Author Archives: Pat Higo

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.


Outer Echos, Mercy College of Detroit student newspaper, April 26, 1968

A couple of items that were published in the student newspapers (Varsity News and Outer Echoes) on the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. Every year in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. students at the University of Detroit Mercy do some community service such as cleaning projects on campus and other service centers.




Varsity New, University of Detroit student newspaper, April 5, 1968

Dudley Randall’s Centennial Birthday

dudleyRDudley Randall, poet, publisher, editor and also a librarian at the University of Detroit (1969-1975) where he was also the poet-in-residence, was born on January 14, 1914. He worked at a foundry, Ford Motor Company and in the post office and saw military service during World War II. He earned degrees in English (1949) and Library Science (1951).  Throughout his life and his many travels to such place as as the Soviet Union and Africa, he found inspiration for his poems.

His career as a publisher started as a means to protect his rights to his poem “Ballad of Birmingham”, which was written in response to the 1963 bombing of a church in which four girls were killed. It was set to music and sung by a folksinger. To protect his rights he published it on a single sheet or broadside, thus the name of his publishing company:The Broadside Press. As an independent press he gave voice to some unpublished poets and national figures such as Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, LeRoi Jones, Alice Walker and Haki Madhubuti. Gwendolyn Brooks left Harper and Row to become a Broadside poet.


In recognition for his contribution to the development of American Black literature, the Friends of Libraries USA, designated the McNichols Campus Library as the Dudley Randall Literary Landmark in 2001. The first Literary Landmark designated in Michigan has the official plaque located in the Bargman Room, the second floor of the McNichols Campus Library.

Dudley Randall died on August 5, 2000 at the age of 86. His spirit continues through the Dudley Randall Student Poetry competition and  the Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture which sponsors poetry and dramatic readings and SIC, a UDM student publication of works by creative writing students.

Pat Higo, Archives and Special Collections Librarian


50 Years Ago-Beatlemania at UD

beatles2By 1964 the “fuzzy unkempt mops and unsyncopated sounds and gyrations” of The Beatles had invaded the United States. Judging by the Varsity News Editorial, not everyone thought they were going to be the standard that future bands would be measured against.


With the likes of Miley Cyrus twerking across the video screen, the Beatles look pretty boring now.

Pat Higo, Archives and Special Collections Librarian

Ringing in a Happy New Year in 1922 at University of Detroit

newyearsThe beginning of 1922 started out with grand plans for the new location for the University of Detroit on Livernois, 42 acres which was recently purchased under the presidency of Reverend John P. McNichols, S.J. One of the first buildings built was the stadium, which was expected to seat 75,000, but was later scaled back to seat 20,000.  Oh well, a new year, a new location and high hopes for the future of the University of Detroit.

In the 1921-1922 Varsity News Holiday Edition there was the poem “A New Year Song” by Gene Devlin, a student at the university. The last line of the poem would have been appropriate if I had been doing this blog in 2000 or 2002.

















Pat Higo, Archives and Special Collections Librarian


Christmas Cigarette Ads from Long Ago

As kind of a follow up from an earlier blog on Christmas advertisements-here are a few Christmas ads for cigarettes. Think about it-when was the last time you saw an ad for cigarettes at all? The last time there were ads for cigarettes in the Varsity News was back in 1963.

Varsity News Dec. 14, 1938

Varsity News Dec. 14, 1938

Varsity News Dec. 13, 1939

Varsity News Dec. 13, 1939

Varsity News Dec 16, 1952

Varsity News Dec 16, 1952

Varsity News Dec. 13, 1955

Varsity News Dec. 13, 1955

Pat Higo, Archives and Special Collections Librarian




Riding Club at UD 1963-1970?


A Riding Club was officially recognized by the Student Council in November 1963 (Varsity News Dec. 3, 1963). It started out  strong with 52 members. The Klentner Riding Academy (KRA) in West Bloomfield Hills was the club’s riding site. Initially there were five weekly riding classes (by 1965 it must have gone down to only once a week) for beginners to the more experienced riders. Lessons cost members $2. Some of the members had their own horses! The purpose of the club was to offer riding instructions to members and encourage the sport of horseback riding. Membership was open to all students and transportation to KRA was furnished to and from UD campus.

horse2As part of the club activities, they sponsored their own horse show at the Klentner’s Riding Academy and participated in the Grosse Pointe Horse Show and the traditional fox hunts. Social activities included, trail rides, sleigh rides and hay rides. The Riding Club would provide a horse drawn carriage for their Queen candidate in the Homecoming Parade (1965) and on Orphan’s Day, each member would pay for a child from the St. Francis Home for the Boys to go riding.

At some point it looks like there was a drastic drop in club membership. The 1970 Tower Yearbook show only four members in the group picture for the Riding Club. There is no mention of the club activities in the Varsity News browsing through the 1969-1970 school year. Did the students that had the most interest graduate? Did the expense for lessons get too expensive for the student’s budget? A Google search for the Klentner Riding Academy came up empty except for one reference in our own Folklore database. So did the lack of a place to take lessons on horseback riding end the club?

Is there a UD alumni of the Riding Club who could say for sure what happened? How does such a popular club that starts out with fifty members shrink down to four in less than seven years?

Just looking for some “horse sense” on the demise of the Riding Club.


Pat Higo, Archives ans Special Collections Librarian

The University of Detroit Christmas Shopping Ads Some 60 Years Ago

As people head out to the malls for their Black Friday deals, here are a few ads from the Varsity News from 1949 to 1960 that I found interesting.

Happy Shopping!

November 28, 1960

Varsity News November 28, 1960

Varsity News Dec. 6, 1949

Varsity News Dec. 6, 1949

Varsity News Dec. 9, 1949

Varsity News Dec. 9, 1949

Varsity News Dec. 4, 1956

Varsity News Dec. 4, 1956

Anyone still have a “Musical Beer Mug” with a UD crest? I would love to have one for the archives!

Pat Higo, Archives and Special Collections Librarian





1947 Gobble-Hobble at University of Detroit


According to the Varsity News, the 1947 Gobble-Hobble ended a 16 year “No Dance” record at Dowling Hall. The dance sponsored by Sodality, was held in the Dowling Hall gymnasium. The ceiling was covered in balloons that would send down beams of colored light on the dancers below. Ted Esser’s Orchestra would provide the music.


and to all our Jewish Friends




Pat Higo, Archives and Special Collections Librarian

Works of Mercy and the Mercy Medallion

From 1980 to 1991 Mercy College of Detroit awarded Mercy Medallion to recognize and thank those honored for their service to the people of Detroit and Michigan through their own personal works of Mercy.


The Mercy Medallion was one of the highest honors the College could bestow. It was a sterling silver disc reflecting the Mercy College seal. The central ornament of the seal is the Mercy College Coat of Arms which consists of a shield symbolic of the Order of Mercy. The open book upon the shield is the traditional symbol of the College. Upon the open book pages is inscribed the motto of Mercy College: Maria, Sedes Sapien Tiae (Mary, Seat of Wisdom). The back of the medallion reads:

The Mercy Medallion

in honor of persons

whose lives speak the

humanitarian spirit

exemplified in the

“Works of Mercy”

Persons who receive the medallion eminently exemplify compassion for and commitment to their fellow human beings as they reach out to assist and improve the  condition of humanity. The medallion is given to those who have significantly helped others or have influenced society’s response to a particular concern.


Some of the recipients of the medallion include: Douglas A. Fraser, Joseph L. Hudson, Jr., Honorable William G. Milliken, Marjorie Peebles-Meyers, M.D. Monsignor Clement H. Kern, Honorable Damon J. Keith, His Eminence John Cardinal Dearden, Honorable Richard H. Austin, Dave Bing, Alexa I. Canady and Thomas V. Angott. For additional recipients see the Special Collection page on University Honors Mercy Medallion.

Pat Higo, Archives and Special Collections Librarian

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