The University Record, December 18, 2000

Memorial plaque rededicated to alumni war veterans

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

President Lee C. Bollinger made comments at the Dec. 14 ceremony rededicating a memorial plaque honoring alumni who served in various wars.
It was unveiled in 1914, removed in the 1960s during a renovation project, and mounted and rededicated Dec. 14. This large bronze plaque, recently reinstalled in the north stairwell of Alumni Memorial Hall, signifies the dedication of the building to “all who have served in the wars of their country, either in the naval or military departments.”

The building itself, now commonly known as the Museum of Art but officially Alumni Memorial Hall, at one time was home to the Alumni Association during the same period it housed the University’s art collection. The plaque is the work of A.A. Weinmann, a New York sculptor.

The ceremony featured Civil War re-enactors, such as U-M alumnus Rob Stone, a member of the Civil War Roundtable, one of several organizations instrumental in locating, restoring and reinstalling the plaque.
At the initial dedication June 24, 1910, Judge Claudius B. Grant told those gathered for the occasion that the tablet registered “in imperishable form your main purpose in erecting Alumni Memorial Hall. The tablet tells the story in words more eloquent than any I could utter.” Grant reminded the crowd that from the time of the first U-M graduating class in 1845 until the current year (1910) “the sons of our alma mater have responded to every call to arms made by their country. They were found fighting on the battle fields of Mexico in 1847; of that great four years’ contest 1861–65 . . ., and of the war in Spain in 1898. In these three wars, 1,943 of the sons of this University served their country as soldiers. Fifteen hundred and fourteen of this number served in the Civil War.”

The University has two buildings dedicated as war memorials—Alumni Memorial Hall and Michigan Stadium.

The Regents dedicated the football stadium as a memorial in the 1940s. Marshall Fredericks’ “American Eagle” at the stadium’s main entrance has its wings extended and its head down in a guarded position, to protect the wreath of honor at its feet. This monument is inscribed, “In memory of the men and women of the University of Michigan who gave their lives for their country.”