He had yet to become president, but Dwight D. Eisenhower made a campus appearance—in the virtual sense—in late 1950.
As president of Columbia University, and the leader of Allied troops at the close of World War II, Eisenhower joined in a national celebration of the University’s Michigan Memorial Phoenix project on Oct. 2, 1950.
The Phoenix project was designed to find peaceful uses for atomic energy.
With ceremonies based in Ann Arbor and broadcast nationally to 53 communities by telephone, the University launched a $6.5 million fund drive for the project.
Eisenhower joined in the festivities from State College, Pa., where he was watching his brother, Milton, be inaugurated as president of Penn State College. He had high praise for U-M’s postwar research efforts.
“The work planned by your university is a part of the biggest job of our lives—the battle for freedom. In the long run freedom probably cannot be sustained except in a peaceful world.”
Sources: Michigan Alumnus; New York Times; Los Angeles Times
Eisenhower also made an earlier visit to Ann Arbor: In 1911, as a youth on his way from Abilene, Kansas, to enroll in the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, future President Dwight David Eisenhower stopped briefly in Ann Arbor to visit his older brother Edgar, a scholar enrolled in the University of Michigan Law School.
Photo: Library of Congress