December 6, 2000

It was up; then down; and now up again

ANN ARBOR—It was unveiled in 1914, removed in the 1960s during a renovation project, and will be mounted and re-dedicated in a ceremony at 11 a.m. Dec. 14. This large bronze plaque, recently re-installed in the north stairwell of Alumni Memorial Hall on the University of Michigan's Central Campus [map], signifies the dedication of the building to "all who have served in the wars of their country, either in the naval or military departments."

The building itself, now commonly known as the U-M Museum of Art but officially Alumni Memorial Hall, at one time served as the offices of the Alumni Association and during the same period housed the University's art collection. The plaque is the work of A.A. Weinmann, a New York sculptor.

At the initial dedication June 24, 1910, Judge Claudius B. Grant told those of the Alumni Association gathered for the occasion that the tablet registered "in imperishable form your main purpose in erecting Alumni Memorial Hall. The tablet tells the story in words more eloquent than any I could utter." Grant reminded the crowd that from the time of the first U-M graduating class in 1845 until the current year (1910) "the sons of our Alma Mater have responded to every call to arms made by their country. They were found fighting on the battle fields of Mexico in 1847; of that great four years' contest 1861-65..., and of the war in Spain in 1898... In these three wars 1943 of the sons of this University served their country as soldiers. Fifteen hundred and fourteen of this number served in the Civil War."

U-M's History and Traditions Committee invites the public to "join in the celebration of the reinstallation and rededication of the tablet to honor the memory of all University men and women who have served or will serve their country, past, present and future, and to acknowledge the great effort of the University's alumni and friends, who beginning after the Civil War, undertook the Herculean task of raising the funds for this beautiful memorial hall."

U-M has two buildings dedicated as war memorial—Alumni Memorial Hall and Michigan Stadium. It was during the 1940s that the Regents dedicated the football stadium as a memorial. Marshall Fredericks' "American Eagle" at the stadium's main entrance has its wings extended and its head down in a guarded position, to protect the wreath of honor at its feet. This monument is inscribed, "In memory of the men and women of the University of Michigan who gave their lives for their country..."

Contact: Joanne Nesbit
Phone: (734) 647-4418