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Can You Guess That Grad?

What playwright, initially rejected by U-M, was admitted based on a pair of letters to the dean’s office?
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Arthur Miller, ’38, enjoyed an acclaimed career as the author of plays such as “Death of a Salesman,” which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. But his college career started less auspiciously. He was originally rejected—twice—by U-M due to his poor algebra marks, which were self-admittedly “so low as to be practically invisible.” Determined, Miller built up his savings by working at a New York auto warehouse for two years. He professed in two letters to the LSA dean that the experience made him a more “serious fellow.” The long-shot appeal worked. He arrived in Ann Arbor in 1934 and flourished, earning two Hopwood Awards before returning to New York in 1938.

For a list of notable U-M grads, visit

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