The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, January 4, 2007 - 3C
U has yet to
announce plans for
a memorial event
Mourners have said goodbye to
former President Gerald Ford in
ceremonies across the nation, but
the University has yet to announce
any plans for a tribute to its most
"There are plans, but a date and
location haven't been finalized," said
Jared Wadley, a University spokes-
man. "Right now it's still national
Wadley said it could still be one
to two weeks before any plans are
made and announced to the public.
has fond memories
* of time with Ford
Indianapolis attorney Earl
Townsend, 92, knew Gerald Ford
firsthand during his time at the
University - they were roommates
during their sophomore and junior
years in the Delta Kappa Epsilon
A transfer student from DePauw
University, Townsend said he was
a "lost soul on campus" until Ford
reached out to him and introduced
him to the fraternity.
Once Townsend became a
DKE brother, his friendship with
the future president blossomed.
Townsend and Ford washed dishes
together for about an hour after all
three meals each day in exchange
for room and board.
They bonded over their dedica-
tion to sports. Townsend starred on
Michigan's varsity basketball team,
while Ford was a football standout.
And though both were talented ath-
letes, Townsend said both he and
Ford maintained excellent grades.
Even though Ford received
offers from both the Detroit Lions
and the Green Bay Packers to play
football, he turned them down to
study law and coach football at Yale.
Townsend said Ford "wanted to get
his education more than anything
Townsend said his favorite mem-
ories of the former president are of
the times he accompanied Ford to
his home in Grand Rapids, where
they would take girls on double
dates at area nightclubs.
After graduating from the Uni-
versity, Townsend and Ford contin-
ued to stay in touch.
Townsend said one of the high-
lights came when his old room-
mate visited him at his Indianapolis
home while serving as president.
Townsend also visited Ford in the
White House several times.
Townsend said that during his
presidency and beyond, "(Ford)
never changed. He was always a
Ford's last visit to
U' was scheduled
Despite plans to come to the dedi-
cation of the University's Weill Hall
- which houses the Gerald R. Ford
School of Public Policy - for what
would have been his last visit to
campus in October, former President
Gerald Ford canceled due to health
At the time of the dedication, Ford,
who graduated in 1935, was 93 and in
declining health. University spokes-
man Jared Wadley said Ford did not
"feel strong enough" to attend.
As late as three days before, Uni-
versity officials expected Ford to
come to the dedication.
In an interview at 3 p.m. on Oct.
10, University President Mary Sue
Coleman said that as far as she knew,
he was corning.
"It's a day-by-day thing," Cole-
man said then. "I haven't heard that
he's not going to be here, so I'm opti-
At the time, Ford was the oldest
living president. In late August, he
was hospitalized for more than two
weeks when doctors performed an
angioplasty to reduce or eliminate
blockages in his coronary arteries.
In September, Coleman said Ford
told her the thought of the new build-
ing was the secret to his longevity.
"He's told us the building is what's
been keeping him alive for the last
two years," Coleman said.
Ford tracked the building's con-
struction regularly through a live
webcam on the School of Public Pol-
"It's been a treat for Mom and Dad
to see the construction of Joan and
Sanford Weill Hall through the web-
cam," Steven Ford, their son, said in a
Members of Ford's family attend-
ed the invitation-only dedication.
From the Oct.12 Daily
Before game, Michigan men honored
By GABE NELSON
PASADENA, Calif. - The American flag at
Monday's Rose Bowl fluttered at half mast,
honoring former President Gerald Ford.
Although it won't make more than a line in
the history books, many Michigan fans at the
game remembered Ford as a diehard booster for
Michigan athletics, willing to express pride in
his alma mater and criticize schools he disliked.
Ford's memorial during the pregame cer-
emonies bore the trappings of a state funeral.
The announcer asked the fans to observe a
moment of silence. Then, in Ford's honor, four
F-16 fighter jets from the California Air Nation-
al Guard flew over the stadium in formation.
Ford's memorial followed a moving video
montage dedicated to former Michigan foot-
ball coach Bo Schembechler. Schembechler
died last month on the eve of the game
between Michigan and Ohio State.
Michigan football players honored both Ford
and Schembechler with helmet stickers that
read "48"-- Ford's jersey number - and "Bo."
While most people in the audience turned
and respectfully watched the homage to Schem-
bechler,some noise echoedthroughthe stadium
during the moment of silence, and two fans in
the Michigan cheeringsectionshouted.
"I love President Ford," yelled one maize-
and-blue-clad fan."BeatSC,"another screamed
just before the moment of silence ended.
Although the shouts were untimely, Ford
would have understood the sentiment, fans
Michigan fans said they rememberedFord's
outspoken support for Michigan athletics,
which stemmed from his three years playing
center and linebacker on the Michigan foot-
ball team between 1932 and 1934.
Mark Sullivan, a University alum who lives
in West Lake Village, Calif., said he remem-
bered seeing Ford speak at a political function
while he lived in Ford's congressional district
in Grand Rapids. Ford was the U.S. represen-
tative for Michigan's 5th Congressional Dis-
trict from 1949 to 1973.
"They asked him what he thought about
Michigan playing USC in the 1970 Rose Bowl
and Ford said 'I hate those guys,"' Sullivan
said. "I just remember that moment."
Lisa Waits, a University alum living in Palo
Alto, Calif., said she respected Ford for pur-
suing a career in politics even though he had
offers to play in the National Football League.
"He embodied the very strong principles
of the University of Michigan," Waits said.
"Everybody liked him."
She said she thought the loss of Schem-
bechler and Ford would motivate the Michi-
gan team to play their best.
Although the game ended up a devastating
loss for Michigan, Ford and Schembechler
will remain symbols of true "Michigan men,"
"Ikeep tellingeverybody we'vegot the 12th
man," Sullivan said. "Actually, we've got 13."
On North Campus, a
president in documents
By JAKE HOLMES
On a cold December afternoon, Ann Arbor
resident Mariann Apley took a walk through
Nichols Arboretum with herthreeyoungehil-
dren and their dog. Even though the children
were on winter break, the family was headed
for the library.
Their destination was North Campus,
home of the Gerald Ford Presidential Library.
The library contains the documents of the
University's most famous alum. There, Apley
explained Ford's life to her children.
"We wanted the kids to think about the
passing of a president," she said. "They kind of
reflected on his life."
Inside the library, poster boards covered
with photographs show different parts of
Ford's life, from his childhood in Grand Rap-
ids to his time in the White House to his later
life in California and Colorado.
The library also opened to the publicFord's
private offices, where he worked when he vis-
ited the library.
Archivist Geir Gundersen said the library
had received many visitors wishing to pay
their respects to Ford.
"There's an appreciation for what Presi-
dent Ford did," Gundersen said.
The library extended its hours last week,
staying open two hours later than normal,
and showed two documentaries on Ford's life
A table in the library holds two, thick con-
dolences books, where visitors can leave mes-
sages that will be sent to the Ford family. Not
everyone in the book was from Ann Arbor:
Visitors hailed from California, Ontario and
Texas, among other places.
"Mr. President, you done good," wrote one
"We had our photo taken with Ford on a
Calvin College Board tour to Washington,
Visitors quietly perused the display boards,
videos and informational signs. Written on
the library's walls are countless anecdotes
Marty Krawczyk drove from Flint to visit
the library. Although he said he didn't know
much about Ford, seeing his death announced
onCNN inspired Krawczyk and his brother to
make the trip to Ann Arbor.
"(Ford) was a great leader, and an outstand-
ing citizen," Krawczyk said.
The Ford library is separate from his muse-
um in Grand Rapids. However, they share an
administration and are effectively different
campuses of one institution.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
J r eCa the football team chose him
It ul t I U i a:tha-nyone else on the
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brothr caue he
exceed'lngly sh ful but
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This photograph and caption appeared in the 1935 edition of the Michiganensian yearbook on a page titled
Hall of Fame. Former President Gerald Ford was voted the most valuable player on the football team in 1934
and was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He graduated from the University in 1935 with a
degree economics and political science.
f first met Gerald Ford when he
visited the University to teach some
classes a few years after he left the
White House. What was striking
about him then and was still true
over 20 years later was his evident
intelligence, quick wit and physical
Here was a man who had been
much maligned as being slow and
clumsy. He was neither. He was
surpassingly knowledgeable about
politics and was witty, athletic and
He also had an astonishing abil-
ity to remember names and faces.
My first meeting with him was at
a luncheon with about 20 people.
Everyone got to shake hands and
say hello, and there was extended
and substantive conversation, but it
was hardly an intimate event. Two
or three years later, on another of his
visits to campus, we shook hands in
a receiving line, and he remembered
my name. I'm told that my experi-
ence was a common one.
Ford's contributions to public
policy are of course many. He was
very much a man of principle, and
his principles delayed for manyyears
the naming of the Gerald R. Ford
School of Public Policy. He was first
contacted about the possibility some-
time around 1980 by Jack Walker,
who was then the head of our public
In those days it was common to get
large federal appropriations for pres-
idential monuments. Walker saw an
opportunity to enhance Michigan's
program if he could get Ford's back-
ing, especially in light of the fact that
Ford was much beloved in Congress.
Ford would have none of it, taking
the principled position that he could
not advocate for any federal spend-
ing on such a project when the feder-
al budget was so seriously in deficit.
In the end it was the University and
private donors that enabled the Ford
School to grow and prosper.
Of course, Ford played an essen-
tial role in mobilizing those donors,
and he and his wife Betty made sig-
nificant financial contributions.
Much has been written in the past
week about the moment when Ford
become president and how much
his honesty and genuineness meant
to the country at a terrible time.
Those of us who remember those
days cannot find the words to convey
our gratitude to this good man and
great American. Over time he gave
us much more, consistently showing
wisdom and sound judgment. Imag-
ine how much better off we would
be if he had been making the major
policy decisions of the last six years.
For our School of Public Policy to
bear Gerald Ford's name is a great
honor and a source of great pride.
PublicPolicy professor, former
own words: What Ford meant to the University
strated his spirit and dedication on
the football field. He also found time
to work several part-timejobs to sup-
plement his scholarship and still was
able to focus on academics, majoring
in economics and political science.
But it was as an alum that Ford's
He was instrumental in elevating the
University's status, raising funds and
lending his name to the Gerald R.
Ford School of Public Policy.
In 2005, I had the privilege of
presenting Ford with the Alumni
Association's Distinguished Alumni
Service Award, the highest honor we
can bestow on a graduate of the Uni-
versity. I was amazed at his humility
and his continuing devotion to the
"It was a great experience for me
four years," Ford said. "I have always
been proud - very, very proud - of
my association with the University.
When people ask me where I went to
college, I say 'Go Blue!'"
Two days ago, I placed a yellow-
and-blue wreath before the flag-
draped casket of former President
Gerald Ford duringa memorial service
in his hometownof Grand Rapids.
Serving as an honorary pallbearer
for an American president was a priv-
ilege unlike any I have known. Yet the
real tribute was to the University of
Michigan, an institution Ford loved
and supported from his first days as
an undergraduate in LSA.
A graduate of the class of 1935, his
impact is highly visible on campus,
from the Gerald R. Ford School of
Public Policy at the campus's south-
erngateway to his presidentiallibrary
on North Campus. He served his
alma mater as an adviser, a teacher,
a donor and an advocate who always
wanted the best for Michigan.
Retirement from the public arena
did not mute President Ford's com-
mitmentto Michigan. He was thrilled
with the construction of Weill Hall,
the new home of the Ford School,
and delighted in seeing construction
updates, photographs ad videos.
From the tower of Weill Hall, one
can see Michigan Stadium - a view
very much appreciated by Ford. His
love of both academics and athletics
This past week has been rich with
remembrances of the former presi-
dent. He is hailed for his integrity,
his service, his devotion to family
and his quiet courage in the face of
A university can ask no more of an
alumnus. His life and legacy serves
as an extraordinary model for the
students of today and tomorrow. We
will forever be proud of him.
Mary Sue Coleman
University ofMichigan president
class of 1935 and an active alumnus,
Gerald Ford had a special relation-
ship that each senior class held in
high honor. In addition to his visits
with the football team, President
Ford enjoyed staying connected to
student leaders by meeting with us
in the Michigan Union and send-
ing encouragement throughout the
years. He enriched our knowledge
of the past, helped us illuminate the
issues of today and inspired us for
While he was in the White House,
Ford sent opening remarks to Mich-
igamua to support them during the
organization's 75th anniversary.
Prior to Michigamuas 100th anni-
versary, Ford met with the men and
women of the classes of 1999 and
2000 to offer counsel on how to
manage the group through change
and emphasized that we should con-
tinue to lead with integrity.
He even twice surprised our senior
classes by visiting the seventh floor
of the Union to share stories about
his time at Michigan and get fired up
Despite being decades removed
from active campus life, Ford con-
tinued to demonstrate great passion
and dedication to the University and
its students. As recent as the past few
years,.his eyes grew wide with pride
when he met members of our group
to talk about the affairs of the cam-
pus we love. We join others in salut-
ing the life of a great leader, friend
and Michigan Man.
Member ofthe senior honorsociety
formerly known as Michigamua
While waiting in line to file past
Gerald Ford's casket as he lay in state
Tuesday night, I talked with nine
strangers to pass the time.
Perhaps the most interesting
was a quiet man who had driven six
hours and said he was willing to wait
16 hours to pay his respects.
It turns out he worked on the
lead staff in the White House start-
ing when Ford was appointed vice
president in 1973 and worked in that
position under six presidents, trav-
eling to over 100 countries and five
He came because he said that in
his time in the White House, there
was no president who was as honest,
open and who brought the values of
the common man to the office better
Secretary of the University chapter
of the College Republicans
From 1974 to 1981, Gerald Ford
came to the Bentley Historical
Library on North Campus on several
occasions in the process of planning
for the construction of the Gerald R.
Ford Presidential Library.
I certainly cannot say that I knew
Ford well, butI did meet him several
times. You did not need to spend a lot
of time with him to get a sense of his
very basic decency. He was extraor-
dinarily approachable - like a next-
At the same time, he was one of
our most astute presidents.
A lot is made of his many vetoes
and his harsh reaction to the first
proposal for a federal bailout of New
York City. Ford had been in Con-
gress. He knew the processes of gov-
ernment. He could be firm in action
until he saw that the result would
be reasonable. Many of those vetoed
bills were refined and passed. New
York City was assisted in its financial
crisis. And, of course, after years of
debate, his pardon of Richard Nixon
is now considered amostcourageous
act of foresight. He was in essence
an ordinary man who emerged as a
respected leader in extraordinary
Director ofthe Bentley Historical
Gerald Ford had a remarkable way
of embedding the American dream
of educational opportunity in the
lives of ordinary people. He spoke
as persuasively about equity on the
football field as about excellence in
public affairs. Not surprisingly, he
understood immediately why affir-
mative action was essential to inte-
grating higher education.
It was profoundly reassuring for
me, as for everyone at the University,
when Ford stood by us unflinchingly
during our defense of affirmative
action in the courts.
His 1999 op/ed piece in The New
York Times appeared at a pivotal
moment in the national debate, pro-
viding an acute personal reflection
on the value of diversity.
When we dedicated the Gerald R.
Ford School of Public Policy, many
of Ford's cabinet members returned
to campus with him. What I most
remember about that day was the
president's humane and unassuming
good nature. Instead of bravado, he
inspired us with his steadfastness. It
is a quality we will need in the days
to come as we again seek to assemble
a coalition of leaders, educators and
citizens to defend diversity in Ford's
alma mater, his home state and the
nation he so loved.
Chancellor and president ofSyra-
cuse University andformer
For more than a decade, I taught a
first-year seminar in the Ford Presi-
Ford always came to one or two
programs ayear that were sponsored
by the Ford Library. These programs
brought many key people together to
discuss contemporary and historical
issues who would not have come to
Ann Arbor except for Ford's pres-
ence, includingthe popular combina-
tion of Ford and ex-President Jimmy
Carter, which was affectionately
referred to by everyone as the "Jerry
and Jimmy Show."
I have one particularly vivid mem-
ory from a panel discussion at the
Ford library with four present and
former national security advisers.
Ford listened patiently to their sug-
gestions and recommendations for
policy that should be implemented.
When asked for his comments, Presi-
dent.Ford got up and in very precise
and eloquent language explained
why such policies would not have a
ghost of a chance of implementation
once they reached Congress.
I knew I was listening to a man
who knew Congress and how it
worked better than anyone in that
room could possibly know. I might
add that his words carried no less
weight despite the fact that he was
hobbling around on crutches follow-
ing knee surgery due to old football
injuries that had finally caught up
Margaret L. Steneck
Retired history professor, expert on
The University named its public
policy program after Gerald Ford in
the fall of 1999.I methim for the first
time earlier that year as we talked
about this possibility. Then as well
as in subsequent meetings over the
years, I found him fascinating.
Forget the stereotypes you might
have. He was one of our more athlet-
ic presidents and showed that physi-
cal grace well into his 90s.
He came to the Ford School annu-
ally for several years after our nam-
ing. While he never wanted to give a
speech, he always asked to meet with
students, simply asking them to dis-
cuss current events with him. When
asked a question, he answered it
with four or five complete sentences,
direct and on topic, then stopped and
waited for a follow-up. If none came,
he went to the next question. I have
rarely heard a major public figure
who so clearly knew what he wanted
to say about topics.
Even at age 90, he followed cur-
rent events closely. In responding to
student questions, he would often
link events from the 1940s or 1950s
to events in the 2000s. As an econo-
mist, I might also note that he knew
his economics. At one point after a
formal dinner with many campus
dignitaries, he became a bit bored.
We had a rather intense 10-minute
discussion, in which it became clear
that he was as well briefed as anyone
I'd talked with.
While Ford spent many years in a
series of powerful positions, ending
with the presidency, it is a testimony
to his character that he stayed open
to listening and learning from others.
I am proud to be dean of a school at
the University that bears his name.
Dean of the Ford School of
As a student, Gerald Ford demon- As a member of the Michigamua