When U-M President Marion L. Burton died in February 1925, so did hopes of President Calvin Coolidge coming to campus as that spring’s commencement speaker.
The friendship between Burton and Coolidge dated to their days in Massachusetts when Coolidge was governor and Burton was president of Smith College.
In June 1924, as U-M president, Burton delivered a rousing nominating speech for Coolidge at the National Republican Convention. The Los Angeles Times depicted Burton as “tall, stalwart, red-headed, sweating, chin-thrusting wrathful.”
It appeared Coolidge planned to reciprocate his friend’s speech with a talk at the University. Reports were that Coolidge planned to accept an invitation from the Board of Regents to address U-M graduates at June 1925 ceremonies. Following Burton’s death, however, Coolidge changed his mind about an Ann Arbor visit.
Sources: New York Times; Los Angeles Times; Marion Leroy Burton papers, Bentley Historical Library
Letter: Marion L. Burton papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan