Michigan Stadium Re-dedication
September 3, 2010
Thank you, Regent Darlow. And thank you to all of the regents, past and present, who have supported this and other important campus improvements.
Whenever I attend a function in a campus building, my thoughts always turn to the people who use the facility on a daily basis: The faculty who teach there, the students who live there, the many visitors who have attended concerts and lectures or visited a doctor or dentist.
Today is no different with this magnificent athletic facility we are rededicating.
As we all admire the timeless, classic architecture of Michigan Stadium, I think of the many people who are associated with this campus icon.
I think about the football players and the members of the marching band who bring this place to life each fall. I hear the fans cheering on our student athletes and see the ROTC students raising the flag.
I admire those who had the foresight to envision a football stadium in what was once a strawberry patch. That includes Fielding Yost, the legendary football coach and athletic director, who, in addition to coaching the Wolverines, championed the idea of a new stadium – with twice the capacity of Ferry Field.
And the 3,000 people who bought $500 bonds to finance the original construction.
And I think of those of you who have helped to make these tremendous stadium improvements possible – without the use of any public funds.
Your generosity has allowed us to widen the aisles and add handrails to make it easier and quicker for all fans to get in and out of Michigan Stadium.
Your gifts have allowed us to offer a wider array of seating options to meet the changing needs of Michigan fans of all ages and abilities.
And your philanthropy has allowed us – and this is a very important point – not to build a new stadium, but to improve upon a facility that has stood as a symbol of Wolverine pride and tradition for 83 years.
When I see these improvements to Michigan Stadium, one special person – former Athletic Director Bill Martin – keeps coming to mind. It was Bill who led us through a process that has now spanned more than six years – twice as long as it took Fielding Yost to plan and build the stadium initially.
As you will recall, Bill was to be our interim athletic director, agreeing to watch over things until we found a permanent AD. That was 10 years ago! And during that short time he has accomplished what most athletic directors could only hope to do in a lifetime.
He has led the renovation and expansion of most of our major sports facilities, put a renewed focus on academics for our student athletes and established Athletics as a financially sound, self-supporting unit.
Bill, and Sally, we are a better university because of your selfless service and we thank you for that.
Because of dedicated Michigan men like Fielding Yost and Bill Martin, this stadium will stand the test of time and continue to be the place where lasting memories are made for future generations of Michigan fans.
Now I want you to hear from the Michigan man who will lead us to new heights in intercollegiate athletics, Athletic Director David Brandon.