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A Yearlong Birthday Celebration Wraps Up For U-M With 200 Candles On The Cake

Dec 26, 2017

Bicentennial Halftime Show at U of M's Football Stadium
Credit University of Michigan

2017 was a special year for the University of Michigan--it was the school's 200th birthday!

89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry talked to the director of the Michigan bicentennial celebration, Gary Krenz, about the yearlong celebration which just recently wrapped up.


The recent U of M winter commencement was the final event for the University's bicentennial celebration.

Krenz says the events began on the first day of 2017 and included three colloquium sponsored by University president Dr. Mark Schlissel: the "True Blue” event last April at Hill Auditorium, and "M staff 200" which was attended by some 20,000 people.

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor with University President Schlissel
Credit University of Michigan

That was followed by a big festival in Detroit where the university was originally founded in 1817.

Krenz says it took about four years to put all the bicentennial events together and one year to execute.  He says he'll be working for a few more months producing a final report on the big celebration and summarizing the impact of everything that took place.

Burton Tower
Credit University of Michigan

He says even though this was a celebration of the past 200 years, they were always thinking about the future.  That includes as one bit of unfinished bicentennial business... a time capsule put together by students.

Krenz says they have to find a way to launch the capsule into space in the next couple of years and hope future University of Michigan students figure out how to bring it back to earth time for the university’s 300 year anniversary!

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu