Class of 1971 Memories

Even though it may be hard to believe, it has been 50 years since your days at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. This Golden Jubilee milestone is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the moments and memories that make UM-Dearborn special to you. Though much has changed on campus since 1971, our core values—the things that make us UM-Dearborn—have stayed the same: our academic excellence, our commitment to this region, and, most importantly, our dedication to our students. Alumni like you have set the example of hard work, commitment, and perseverance that characterize UM-Dearborn students today.  Thank you for paving the way for those who have followed in your footsteps! Congratulations and Go Blue! 

I traveled about 5 times a week from the far east side of metro Detroit at the time. Coming from 9 mile and Schoenherr, the west side was a mystery. I made lots of friends, studied under Dr.Walt DeVries, a really noted pollster and political scientist. Thanks! I ended working in DC for the final 25 years of my career. M was my ticket.  ~Thomas Shellabarger, '71 B.A.

- Campus Size: 5 buildings; Engineering Building, Faculty Office Building, LSA Building, Multi-Purpose Building (housing offices, Library, Study Hall, Cafeteria), and Student Apartments.
- The campus was established to serve students graduating from Community Colleges with Associate in Science or Associate in Arts degrees. So only Juniors, Seniors and Grad students. There were no Freshmen or Sophomores on campus.
- Engineering students had to complete at least 2 semesters as co-op students working in industry. The curriculum was set up to earn a Batchelor’s degree with 3 work semesters and 4 school semesters. Until 1971, the 16-week semesters started in October, February, and June. For 1971 and later, the semesters started in September, January, and May.

Craig was very proud to be a graduate of Michigan and he obtained both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Michigan. Unfortunately he passed away in November, 2019. He enjoyed receiving U of M imprinted items as gifts and the conversations that would always ensue with strangers. Our last trip was to Ireland in April of 2019 and even there people made comments on his U of M jacket and what a great university Michigan was. We married shortly after his graduation and would have celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in July of this year. I will add this pin to my memory box. We had a wonderful life together and he is deeply missed. ~shared on behalf of Craig Gladden, '71 B.A., TeachCert

  • Graduated from Alpena Community College in June 1966 with an AS degree.
  • Served on active duty in the US Navy from July 1966 to July 1968.
  • Started at UM-D in October 1968 in the Electrical Engineering program.
  • Completed 3 co-op semesters with Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, beginning in February 1969.
  • During my time on campus, I resided in the campus apartments.
  • Was one of the first 2 full time students to enroll and attend classes in UM-D’s MSE-EE program (Rackham). All my classes were taken on UM-D’s campus.
  • Graduated from UM-D TWICE in 1971. BSE-EE on February 14, 1971. MSE-EE on December 23, 1971. (This was possible because of the school calendar change that was made in 1971.)
  • Was the first full time student to graduate with a MSE-EE degree from the UM-D campus.
  • Participated in 2 intramural sports; touch football (Fall semester) and softball (Spring semester).
1971 at the Big House

Picture was taken from a UM-D publication. Michigan Stadium on October 10, 1971. UM-D students had a block of seats on about the 45 yard line about 25 rows up. The guys in the center row are UM-D students.

Jim Kilgus_1971

I grew up in Dearborn and went to HFCC and Wayne State University before enlisting in the USAF in 1966. While stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX I took several night classes at St. Mary's University. When discharged in July 1970, I had about 1-1/2 years of work to complete a bachelor's degree but I had never had a foreign language class. I was married with a brand new daughter and my quickest means of achieving a bachelor's degree was to pursue a B.G.S. that didn't require a language. Fortunately, I was able to use the GI bill while working part time to complete my degree requirements and graduate in December 1971. At that time, the campus was only for junior and senior students and was a unique and pleasant place to study. I will always remember my time there and I also got the best grades of my 9 year college career! ~Jim Kilgus, '71 B.G.S.

  • For several of our EE labs, which were held in the 3 hour slots in the afternoons, we were assigned computer programs to write, debug, and produce the desired output printouts. These programs were written on punch cards which were then read into the UM mainframe computer, located in Ann Arbor. There was an input station on campus but it closed about 5:00 PM. Since our debugging ran into the evening, many days, we would go to Ann Arbor to complete our programs, since they had 24-hour input stations.
  • When I was in Grad school, my tuition was $320 per semester for full time students.
  • My main sources of funding while I attended UM-D was the GI Bill and the money I made during my work semesters. During Grad school, I worked as the pots and pans man in the school’s cafeteria.
  • We, students, hosted multi-apartment parties on campus, usually once every two or three weeks when one of our apartments needed to be cleaned. Since the UM-D’s population was overwhelming male, we would arrange to transport young ladies from Mercy College, Madonna College, Henry Ford Hospital (nursing students) as well as other educational institutions to attend our gatherings.

~Thomas DesRocher, '71 B.S.E.E.E. and '71 M.S.E.

Diane Morse_1971

When I realized that this is my Golden Jubilee, I felt grateful for this among other good choices that I have made in life.   I am a grateful Christian and patriotic American.  I am standing in front of a picture of the great state of Utah where I have recently moved. ~Diane Morese, '71 B.A., TeachCert