The Idea of Michigan


“Freedom is The Idea of Michigan that leads to greatness!

It is the seed upon which Michigan was founded.”

Samuel Trask Dana, Dean of the School of Forestry and Natural Resources introduced a film entitled The Idea of Michigan, created by Hazen Schumacher and written by Al Slote in 1961 to prepare for the University’s 150th anniversary and to make the case for the importance of the University’s constitutional autonomy to the Constitutional Convention of 1961.  As Dean Dana so eloquently stated in his opening remarks:

“Things happen as they do because of the seeds from which they spring, and the influences that shape their growth.

The seeds of ideas grow into great institutions.

The University of Michigan has been fortunate in both respects.

It has had founders with vision, leaders who were great men and women, students who were the pick of the land, and alumni who were devoted to their alma mater.

Above all it has had freedom, freedom to pioneer, to experiment, to pursue an ideal, to grow into what it is today.

It has become great because of the idea of Michigan.”