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Michigan Stadium’s Memorial Eagle

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A 24-foot bronze eagle located outside Michigan Stadium was dedicated in 1950 to all the Michigan Men and Women who died serving their country.

The Ann Arbor Memorial Eagle remembers our fallen service members

The origins of this statue date back to WWII. The Board of Regents’ August 1945 meeting saw a petition from Detroit alumni to rename Michigan Stadium as Yost Stadium, in honor of the legendary coach and athletic director.

“In memory of the men and women of the University of Michigan who gave their lives for their country.”

Yost, being a modest man, discouraged the renaming. Writing a letter to the Detroit alumni, he suggested a memorial be erected at the stadium, in memory of all the university’s men and women who lost their lives in the war.

Yost’s idea was well-received, and in June 1946 the Board In Control of Collegiate Athletics began debating on two artist proposals honoring our fallen heroes.

The winning proposal was from sculptor Marshall Fredericks. An instructor at the Cranbrook School, Fredericks envisioned a bronze eagle with a 12-foot wingspan on a base of granite.

The university would have to wait until 1950 for the dedication ceremony. The eagle had grown in size to 24 feet, and the base read “In memory of the men and women of the University of Michigan who gave their lives for their country.”

Fredericks’ work can be seen throughout campus and the state. He sculpted 38 bas reliefs on the LSA building, notably Dream of a Young Girl and Dream of a Young Man. The Spirit of Detroit was also his work.

Thanks to the Bentley Historical Library for documenting this memorial’s history.

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