History Lessons: White House Welcome

In July 1975, President Gerald R. Ford welcomed 64 participants of the U-M Public Service Intern Program to a White House reception.
By Gregory Lucas-Myers, ’10

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July 1975 was a busy time in the presidency of Gerald R. Ford, ’35, HLLD’74. Shortly after announcing his candidacy for the 1976 Republican nomination but before a weeklong trip to Europe, he made time to welcome 64 participants in the U-M Public Service Intern Program (PSIP). The Rose Garden reception on July 17 came after U-M student Nia Kraud, a member of the 1974-75 PSIP cohort, penned a letter to the commander-in-chief, bringing the program to his attention. Soon after, the reception had been planned for the students along with Michigan Congressmen Marvin L. Esch, ’50, MA’51, PhD’59, and Elford A. Cederberg.

Initially known as the Washington Internship Program, PSIP is the oldest and largest summer intern program in the country. It was founded in 1969 by students Mike Posner, ’72, and Betsy Levine Lassar, ’72, with financial assistance from the Alumni Association. More than 50 years later, PSIP has given students the chance to gain working experience in public service and politics. Alumni of the program include three current U.S. Representatives — Ted Deutch of Florida, Grace Meng of New York, and Lauren Underwood of Illinois — and more than 3,000 others.


Gregory Lucas-Myers, ’10, is senior assistant editor of Michigan Alumnus.

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