The Michigan Daily- Tuesday, August 9, 1983 - Page 7
Vivian Shapiro, an assistant professor at the School of Social Work, is also the to do is sometimes difficult, she says, but she enjoys meeting interesting
wife of the University's president. Finding time to do everything she wants people as the president's wife as well as having her own career.
Campus life suits Shapiro
By CHERYL BAACKE
Vivian Shapiro remembers feeling awkward and
ill-at-ease when her family moved into the stately
white house on South University with its stiff for-
mality and Victorian furniture.
Living in the campus White House puts the family
in the public eye, but Shapiro says she has grown
used to the loss of privacy since 1979.
SHE ENJOYS the crowds trooping through the
house for parties and honors convocations, and even
the less formal visits, such as students protesting
budget cuts on her front lawn.
Shapiro enjoys living in the middle of campus
because she can watch the cycles of the University
where things are always changing, but still remain
"I used to say that living in Ann Arbor was like
living in a comic book because only the readers gets
older - the students are always the same age," she
"IT'S NOT JUST whether the leaves turn orange,
brown or whatever. (It's) students coming to town in
the fall season, and graduation, and tours of new
freshmen coming by - there's a nice feeling about
Dressed casually in a striped blouse and blue skirt,
Shapiro sips iced tea and talks about the kind of
juggling act she's had to master since her husband
JIused to say that living in
Ann Arbor was like living
in a comic book because
only the reader gets older -
the students are always
the same age.'
became University president in 1979.
When her husband first became president, she
says, she was concerned that it would be difficult to
keep her roles as a social work professor and the wife
of the University's top administrator apart.
"IT HAS BEEN a complicated thing to be a part of
the academic community and to then also become the
president's wife," she says.
"I think a major problem is time, and also for my
own colleagues to know that when I participate I'm
really participating as myself and not as part of my
husband or as part of the administration - and that's
a complicated separation."
Now, however, Shapiro is more comfortable balan-
cing the two, and she says she keeps them "quite
IN HER ROLE AS a faculty member, she has
researched the mental health of children under three,
trying to determine ifa child could have developmen-
tal problems and helping the family work with the
She has also taught classes in the School of=Social
Work dealing with clinical and counseling methods.
Beginning this fall, she will serve as a liason between
the School of Social Work and the Children's
Psychiatric Hospital, exploring how student training
programs in child welfare can be improved.
Career women like Shapiro weren't too common in
her hometown of Montreal, Canada.
"In my generation there was not an expectation
that you would work, that you would necessarily want
to w6rk, or that you would have to work," she said.
IN 1957, SHAPIRO received degrees in English and
history from McGill University in Montreal. She
came to Ann Arbor with her family in the mid-'60s,
and earned her masters degree in social work in 1969.
For nearly 10 years, in the late 50s and '60s, Shapiro
shelved her career to work on raising her family. Af-
ter making the sacrifice, Shapiro says she sym-
pathizes with ambitious young people trying to strike
some sort of balance between a career and a family.
"I think that young women especially are
struggling with these issues and I think young men
are as well," she said. "I think we don't pay enough
attention to how hard it is for men to cope with that."
"I'm probably pretty-old-fashioned in terms of my
own priorities;" shetcontinued. "If I had to say what
would I hang on to the most, I think it would be my
feeling of providing a center for my family and my
Her oldest daughter, Anne, 25, works as an ad-
ministrative assistant to a hospital planner; Marilyn
is in the University's Medical School; Janet is an
honor's psychology student at the University, and
Karen will begin her first year at New York Univer-
sity inthe fall.
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