Did you have a chance to see Gerald R. Ford on one of his many visits to campus? Maybe you remember John F. Kennedy speaking on the steps of the Michigan Union, or you heard LBJ deliver the 1964 commencement address.
Whatever your “presidential” memory, we’d love to hear about it and share it with others. Our list of visits by residents of the White House is not exhaustive, so we’re especially looking forward to learning about appearances we haven’t chronicled.
To add your memory, just e-mail us and we’ll post it to the site.
“In 1964, my fourth-grade class from Mack School took a field trip to hear President Johnson give the U-M commencement speech at the Stadium. Years later, I learned that this had been the historic ‘Great Society’ speech, but as a 10-year-old I was struck by quite another phrase. LBJ mentioned that the big debate now was ‘whether a college should be EDUCATIONAL, or CO-EDUCATIONAL.’ I remember everyone in the stadium laughing, and I thought our president was a pretty funny guy!”
—Ruth Gretzinger (LSA ’84)
“I worked at the Gerald R. Ford Library for
two years. At his School’s dedication, he cracked a joke that
brought the house down. I can’t believe we were laughing with a
former President. I can only imagine what it was like for Michigan
students, and football players, to be taught by him. I learned alot
just from being at the library. As I graduate, I will listen to
another former President, Bill Clinton. More than these memories, I
leave behind my words and deeds. Lead by example. Gerald Ford wrote
an opinion piece in The New York Times; I wrote a letter to
the editor in The Michigan Daily.”
—Michael Kozlowski (LSA ’07)
“Two incidents surrounding the retirement of President Ford’s football number.
1. We were discussing his visit on the phone and I told him we planned on him and Mrs. Ford staying at Inglis House. A couple of days later the Secret Service visited me and told me he could not stay there. It was too hard to protect. In a conversation with the President a couple of days later, I told him we were sorry he couldn’t stay there. He asked, ‘Why not?’ I explained that the Secret Service had told us no. He said, ‘the Secret Service does not tell me where to stay.’ He stayed at Inglis House.
2. At a reception on the morning of the retirement of the jersey at the Bentley Library, I commented to the audience that it was our hope that Michigan athletes would look at that jersey and think ‘this is what a Michigan education and sport involvement can lead to.’ He commented to me after the reception that his hope was the same.”
Former Athletic Director