The title Vice-President in Charge of University Relations was first used in 1931 when James B. Bruce, M.D., was appointed to the position and charged with "supervising those activities of the institution in which the University came into contact with groups and individuals away from its own campus."
Dr. Bruce held the vice-presidency, along with various Medical School responsibilities, until October 4, 1942, when he retired at the age of seventy. Throughout his term of office, he was more involved in the areas of adult education and postgraduate medicine than what would now be considered University Relations.
The vice-presidency remained vacant from October of 1942 until December 1, 1944, when Marvin L. Niehuss, Professor of Law, assumed the title.
A first move in the development of a separate University Relations program had taken place earlier in April of 1942, when the University News Service, under Donald K. Anderson, was separated from the Bureau of Alumni Relations and was made an independent department.
It wasn't until early 1946 that the development of a University Relations program-to-be, expanded from the University News Service base, got under way.
Arthur L. Brandon was appointed to the position of Director of Information Services, effective January 1, 1946. He was made "immediately responsible for the public information services of the University." This was to include the University News Service, news photography, and promotional publications. He was to serve in an advisory and consultant capacity to other University officers and departments on matters of publicity and public relations.
Donald K. Anderson, who had enlisted in the Navy in 1943, decided not to return to the University after his discharge, and Cleland B. Wyllie, who had been assistant to the director prior to 27 months of Army service during the war, was moved up to editor of the News Service. Brandon's staff was increased in March of 1946 when Frederick E. Moncrieff was appointed assistant to the editor, and Page 24another addition was made on July 1, 1946, when Miss Alice L. Beeman became an assistant editor. The University's communications program was enlarged on July 5, 1948, when WUOM, an FM radio station, went on the air from new studios on the top floor of the new Administration Building. The transmitter was located on top of Peach Mountain on the Dexter-Pinckney road, west and north of Ann Arbor.
Waldo Abbot, who had been director of the Broadcasting Service since 1925, was in charge of the new station. Up to that time, the Broadcasting Service had prepared programs for use on commercial stations.
Electronic communication continued to expand at the University, and television entered the scene on November 5, 1950, with the inauguration of a series of television hours over WWJ-TV in Detroit. Garnet R. Garrison, who was on the Department of Speech faculty, was appointed director of television.
Out of this start, the present Television Center was developed with oncampus production facilities. Educational programs are produced and shown on television stations across the nation and these programs have consistently won top awards for their excellence.
In the area of the printed word, a Special Publications division was created on January 1, 1949, with Miss Beeman as the head, and the News Service personnel was increased as the flow of news about the University kept expanding.
The first of several stories in the 1950s that required maintenance of strict secrecy was handled successfully with the announcement on May 21, 1951, that Harlan Hatcher would be the new President of the University, succeeding Alexander G. Ruthven. He took office on September 1.
In the administrative changes made by the new President, Marvin L. Niehuss became Vice-President and Dean of Faculties, and Brandon's title was changed to Director of University Relations.
Under University Relations, he was in charge of general public relations and the existing offices of the News Service, Special Publications, and Radio and Television. University Relations also was to be administratively connected with such units as the Development Council (then in process of formation), the Bureau of School Services, and Alumni Relations. The director also was appointed ex officio on several University boards and committees.
Page 25The Development Council evolved out of the fund-raising activities to finance the Phoenix Project, the University's war memorial dedicated to the peaceful uses of atomic energy. Alan W. MacCarthy, who had been campaign manager for the Phoenix Project, was appointed director of the Development Council on September 1, 1951.
MacCarthy's first task, working with Brandon and others, was to develop the plans for a long-range fund-raising program. The Regents approved the Development Council's charter of organization on June 12, 1953.
Objectives of the Development Council were to stimulate further the interest of alumni and friends in the progress of the University; to assist in its public relations, especially as they pertain to special fund-raising; and to coordinate the various fund-raising activities on campus. From its outset, the Development Council has depended heavily upon alumni participation, with its management and policies to be determined by an alumni Board of Directors.
Launching of the Development Council was to be the beginning of an ever-expanding and increasingly important program of providing additional funding for University activities.
In his 1952-53 report to the President, Brandon set forth his philosophy of university public relations:
While it could be said, quite accurately, that nothing the University does is for public-relations effect, it could also be said that everything the University does has public-relations implications. Therefore, in all planning and in all actions there is the necessity for concern for the public welfare as well as for the individuals and groups more specifically served …
Not only in the classrooms and the laboratories but also in the libraries, museums, hospitals, and athletic fields, in the schools and factories, in the offices and on the farms, the University serves the people of Michigan and of other states and nations. This service contributes a large part of the public-relations program. In other words, public relations at Michigan is a supplement or an attachment to the education, training, and research of the University. It is not a program designed for public-relations effect in itself.
Following prolonged negotiations with a committee of the Michigan Press Association, the Regents opened their monthly meetings to the press in September of 1954.
Page 26The year 1954 also was marked by Michigan State College's decision to change its name to Michigan State University, and this created public-relations problems for The University of Michigan. The University's position was not in opposition to Michigan State College becoming a university but centered around the possible confusion which could arise over the choice of the name of Michigan State University. The University of Michigan position never seemed to get through clearly; Michigan State College became Michigan State University, and there is confusion.
On April 12, 1955, the University became the news center of the nation, and possibly the world, as the results of the evaluation of the Salk polio vaccine, conducted by Dr. Thomas Francis, Jr., were announced at the Rackham Building. There was a mad scramble among the huge army of newspaper, radio, and television reporters for the well-concealed news release which had been written by Lou Graff of the University News Service. The story was told in the opening sentence, "The vaccine works. It is safe, effective, and potent."
Cooperation of the University News Service with the athletic department to provide suitable photographic coverage at football games was inaugurated in the fall of 1956 and was to continue for several years. On November 16, 1956, the dedication of the Ford Nuclear Reactor brought attention to the University, and this was followed on December 17, 1956, with announcement of gifts from Ford Motor Company and the Ford Motor Company Fund to establish the Dearborn Center.
Since maintaining secrecy on important stories is a real achievement on a college campus, Brandon took pride in reporting that the Dearborn Center gifts marked the third major story in five years on which security was maintained until announcement time. The others had been the selection of Harlan Hatcher as president and the Salk polio vaccine report.
On August 31, 1957, Brandon resigned his position as Director of University Relations to become a Vice-President at New York University. He had been at the University for twelve years.
There was another departure in 1957 as Waldo Abbot ended thirty-two years as Director of Broadcasting on June 30. University involvement in radio began with "Michigan Nights," broadcast over WJR in Detroit, starting in 1925, and had been expanded to cover educational broadcasts in music, art, and vocational guidance to schools, Page 27as well as a host of adult programs featuring the cultural resources of the University.
Succeeding Brandon as Director of University Relations was Lyle M. Nelson, who had been Assistant to the President and Professor of Journalism at San Francisco State College, although he had been in Ann Arbor from September of 1953 to September of 1955 as Assistant to the President and general secretary of the corporation of the Educational Television and Radio Center.
There were some administrative changes under Nelson. Both radio and television were combined under a director of broadcasting, and Garnet R. Garrison was given the title Director of Broadcasting.
Increasing attention to the area of state and community relations was achieved through the formation of an Office of Public Service with James D. Shortt, Jr., named as Supervisor of State Services, and David S. Pollock serving as Supervisor of Community Services.
The year 1958-59 was one of a budget crisis, and in the belt-tightening action, the operation of WFUM, a station in Flint given to the University in 1952, was discontinued.
In April and May of 1958, the Director of University Relations accompanied President Hatcher, who headed an educational mission to the Soviet Union, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the Ford Foundation. The mission returned, deeply impressed with the support the Soviet Union was giving to higher education.
In 1959-60 the Development Council achieved a long-sought goal: the million-dollar mark in giving was surpassed. A total of $1,381,000 was raised, exclusive of gifts and grants to the second Phoenix Project campaign. The drive to obtain $2 million for the Phoenix Project was nearing a successful finish as the year ended.
Nelson was promoted to Vice-President for University Relations on July 1, 1960. In another reorganization, the office of University Publications was created, with Miss Alice L. Beeman as director. The new office combined Special Publications, Official Publications, and the University Directory.
A highlight of the 1960-61 year for University Relations was the tour of the University's Symphony Band to Russia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, Page 28Rumania, and Poland, starting February 18 and concluding on June 2, 1961, in New York City with a Carnegie Hall concert.
As faculty business manager of the band, James D. Shortt, Jr., was much involved in advance arrangements. Frederick E. Moncrieff, picture editor of the News Service, made the tour as business manager, as well as acting as photographer and press contact man.
What was to become one of the Development Council's most successful fund-raising activities began officially on January 1, 1961, when the Presidents Club was formed. Sixty-three alumni and friends became charter members of the club by promising to give $10,000 at the minimum rate of $1,000 a year or by a sum of $15,000 or more payable through a bequest, life-income gift, or insurance program. By 1971 more than 1,000 members had been recruited for the Presidents Club. More than half of the members had been enlisted through the volunteer efforts of Regent Emeritus Paul Goebel and alumnus Frederick Vogt of Grand Rapids.
Nelson resigned as Vice-President for University Relations in June of 1961, to accept a position at Stanford University. In his final report to the President, Nelson disclosed how the volume of information about the University, as supplied by University Relations, had grown. He quoted these statistics: Radio Station WUOM produced 13,168 programs for 85 Michigan radio stations; the Television Center prepared 2,905 programs for 40 stations across the nation; University Publications turned out 100 publications; the News Service wrote and distributed 2,500 news releases and answered 3,000 requests for information and photographs.
Replacing Nelson was Michael Radock, manager of educational affairs for Ford Motor Company and former Professor of Journalism and Director of Public Relations at Kent State University, who took over as Director of University Relations on July 16, 1961. His title was changed to Vice-President for University Relations on July 1, 1964.
On December 6, 1961, WUOM's programs began reaching a Western Michigan audience as the University's new FM station in Grand Rapids, WVGR, took to the air. The new station was made possible by gifts from alumni and friends under the leadership of Frederick G. Vogt of Grand Rapids.
In an administrative reorganization on July 1, 1962, an Information Service was established with three divisions: News Service, News Photography, and Community Relations Page 29with Cleland B. Wyllie as director.
Earlier in the 1962 year, a program to maintain contact with alumni who are in the mass communications field got started as President Hatcher spoke to a group of these alumni at a luncheon in the Overseas Press Club. Under Radock and Wyllie, what became the Mass Media Alumni program was extended to Chicago, Washington, and Cleveland. Regular contact was achieved by establishing a newsletter which goes out 11 times a year to 1,000 Mass Media Alumni.
"Operation Michigan" was launched in the 1961-62 year when "grass roots" conferences on the future of the University were held in St. Joseph-Benton Harbor, Port Huron, and Kalamazoo, with related meetings in Grand Rapids, Jackson, and Battle Creek. Later, a program which involved bringing alumni and other leaders to the campus for a two-day orientation-type meeting was used to help explain what was going on at the University.
Rules for opening the meetings of the Regents to the public were adopted on April 20, 1962.
The Broadcasting Service, starting in the spring of 1963, began producing a newsreel covering the activities on campus during the year. The film was made available through the Alumni Association and the University's Audio-Visual Center for showing to interested groups.
The annual newsreel has proved to be highly popular. The format was changed in the 1969-70 year to put emphasis on one theme rather than a review of the year. The first theme film, which was completed in January of 1970, was entitled "The Concerned Generation" and dealt with students and student groups who are making positive contributions to the community and to the environment. The second theme film, out in January of 1971, was entitled "They Teach at Michigan" and concentrated on the faculty.
Two activities which were to dominate University Relations and Development activities for several years were launched during 1963-64. The New York firm of Kersting, Brown & Co. studied the University's potential and made a recommendation that a multimillion dollar capital fund be undertaken on a scale never before attempted by any state university.
Planning for the 1967 celebration of the University's sesquicentennial got under way officially with the appointment by President Hatcher of the Central Sesquicentennial Committee. The Vice-President was the Page 30President's representative on the Central Sesquicentennial Committee which had Charles W. Joiner of the Law School as its chairman. A permanent staff was set up in the Michigan Union in September of 1963 with Richard L. Kennedy as the executive director. Kennedy and his staff were a part of University Relations.
In November of 1964, public announcement was made of a $55 Million Capital Fund Campaign. Vice-President Radock assumed administrative responsibility for the big fundraising activity. Regent Paul Goebel served as National Chairman and Jack Shuler as National Alumni Chairman.
The year 1964 was an exciting Rose Bowl year for Michigan. The Vice-President for University Relations served as chairman of the University's Rose Bowl Committee, handling arrangements for the official U-M party which went to Pasadena to see Michigan defeat Oregon State on January 1, 1965.
Despite all of the good news, the 1964-65 year saw the beginning of controversial activities which were to plague University Relations for several years. George Lincoln Rockwell spoke at a Union-sponsored series on political issues. Mario Savio, leader of the Berkeley free-speech movement, addressed a rally on the Diagonal. There was a teach-in on Vietnam, and Marina Oswald, widow of the alleged killer of President Kennedy, enrolled in the English Language Institute.
Late in the 1963-64 year there was another administrative reorganization as the publications and editorial services were moved into Information Services with Alice L. Beeman as the director. Cleland B. Wyllie moved into a position on the Vice-President's staff with a title change that eventually became Director of Media Relations.
The 1964-65 controversies carried over into the 1965-66 year, starting in the fall with a sit-in at the Ann Arbor Draft Board offices that got national attention. On the plus side was the announcement of a $10 million gift from the auto industry under the $55 Million Capital Fund Program to establish a Highway Safety Research Institute.
University Relations concentrated its efforts extensively throughout 1967 in reporting and recording the host of major events, seminars, conferences, and other activities which marked the celebration of the University's sesquicentennial.
Page 31In February of 1967, the University Record was converted into a weekly four-page newsletter for the academic staff to improve internal communications. The 1966-67 year also saw the Alumni Fund surpass the million-dollar mark for the third year in a row.
On March 28, 1967, University Relations' attention was focused on the announcement of the appointment of Robben Fleming as President to succeed Harlan Hatcher. Earlier in the same month, President Hatcher had announced that the $55 Million program already had surpassed that goal by some $3.6 million. The total finally achieved was $72,827,116, a record-setting accomplishment for a state university.
In 1968-69, Radock served as president of the American College Public Relations Association, thus becoming the third head of University Relations at The University of Michigan to be so honored. Brandon had been president of what was then the American College Publicity Association for two years from 1944 to 1946. Nelson was ACPRA president in 1960-61.
The University also has been honored by having three presidents of the American Alumni Council. Wilfred B. Shaw was AAC president in 1915, T. Hawley Tapping in 1950, and Alan W. MacCarthy in 1965.
University Relations' efforts in the area of state and community relations were reorganized on January 1, 1968, when the Office of State and Community Relations was set up to replace the former Office of Public Service. Richard L. Kennedy, who had been the executive director of the Sesquicentennial celebration, became the director of the new office.
Community relations on the Ann Arbor campus, and also at Dearborn and Flint, are a responsibility of the new office. There are supervisors of community relations at Flint and Dearborn. On each of the campuses, the key function in community relations is to provide a constant flow of information both ways between the key organizations and individuals in Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn and the University.
State Relations' services center largely around a Community Leaders' program in which key leaders in twelve Michigan communities work with the citizens of their home city, and once a year are invited to campus for a general orientation of what is happening at the University. The communities currently involved are Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Page 32Grand Rapids, Jackson, Lansing, Livonia, Kalamazoo, Monroe, Pontiac, Saginaw, St. Clair Shores, Traverse City, and Wyandotte.
Visitor and guest relations and administrative responsibility for the publication of the University Record and U-M News also are part of the Office of State and Community Relations.
The Regents further improved relations with the news media when they voted on February 16, 1968, to permit the Order of Business for their regular meetings to be distributed to the media several days in advance of the meeting. In 1970, Broadcasting Services began taping public sessions of the Regents meetings and making summaries available to radio stations in the state.
The importance of raising additional private funds to maintain the University's "vital margin" was recognized in October of 1969 when the Vice-President's title was lengthened to Vice-President for University Relations and Development. The Regents followed the recommendations of a Development Council review committee that more attention be given to the area of fund raising and more recognition given at the executive officer and Regental level.
At the same time, the Regents approved a change in the name of the University's central fund-raising office from Development Council to Development Office and authorized additions to the Development Office staff to make possible more intensive efforts in several fundraising activities.
The change in name was made to distinguish the staff office from the Development Council, which continued to be a volunteer-oriented activity operating under a new charter which was adopted June 11, 1969.
On January 1, 1970, a new organizational setup for University Relations went into effect when Jack H. Hamilton was promoted to Director of University Relations, and Duane H. Gifford became Director of Publications. On February 2, 1970, Louis H. Graff, who had written the Salk polio vaccine story in 1955, returned to the University to become Director of Health Sciences Relations to give more importance to the area of medicine and the health-related sciences which form such a large part of the public-service program of the University.
The vastly changed pattern of University Relations Page 33activities in the period since 1946 was vividly outlined in the Vice-President's report for 1969-70. Vice-President Radock wrote:
Crisis followed by crisis seemed to be the pattern for University Relations and Development in 1969-70, starting in the summer with a coed murder in the area, the South University disorders, and intensifying in the fall with the bookstore dispute and the subsequent sit-in at the Literature, Science, and the Arts Building.
The football team's victory over Ohio State and the subsequent Rose Bowl game tended to change the situation all too briefly. January brought a rash of "political vandalism," in February there were recruiting disruptions, and March brought on the Black Action Movement demands for increased enrollment.
All of these things meant, of course, that much time had to be diverted to handling the demands for information and to intensifying efforts to correct impressions and actual misinformation which tended to arise over most of the crises.
Unrest on the campus and the increased size of the University brought with it a growing problem of keeping the University community adequately and accurately informed.
To help meet this need for better internal communication, the University Record was expanded in October of 1970 to include free distribution to students and administrative staff as well as the faculty. Publication date was changed from Thursday to Monday with weekly publication during the Fall and Winter terms and every other Monday during the Spring-Summer term. Distribution is now achieved largely through stands placed at key areas around the campus.
Earlier communication with the nonacademic staff had been improved through publication of the semimonthly U-M News, which is mailed to the homes of the nonacademic personnel. Internal communication on the campus also has been improved through a 24-hour News Brief service available via telephone by dialing 763-1300. News of what has happened on campus and mention of scheduled events, recorded on tape by University Relations personnel, is updated throughout the regular working hours and at more frequent intervals whenever events dictate.
Other internal communications include reports to the University Community, usually from President Fleming's office, which are processed speedily by the Publications Page 34Office and distributed throughout the campus whenever quick information is deemed necessary. The President also uses a "President's Letter" to communicate at intervals with the faculty.
Although the Regents of the University had recognized the need for getting University news before the people of the State of Michigan as early as 1897, any review of the history of University Relations reveals that the development of comprehensive plans to communicate regularly with all of the University's publics did not get started until early 1946.
And in the twenty-five years that have transpired since 1946, it also is obvious that the problem of achieving adequate communication not only to off-campus publics but also within the campus itself has grown far more complicated.
The University itself has expanded both physically as to plant and also in the number of students and faculty. There has been a big growth in institutes and centers as the volume of research projects soared dramatically. Add to this the student unrest and other problem areas, which not only tend to divert energy from the main communications assignment but also have added the difficult task of sifting the truth out of a variety of conflicting sources.
And on top of all this there has been the electronic revolution with radio and television playing a more important part in communications. This made it necessary to reorient previous efforts which had tended to place the primary emphasis for communication on the printed word.
Besides all of these changes has come the necessity for ever-increasing efforts to provide more funds to keep the University's "vital margin." This has been reflected not only in an increased staff for the Development Office, but also in the change in name from University Relations to University Relations and Development.
As currently organized, University Relations and Development is headed by Vice-President Michael Radock, who reports directly to President Fleming.
Reporting to the Vice-President are four directors. Alan W. MacCarthy is director of the Development Office, Jack H. Hamilton is director of University Relations, Cleland B. Wyllie is director of Media Relations, and Louis Page 35Graff is Health Sciences Relations director. The Vice-President has an administrative assistant, David C. Folsom, and an assistant for special events, James D. Shortt, Jr.
Rounding out the University Relations and Development organization are four units which report to the director of University Relations. Director of Information Services is Joel S. Berger, director of Publications is Duane H. Gifford, Thaddeus M. Bonus is director of State and Community Relations, and Garnet R. Garrison is director of Broadcasting.
The Development Office organization includes major fund-raising programs for the Presidents Club, Annual Giving, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Major Gifts Program, Deferred Giving, and Cultural Activities Program.
Direction for fund-raising activities is provided by the University Relations Steering Committee, headed by the Vice-President for University Relations and Development, which includes among the regular memberships the President of the University, two Regents, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, the President and Executive Director of the Alumni Association, the Director of Development, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Development Council, and chairman of each major Development operating committee.
The Vice-President serves as University liaison officer with the alumni staff and is responsible for the Alumni Records office which contains the University's official records of all alumni and former students, both living and deceased.
University Relations also publishes a quarterly newsletter, The University of Michigan Today, which is sent without charge to all degree holders and nondegree donors.