UMAC Continues to Forge Ahead To Highlight Women’s Issues in Society and on Campus
Marilynn (Juffermans) Magoon, BSN ’56, a longtime member of UMAC has been working for the best interest of UM alumnae and nurses for more than SEVENTY years.
She was raised in Fair Plain, a small community near Michigan’s southwestern lakeshore. Her first memories of UM are as a 5-year-old when her father had surgery for a severe back injury at the old University Hospital– that’s when she was destined to become a nurse. She still carries those early University Hospital memories with her through a toy dish set that her father bought her from the hospital’s gift shop.
During her high school years in Benton Harbor, Marilynn’s high school counselorbrought the Future Nurses Club members to Ann Arbor for a tour and visit. She eventually fulfilled her childhood dream and was accepted to the UM Nursing School in 1952. She vividly remembers these travels from southwest Michigan to Ann Arbor were a rough ride as I-94 did not exist at that time, so all the old back roads were taken.
The UM Nursing program proved to be brutal. It was a combination of the 5- and 3-year programs and awarded a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to graduates. It took 4 years and 3 summers to complete. Marilynn and her classmates were the laughing stock of campus because of the number of hours they spent in classes and practice. Magoon recalls, “While other programs might be more like 15 hours plus per week, ours was more like 48-51 hours per week. In the first year, one half of the class flunked out and another quarter of those left were on probation.”
The silver lining from all those hours spent at University Hospital was meeting her future husband, UM Regent Alumni Scholar and a third generation Wolverine – Duncan J. J. Magoon, UM Medical School, Class of 1957. (Duncan’s middle names – John and James – were the first names of the two gentlemen who had given Duncan’s father his UM scholarships.) Marilynn and Duncan were married for 62 years until his death in 2018.
Also, during her collegiate years, a UM OB/GYN Nursing Professor instilled the philosophy in Marilynn that if she and her classmates weren’t doing nursing that they were to help their communities.
Then, after graduation and marriage, Marilynn and Duncan quickly had four children who are all UM alumni: Duncan Neil – AB’ 83, Teaching Certificate ‘87, Cameron – AB ’84, Marian Molly – AB ‘80 and Jennifer – BFA, ‘86. Having four children in such quick succession, Marilynn found her involvement in UMAC, through Ann Arbor’s Waterman Chapter, was a way to connect with women amidst the hustle and bustle of motherhood.
While raising her children, she took her professor’s advice to heart and served her community in various nursing roles– school nursing, floor duty, chart review, serving on UM School of Nursing committees and even housing UM Nursing Alumnae when they returned to Ann Arbor for reunions. Marilynn was able to combine her love of nursing and her appreciation of her husband’s Regent Alumni Scholarship by working diligently to start the University of Michigan School of Nursing Class of 1956 Scholarship Fund, which today is valued at $273,680. In addition, there are four scholarships available through UMAC’s Waterman Chapter. Marilynn says, “These are my favorite memories of UMAC… working with other women to raise money for these scholarships.”
Going forward –Marilynn encourages us to remember all the past battles that have been overcome not only as women in society, but as women in the workplace and women on campus. UMAC leadership must reconnect with our former scholarship recipients, and we must recruit new/current members for tasks they can easily perform –such as, working on the Scholarship Committee, Athena/Alumna-in-Residence Program, or Michigan League and Henderson House boards.
She explained that the current UMAC President Elizabeth Bishop and Board have moved the organization forward, but UMAC volunteers can use the continual support of the Alumni Association and the Development Office. “I watched my husband’s grandmother, who earned her UM Masters and PhD in English Literature, and was a Eastern Michigan University Professor of English for 32 years, struggle with men not being great to her until her retirement in 1958. And we see the same stuff today, some men simply not treating us well,” explains Magoon.
Marilynn is recruiting her granddaughter Hazel Magoon, who will be a 5th generation UM graduate in May 2023. She hopes Hazel will continue to carry the Magoon torch for women’s issues on campus, battle for the position for women to equally belong, and work hard to ensure that UMAC remains a financially strong and powerful affiliate group with the Alumni Association of The University of Michigan.!
Finally, Marilynn wishes that everyone read Conquering Heroines – How Women Fought Sex Bias at Michigan and Paved the Way for Title IX, by Sara Fitzgerald, and the article For Michigan Women Everywhere, by Julia Verklan Maloney, Michigan Daily Editor 2023, to understand how we got HERE.
Marilynn Magoon’s List of Memberships
Margaret Waterman Alumnae, Scholarship Committee, past President, current Historian
Ann Arbor Thrift Shop, past President, current Jewelry Committee member
Alumni Association – Life member