The History of the Club
The University of Michigan Club of Greater Detroit was founded in Detroit on October 31, 1895 as the “University of Michigan Association of Detroit” with 170 members; its stated objectives were:
- The promotion of the best interests of the University of Michigan.
- The cultivation of friendly relations among members of the Association.
- An annual banquet.
The above mentioned “annual banquet,” held during the early days of the Association, was that group’s main social event, and was always a Detroit dinner to honor Michigan’s “Grand Old Man,” University President James Burrill Angell – and to hear his annual report. Newspaper accounts of that period described President Angell coming to the City of Detroit by train accompanied by an entourage from Ann Arbor. President Angell was charming and a friendly man, so good fellowship prevailed and the dinners were apparently a great success. They continued until President Angell retired in 1909.
Except for expanding the “annual banquet” into a rather wide scale of social events, the three stated objectives of 1895 could still be considered the cornerstone of our Club today. In 1911, the “University of Michigan Association of Detroit” became the “University of Michigan Club of Detroit.” We certainly have the “promotion of the best interests of the University of Michigan” as our primary objective, be it in the area of fund raising, providing scholarships, supporting University activities, providing assistance and counsel to our University administration on occasion, or by contributing in whatever other way we can to maintain and enhance the prestige of our great University. The second objective stated above, “the cultivation of friendly relations among members,” is hardly an objective since it is a natural out-growth of the pride and good fellowship that all supporters of the University of Michigan feel whenever they get together.
Inaugural Football Bust – The football bust was started as a club event in 1921 to honor Fielding Yost’s Michigan team that finished 5-1-1. The Bust seemed to serve as an inspiration to the Michigan team as the next two squads won back-to-back Big Ten titles with a combined 14-0-1 record.
Transportation Committee Formed – During Fritz Crisler’s tenure as coach of Michigan, he worked with the Detroit Club to form the Transportation Committee within the Club. The goal of the Transportation Committee was to gather people together to watch Michigan play on the road and raise scholarship funds in the process. The Transportation Committee continues today and is one of the primary contributors to the Detroit Club scholarship efforts.
Name Change – As the population of Detroit expanded into the surrounding suburbs, the club changed to “University of Michigan Club of Greater Detroit” to reflect the expanded appeal of the club. The Club currently has over 1,300 members from the Greater Detroit area.