Walking Around The Maize and Blue at the University of Michigan

As an academic, I enjoy visiting great universities with the same passion as some have for visiting the great ball parks. Last week, I decided to go to the massive Sanders rally in Ann Arbor and discuss the election with many of his supporters. My son, Aidan, is looking at the University of Michigan for college and tagged along on the trip. The Michigan campus is one of the most beautiful in the country and an excellent addition to our travel blog, including a stellar hotel.

Michigan is obviously a world-class educational institution, but has avoided the conceit and pretenses of some other schools. It is a campus that is filled with wonderful architecture and lovely spaces to sit and contemplate. The students were equally open and friendly and, most importantly, happy at the University of Michigan. While the school is huge with 46,000 students and almost 20,000 staff, it has found novel ways to creating smaller more intimate spaces and programs.

I also had my first occasion to visit the Ford Public Policy School and its incredible facility. This is a unique program that covers an array of interdisciplinary subjects from economics to history to law. I can think of no greater living memorial for any president.

Here are some of the pictures from this breathtaking campus:

One of my favorite spaces is the lovely law library, an incredible space with soaring stain glass windows and a giant arched ceiling:

The visit to the University of Michigan also brought an unexpected benefit of a stay at The Graduate Hotel on the edge of the campus. Architecturally, the building itself does not look like much (late American blah period). However, inside is a hotel that can only be described as irresistibly charming. The hotel is a lovely collection of Michigan art and memorabilia. Every room and space is inviting and warm from a great little pub on the first floor to a long table used by Michigan students using the coffee shop. While room service and locks on the bathroom doors in the guest rooms would be welcomed, there is a price of irresistible charm. I strongly encourage a stay at The Graduate, particularly if you are visiting the university.

Here are a few pictures from the hotel:

Ann Arbor is a great place to visit, including a number of very good restaurants that line the campus. (An uber from the Detroit airport is roughly $40 and thirty minutes). Just going past the Michigan stadium or “the Big House” is a particularly impressive sight. It remains the largest stadium in the county and the third largest in the world with an official capacity of 107,601. I have not yet attended a football game at the Big House but it must be quite the experience.

So, if you find yourself in the area, “Go Blue.”

11 thoughts on “Walking Around The Maize and Blue at the University of Michigan”

  1. People there had for a long time done what they wanted, ignoring those rules they disagreed with, like the make-up ban, dancing and singing ban, etc., because the police lacked power. It is unfortunate that on top of all the other horrors they have to deal with, now those rules are being strictly enforced, contrary to the cultural norms of private society.

  2. Tommy Chong was there back in the 70s when the universe meant something

    and a lot of times since

  3. “Just going past the Michigan stadium or ‘the Big House’ is a particularly impressive sight. It remains the largest stadium in the county and the third largest in the world with an official capacity of 107,601.” — Jonathan Turley

    Ah, yes. But as someone who knows how to model infectious disease spread, I can’t help but imagine that stadium filled with people coming from all areas of the country and later returning to those places with some “Corona” — and not the drinkable kind.

    Will this pandemic force capitalism to start caring about the “common good”? I’m not optimistic, at least as regards this country. Beyond some relatively short-term adjustments, I think that once it’s over, it’ll be back to business as usual — or more likely, even worse — just as it was with the real-estate crisis, the dot-com bubble, and previous crises.

  4. JT visits the school “up north”. I have been there and everything he said is true. However, in the final analysis, only 13% of young people actually voted in the “state up north’s” primary giving the election to papa Joe.

  5. Venture our all you want and you’ll find that: There is no prettier campus than UVA; no better academics than Richmond or William & Mary; and no better place to put in your undergraduate years than James Madison University. Call me parochial. That’s fine.

  6. Good assessment of the campus, the town and Michigan. The photos are wonderful and they stand up for your assessment.
    Rick Steve should do a travel show at this town and campus. Or you could do a video and put it on TV.
    Some of the buildings remind me of Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

    Michigan is a very good state. That University produces good humans.

    1. Rick Steves is the best, I think I’ve seen all his shows, going back to early 20s.

  7. Thank you for sharing your experience and those lovely pictures. Those old stone and brick buildings were built when people thought beauty mattered for a building. Sir Roger Scruton would have agreed with you, I think, on your assessment of ‘late American’ architecture.

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