Bicentennial StoryCorps Collection

A collection of stories as told by members of the University of Michigan community. Presented and curated by the University of Michigan Library in collaboration with StoryCorps as part of the University's Bicentennial Celebration.

Undocumented and a Wolverine

U-M graduate Sharon talks with her mother Lydia about coming to the U.S. from Mexico and what it took to apply, get accepted, and graduate from the University of Michigan as an undocumented immigrant. "Sharon" and "Lydia" are pseudonyms.

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Indocumentada y una a wolverine

Sharon, una graduada de U-M, conversa con su madre Lydia acerca de haber inmigrado de Mexico a los EE.UU y  lo que tuvo que hacer  para postular, ser aceptada y graduarse de la Universidad de Michigan al ser una inmigrante indocumentada. "Sharon" y "Lydia" son pseudónimos.

We were not cautious. We were intrepid.

President Emerita Mary Sue Coleman and former Provost Paul Courant discuss the seminal role the University of Michigan played in the birth of the Google Books project, and how it led to the creation of the HathiTrust Digital Library.

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Times have changed, but people haven't

Father and son, Patrick and Eamon Duff, compare their experiences as freshmen at U-M. In 1971, Nixon was president, bell bottom jeans were in fashion...and there were demonstrations on campus. Now, students can text Mom goodnight every day, everybody uses calculators...and there are demonstrations on campus.

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Survivors have life after, life before, life during

Hank Greenspan has been interviewing Holocaust survivors since the early 70s, and points out that learning from the past isn't enough; it's what we do as bystanders that pays off. Greenspan, a psychologist and U-M lecturer, talks about his life's work with his former student and friend Ariana Headrick. 

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We are there for all

U-M Librarian Emily Puckett Rodgers (left) and Ann Arbor District Library Director Josie Parker (right), both alums of the U-M School of Information, discuss the role public libraries are playing in our changing world.

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Feeling rich is not about money

Hai Huynh, an IT professional at the U-M Law School, talks with his teenaged son Brandon about Hai's 1979-80 refugee journey from Vietnam to Michigan, how much he appreciates the help the family received, and how he gives back as an active volunteer in the Ann Arbor community. Plus some "Wow!" moments!

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Be fearless

Kimberly Ransom (right) and Tonya Kneff-Chang (left), PhD candidates in the U-M School of Education, talk about their co-teaching experience. As women of different cultures, they addressed uncomfortable issues around race — the hard topics — in a classroom with a predominantly white audience.

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Shaping the life of an activist

Lisa Powers talks with her longtime friend Dave DeVarti about how the cosmopolitan effect of Ann Arbor and U-M formed his life as a community activist, including his part in the 1976 campaign to enact Michigan's bottle bill.

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Filling a void in medicine

U-M medical student Trisha Paul talks with her professor and mentor, Ken Pituch, medical director of the Pediatric Palliative Care Program at Mott Children's Hospital, about connecting with patients and their parents to shape palliative care for children as part of "the anti-suffering squad."

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Three decades apart

Mother and daughter Nancy and Missy Fette, who graduated from the University of Michigan three decades apart, talk about how things have changed for women on campus over the years and what their takeaways are from U-M.

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Students drive social innovation

Andrew Martin, dean of the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) talks with Jeff Sorensen, director of Social Innovation and co-founder of optiMize, about using the world as a laboratory and the future of undergraduate education at U-M.

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Taking care of a community

Librarian Karen Downing talks with her father, Harold Johnson, about his experiences as the first African-American dean at the University of Michigan.

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Anarchism isn't what you think

Friends Ari Weinzweig and Julie Herrada talk about Anarchism and how it relates to building better and more equitable business models. Ari is a University of Michigan grad, author and co-founder of Zingerman’s Deli and Roadhouse and Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. Julie is curator of the Labadie Collection, a part of the University of Michigan Library in which Ari did research as a student and then again years later. Ari starts by remembering his time at the library.

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Do good for others

Laurita Thomas speaks with her son Lemar Thomas about her upbringing and how that impacted her approach to her life and work. She also talks about her efforts to advance conditions for women and people of color at the University of Michigan throughout the years. Laurita is the Associate Vice President for Human Resources at the university. 

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South Korea to Michigan

Andrew (Andy) Nam asks his mother, Moon-Sook Nam, about growing up in South Korea, meeting her future husband, Sang-Yong Nam, her life in the United States, and her late husband’s legacy at the University of Michigan. He founded the Nam Center for Korean Studies at the University of Michigan, which encourages social, political, cultural, and economic understanding of Korea in the U-M community and beyond.

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