THE UNIVERSITY CLUB
THE University Club of the University of Michigan may be said to have come into existence, officially, on December 6, 1911, when its constitution was presented to a meeting of eighty-seven potential members and was accepted. That constitution was prepared by a committee consisting of Professors Bates, Bonner, Guthe, Huber, Lane, Novy, Ziwet, and DeMuralt, after a period of discussions and investigations.
Shortly thereafter, at its December meeting, the Board of Regents of the University granted to the club the use of the large room on the basement floor of the newly opened Alumni Memorial Hall. The room was furnished at a cost of $770, and the club started operations.
Professor Carl Leonard DeMuralt was credited by colleagues on the organization committee for furnishing the stimulus to the movement which resulted in the formation of the club. He came to the faculty in 1907 and very soon enlisted the interest of kindred spirits in the formation of an organization to encourage fencing and boxing among faculty members. A group was formed and quarters were rented, an instructor was hired, and new members were solicited. Recruits were few, however, and the thoughts of Professor DeMuralt turned to means for enlisting the interest of others. Out of this came the proposal for a faculty club. He secured the attention of several and the result was the formation of the committee, above named, on November 22, 1911. This committee secured the attention of the faculty and the action which resulted in the adoption of the constitution.
The name "Faculty Club" was retained for only about one year, the title then becoming University Club. At about the same time a prospectus was prepared, calling for the purchase of property near the campus and the erection thereon of a University Club building. An architect's drawing was produced, and plans and specifications were prepared. These plans included space for Page 417fencing and boxing, as did also the original conception of the use of the Alumni Memorial Hall quarters. A request for financial help was refused by the Board of Regents in October of 1912, and from that time on the proposal for a separate building received little attention at University Club meetings. In February, 1912, the Regents also refused to make provision for shower baths in the basement of Alumni Memorial Hall, so the plan for the practice of fencing and boxing in quarters adjacent to the club was abandoned. The resignation of Professor DeMuralt from the faculty in 1913 resulted in the abandonment of plans for any sports adjunct to the club, and they never cropped up again.
The University Club prospered for two decades after it first occupied its new quarters. There was recurrent discussion of a project first proposed in 1911, namely, that the University Club should acquire more elaborate facilities in the Michigan Union, but little save expressed hope came from the debate. When the architects' plans for the Michigan Union were first presented, they included quarters for the University Club, but the proposed wing of the Union designed to contain these clubrooms was not built.
When reduced state appropriations were reflected in faculty salary cuts, club membership began to decrease. Equipment suffered from lack of sufficient maintenance funds. Members realized that their University Club suffered by comparison with similar organizations in other universities. The facilities were admittedly inadequate to the needs of a large university. Six pool and billiard tables, a few unattractive tables for cards and chess, one long table as a "library," and a few lounging chairs comprised the equipment.
In 1936 the Michigan Union projected an addition to the Michigan Union Building. Space was provided for University Club quarters. But funds were not available for the finishing of all the addition. In 1938, however, the Michigan Union financed the completion of all portions of the addition, and the University Club quarters were opened to the members in the fall of that year. The membership jumped from less than two hundred to approximately six hundred during the first year in the new home.
The University Club in the Michigan Union includes a beautiful lounge, two floors in height, with an adjacent library. On the floor below is a spacious recreation room, and very soon another room near by was made available for the serving of lunch to the members. The financial arrangement was most satisfactory to the club, calling for the payment of the entire dues revenue as rental, the Michigan Union to handle all maintenance and operating costs.
MS, "Minutes of the Faculty Club," 1911-12.
MS, "Minutes of the University Club," 1912-40.
"University Club Enjoys Beautiful Home."Mich. Alum., 45 (1938): 143-144.
Editorial (in"Conning the Campus" column). Mich. Alum., 45 (1939): 227.