Sunday, April 9, 2017

True Blue: A Tribute to Michigan Bicentennial Celebration was a dazzling affair.

First, let me say what a thrill it was to have attended the True Blue: Tribute to Michigan Bicentennial celebration Saturday evening, April 8 at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor! True Blue Tribute to Michigan showcased students, faculty and alumni in an extraordinary multi-media event presentation that passionately, poignantly, and meticulously told the story of the University of Michigan. The event was emceed by UM grads Darren Criss and Jacqueline Toboni, and both were charming.

As the audience was filing in, photos were being shown on a big screen above the stage capturing Ann Arbor and UM campus moments throughout the decades. As a nostalgic kind of a guy, I was hooked immediately. The photos poignantly captured the essence of the university, from the rambunctious 1920's, through the politically charged and tumultuous 1960's and 70's, and through the 2000's. Fascinating!

You want to talk about interesting speakers at the event? Well, check this list out! Dr. Sanjay Gupta,, Dr, Karin Muraszko, Muscian Gil Scottt Chapman, Astronaught Alfred Wordon of Apollo 15, Ari Weinzweig owner of Zingermans Deli and Roadhouse,  Action for Survival founder DouglasScott, English Professor Ralph Williams, former football star Desmond Howard, coach Jim Harbaugh, and UM President Dr. Mark Schlissel, and that's just to name a few. Whew! James Earl Jones was supposed to be a key speaker but unfortunately, he had to cancel.

The passion and enthusiasm these UM students, faculty, and alumni brought to Saturday evening's event was palpable and downright inspiring whether you were a UM alum or not.

 There are two things that struck me during the UM Bicentennial event. First, Sanjay Gupta said that the UM strives to bring people together from all walks of life, no matter how different their backgrounds. That spoke to me. Second, based on the fact that the program highlighted student political dissent on the Michigan campus, as well as the university's much celebrated sports programs, the open-minded, progressive and non-judgmental world vision of the university was very apparent. It is abundantly clear the UM encourages students to think about, explore and discuss controversial political issues openly as well as enjoy, have fun and partake in traditional college activities such as athletics. I love that. College is supposed to be about exploring the world, new ways of thinking, and expanding your mind, as well as enjoying fun traditional college events like football. That is the beauty of college. Saturday night's True Blue Tribute celebration event exemplified why the University of Michigan is one of the finest schools in the world.

In the end, all I can say is GO BLUE!

Jeff Brown
founder & editor
Purple Walrus Press.


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