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September 06, 1990 - Image 73

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-06

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The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 6, 1990 - Page 15

Michigan alums


their marks on history

by Michael Sullivan
Daily Staff Writer
As you \ill be told several dozen
times by University administrators
and hired-smile types, Michigan has
more living alumni than any school
in the United States. Not surpris-
ingly, a few of those thousands of
alumni have left smudge marks on
history. (Some of them, however,
have died since.)
World history will probably re-
member Rauol Wallenberg longer
than any other 'U' alum. Wallen-
berg, son of a Swedish banking
magnate, came to Ann Arbor to
study at the Architecture school.
World War II called him back to Eu-
rope, where he saved tens of thou-
sands of Hungarian Jews from
Hitler's concentration camps.
As the war drew to a close, the
Soviet Union arrested Wallenberg as
*a U.S. spy. Though the Soviets
claim Wallenberg died shortly there-
after, periodical reports suggest he
may have lived a long life in Soviet

In the United States, Michigan is
Gerald Ford's school. The thirty-
eigth president studied economics
and captained the Big Blue football
team. Scenes of running back Jerry
Ford breaking a big run dot most na-
tional broadcast of Wolverine games
and University promotional films.
He will be remembered as the only
president never to be chosen by a na-
tional election, as well as the man
who pardoned Richard Nixon.
At least two other University
alums have eyed the White House.
Law School grad and U.S. Represen-
tative Richard Gephardt lost to
Michael Dukakis in the 1988 demo-
cratic primaries, but may run again.
Thomas Dewey came oh-so-close to
defeating Harry Truman in the 1948
presidential election.
But for a lot of University stu-
dents electoral politics are a sham.
Those who embrace the politics of
protest worship at the shrine of Tom
Hayden, founder of the Students for a
Democratic Society (SDS), and one
of the celebrated Chicago Seven. Lo

few more prizes for writing depress-
ing plays like The Death of a
A good number of other respected
and semi-respectable writers also at-
tended the University. Among them,
poet and Divine Comedy translator
John Ciardi, Cheaper By the Dozen
author Frank Gilbreth and Ordinary
People writer Judith Guest. A
Less traditional writing seems to
be a hotter ticket to fame these days.
Lawrence "Big Chill" Kasdan wrote
the screenplays for a couple George
Lucas flicks - Raiders of the Lost
Ark and Return of the Jedi - before
setting out on his own to direct The
Accidental Tourist and Body Heat.
Cathy Guisewite made her fortune
peddling post-feminist, boomer
angst in the Cathy comic strip.
Two proud holders of Michigan
MBAs have overseen the decline of
major automobile companies. John
Delorean ran Delorean Motor Corp.
straight into the ground and a series
of all-too-public coke deals. General


Motor's size and money might allow Then there are those alums who
it to bounce back from a slow col- literally make the news. As Rosanne
lapse under Roger (and Me) Smith's Rosanna Danna, Gilda Radner ('70),
leadership. contributed an advice column to
Other luckier alums in the busi- Weekend"Update on Saturday Night
ness world, offering hope to eco- Live. Mike Wallace appears every
nomics majors everywhere, include weekend as the anchor of Sixty
Charles Walgreen and Gifford Up- Minutes.
john, who gave their names to a Though today's football and bas-
drugstore chain and a mammoth ketball teams grab more headlines,
dhrgstc co anarmammothMichigan venerable baseball pro-
pivarmaceutical company, respec- gram has contributed more immor-
tivey. tals to its sport Valhalla. Three Uni-
Let us not forget those alums versity alums have plaques in Base-
you've already heard of... stars of ball's Hall of Fame. George Sisler
TV, stage and screen. While James hit over .400 in the '20s. The Me-
Earl Jones of Great White Hope and chanical Man, Charlie Gehringer,
Broadway fame may be the most re- played second base with clocklike
spected actor to attend the Univer- precision for the Tigers in the '20s
sity, most students will be more fa- and '30s.
miliar with Ann B. Davis and, yes, Most signigicantly, Branch Rick-
Madonna (who actually never gradu- ey took his Michigan Law degree to
ated, but lived in Stockwell, "the the major leagues where, he built the
Virgin Vault"). No other school can Gas House Gang of the 30's and
boast of producing such disparate invented the modern farm system.
female role models as Alice of the As we all know Rickey smashed the
Brady Bunch and the recent incama- color barrier by bringing Jackie
tion of the Material Girl. Robinson to Brooklyn in 1947.

and behold, Hayden went on to
marry Jane Fonda for a time, and to-
day serves in the California House of
In the literary world, Arthur
Miller stands head and foot above
other alums. He came to the Univer-
sity to write for The Daily and win
several Hopwood Awards. He won a


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