The Michigania Story
Michigania is owned and operated by the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan. It’s the home of Michigan alumni camping in the summer and a variety of educational and recreational programs throughout the fall, winter, and spring.
In the summer of ‘61, the Alumni Association began its camping program. Two one-week sessions for Alumni Association members and their families were offered at the University’s Biological Station on Douglas Lake (approximately 45 miles north of Michigania). The first families would later be known as the “Pioneers” for founding a grassroots tradition that would become a University staple passed down through generations. Following the first year success, and after many letters and phone calls from the Pioneer group, our Association leased the facilities of two children’s camps during the post-camp seasons: Camp Charlevoix on Lake Charlevoix and Camp Huntington/Sherwood on Walloon Lake. Both camps filled quickly, and it became apparent a permanent site was needed.
In the fall of 1962, following an extensive search, the Association learned that the owners of Camp Huntington/Sherwood were retiring and wished to sell their camp. Assuring the owners that it would continue to operate a camping program on the 377-acre site, the Alumni Association purchased Camp Huntington/Sherwood in December 1962. In what can be called a Herculean effort, many alumni and alumnae donated time and materials to renovate the camp’s facilities prior to the 1963 season in order to make them better suited to family camping. The first Memorial Day Work Weekend took place that year with a number of committed volunteers lending a hand to prepare the camp for the approaching summer season, beginning a tradition that carries on to this day.
The 1963 camp season consisted of 10 one-week sessions, each filled to capacity with an average of 50 families per week. In the years since, the popularity of alumni camping has grown steadily. Additional cabins have been built, and the season has been extended to 11 weeks to allow more alumni, alumnae, and their families to attend. We now have a capacity at 100 families per week and a waitlist over 100 families.
With the immediate success of Michigania on Walloon Lake, the Alumni Association expanded in 1973 to operate an alumni camping program in upstate New York. Now renting the facilities of Pointe O’Pines, a private girls’ camp, Michigania East can accommodate 50 families during each of its sessions at the end of August featuring our favorite Michigania activities with an East Coast flair.