici … Alumnorum Catalogus."Catalogue …, Univ. Mich., 1852, pp. xxv-xxvii.
Chase, Theodore R. (Comp.). The Michigan University Book, 1844-1880. Detroit: Richmond, Backus and Co., 1881.
Death Notices …, Univ. Mich., 1913-40.
General Register Issue, Univ. Mich., 1928-40.
The Michigan Alumnus, Vols. 1-46 (1894-1940).
President's Report, Univ. Mich., 1871, pp. 12-13.
Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1864-1937. (R.P.)
School of Dentistry Alumni Bulletin, Univ. Mich., 1936-40.
State University of Michigan. General Catalogue of Officers and Graduates from Its Organization in 1837 to 1860. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1861.
(Triennial) Catalogue of the Academic Senate of the University of Michigan … Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1871.
University of Michigan. Catalogue of Graduates, Non-Graduates, Officers, and Members of the Faculties, 1837-1921. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1923.
University of Michigan. A General Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates from Its Organization in 1837 to 1864. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1864. (Alumni Cat., 1864.)
University of Michigan. General Catalogue of Officers and Students, 1837-1890. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1891.
University of Michigan — General Catalogue of Officers and Students, 1837-1911. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1912.
University of Michigan Regents' Proceedings…, 1837-1864. Ed. by Isaac N. Demmon. Ann Arbor: Univ. Mich., 1915.
Page  395


The Michigan Alumnus is the oldest existing alumni publication in the country, with the exception of the Yale Alumni News, and was the first alumni monthly. It was established in 1894 by Alvick A. Pearson ('94), and for some years was continued as a private venture. The first issue contained as its leading article "The Alumni Question — A Review," by Ralph Stone (Swarthmore '89, Michigan '92l), in addition to the class notes, University news, and comment and book reviews which have always formed a feature of the publication. During the first years of publication of the Alumnus, the Commencement Annual, containing a list of the graduating classes and the Class Day and Commencement speeches, which had been published in the University since 1881, was included as a special number of the Alumnus.

Growth of the magazine was slow, however, and in 1898, after the Alumni Association had been reorganized through the consolidation of the departmental organizations, one of the first actions taken by the new Board of Directors was the purchase of the magazine. The subscription price was continued at one dollar a year, and the publication was mailed to all the members of the Alumni Association. Thus, in practice, the subscription payments to the Alumnus became the annual fees of the organization.

James H. Prentiss ('96), just appointed General Secretary of the Alumni Association, became editor-in-chief, Louis A. Pratt ('96), editor of the magazine at the time of its purchase, remained as managing editor, and Professor F. N. Scott ('84, Ph.D. '89) served as University editor. His task was the preparation of news of the University for publication in the alumni magazine. This news was also published in a little fortnightly bulletin known as the News-Letter, which was sent out to the press of the state in the University's first news-service program (see Part II: University News Service). For this service the Alumnus received an appropriation of $100 from the University.

When Shirley W. Smith ('97, A.M. '00) became General Secretary of the Alumni Association in 1901, the monthly issues of the Alumnus were made larger and the appropriation for the News-Letter was increased to $300. In 1902 the total number of subscribers to the Alumnus was 2,849. During the next few years the publication gradually became larger and had more and more subscriptions. In 1904 Wilfred B. Shaw became General Secretary of the Alumni Association and also editor of the Michigan Alumnus. He continued the general form and policy of the magazine, making modifications and improvements in its general appearance as fast as they were justified by the increasing subscription list. This list comprised 7,000 subscriptions in 1907, including copies sent to the senior class.

During the first World War the number of subscribers decreased considerably, but in the expansion after the end of the war the subscription list rapidly grew, so that in 1926 the total was about eleven thousand. The period 1930-39 again saw a circulation loss.

For some time it had been felt desirable to bring the news of the campus and the report of athletic events more promptly to the alumni than was possible in the old monthly form. Therefore, in an editorial in the March, 1910, issue, a change from a monthly to a weekly, with the addition of a quarterly review, Page  396was suggested, but it was not until 1921 that the change to a weekly form for the magazine was authorized by the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association (see Part VIII: Michigan Alumnus Quarterly Review).

The Michigan Alumnus was published as a weekly until the next important change, in 1934. At that time it was made a fortnightly, with the Quarterly Review issues included in the publication schedule. Although "fortnightly" best describes the scheduled appearances of the magazine, the term is not entirely descriptive of the manner in which the successive numbers are used to meet the varied demands of subscribers. A weekly schedule is maintained for the first two months of the school year, but a single issue per month suffices for the summer.

Shaw had left the Alumni Association in 1929 to become Director of Alumni Relations, and T. Hawley Tapping had assumed the editorship of the Michigan Alumnus. When the Quarterly Review was created, Shaw was named editor of those issues and Tapping retained editorial charge of the other twenty-two.

Progressively the price of the magazine and the dues to the Association have been increased. In 1911 the subscription was increased to $1.50; in 1916 it was advanced to $2.00; and later increases finally, in 1926, brought the subscription price to $4.00.

Meanwhile publication difficulties had led the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association to consider carefully the problem of printing the magazine. In 1924 an Alumni Press was set up, and for the next seven years the Alumnus was printed in its own plant. The Press also printed a number of other publications, as well as occasional books, and for a period its future seemed assured. Opposition from printers to a printing establishment in effect subsidized by the University to the extent of furnishing quarters, power, and light, however, led to eventual abandonment of the enterprise.

Within this period the page-size of the Alumnus was increased and the typography was redesigned to conform to the formats used by other universities in their weekly alumni publications. The adoption of the larger page-size enabled the Alumnus to join with other magazines in a program of selling space to national advertisers.


The Commencement Annual, Univ. Mich., 1881-94.
The Michigan Alumnus, Vols. 1-46 (1894-1940).
MS, "Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association," 1897-1940.
The University of Michigan News-Letter, 1898-1911.
The Michigan Alumnus Quarterly Review Vols. 40-46 (1934-40).