“There are other places, surely, for other people, but for me there is one place, Ann Arbor, for there it was I discovered what life’s bright possibilities were.” –William Shawn, editor of The New YorkerBegin Chapter
By Kaitlyn DelBene
Famous alumni haunt the dorm rooms and student rentals of Ann Arbor.
The inventor of the iPod called East Quad home. A year earlier, a future medical correspondent for CNN lived in the same hall.
West Quad can count among its alumni the current governor of Michigan, a Hall of Fame shortstop, and the iconic voice of Darth Vader.
And Baits Hall housed a star of “Glee” as well as one of the great sopranos of American opera.
When today’s Michigan students move into residence halls and apartment buildings, they occupy the homes of former students who have gone on to change the world with their words, ideas and actions.
There is no guarantee that fame comes with living in a space once occupied by Madonna (University Towers, Apt. 10A), Derek Jeter (5506 Couzens) or Lucy Liu (South Quad, 4809 Taylor). But it does make for a distinctive inheritance that shows anything is possible after leaving Ann Arbor.
Rich Eisen (LSA, 1990)
Lived: Mary Markley, 2310 Elliott
Sportscaster for the NFL network. Born and raised in New York City, he majored in communications, was co-sports editor of The Michigan Daily and a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He has worked for ESPN, the NFL Network, and CBS Sports.
Judith Guest (Education, 1958)
Lived: 3004 Stockwell
Author of “Ordinary People,” the bestselling novel upon which the 1980 Robert Redford film is based. She was born and raised in Detroit and studied English and psychology.
Lawrence Kasdan (LSA, 1970; Education, 1972)
Lived: East Quad, 427 Tyler
Acclaimed writer, producer, and director of films. Raised in Morgantown, W.Va., he majored in English as an undergrad and then earned his master’s in education. He has written countless box office hits, including The Big Chill and The Bodyguard, and screenplays for Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Arthur Miller (LSA, 1938)
Lived: 439 S. Division
Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright who wrote “Death of a Salesman” and “The Crucible.” He was born and raised in Harlem and came to Michigan to study journalism. He became a writer and editor for The Michigan Daily but changed his major to English and won two Hopwood Awards in drama.
Susan Orlean (LSA, 1977)
Lived: Alice Lloyd, 6070 Hinsdale
Author of the novel “The Orchid Thief,” which was made into the film Adaptation. A native of Cleveland, she studied literature and history.
Marge Piercy (LSA, 1957)
Lived: East Quad, 306 Hinsdale
American novelist and poet who wrote “Braided Lives” and “Fly Away Home.” Born and raised in Detroit, she won a full-tuition scholarship to attend Michigan and won various Hopwood Awards for her creative writing.
William Shawn (LSA)
Lived: 408 Thompson St.
Editor of The New Yorker from 1952-1987. A Chicago native, he attended Michigan from 1925-1927 before leaving school to pursue his career.
Betty Smith (LSA)
Lived: 332 Hill St.
Author of the novel “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” A Brooklyn native, she moved to Ann Arbor in 1919 with her husband, a Michigan law student. Not having received a high school degree, she was nevertheless able to enroll in classes at the university and received a Hopwood Award for her writing.
Chris Van Allsburg (Architecture and Design, 1972)
Lived: East Quad, 230 Anderson
One of the nation’s most celebrated creators of children’s books. A native of the Grand Rapids area, he majored in sculpture at Michigan. His books include “Jumanji,” “The Polar Express,” and “Zathura.” He has received the prestigious Caldecott Medal twice.
Mike Wallace (LSA, 1939)
Lived: 536 Thompson St.
Investigative journalist and one of the original correspondents for CBS’ 60 Minutes. Born and raised in Brookline, Mass., he wrote for The Michigan Daily and was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. He won countless awards for his work, including 20 Emmys.
Bill Freehan (LSA, 1966)
Lived: South Quad
Retired major league catcher and member of the Detroit Tigers’ 1968 World Series team. Raised in Royal Oak, Mich., he played both baseball and football at Michigan. He was drafted by the Tigers in 1961 but continued school part-time and earned his bachelor’s in history in 1966.
Janet Guthrie (LSA, 1960)
Lived: East Quad, 207 Prescott
First woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. Born in Iowa City and raised in Miami, she majored in physics at Michigan and worked as an aerospace engineer before becoming a professional racecar driver.
Jim Harbaugh (LSA, 1986)
Lived: South Quad, 6613 Gomberg
Head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. He started for three years at quarterback at Michigan and went on to play for five teams in the NFL before starting his coaching career.
Tom Harmon (LSA, 1941)
Lived: 602 Monroe
Halfback at Michigan, nicknamed “Old 98.” In the 1940 season he became the first Wolverine to win the Heisman Trophy. After serving as a pilot in WWII, Harmon married actress Elyse Knox and went into sports broadcasting.
Desmond Howard (LSA, 1992)
Lived: South Quad, 1814 Frederick
Retired football player who currently works as a college football analyst for ESPN. He was named Super Bowl MVP as a punt returner for the Green Bay Packers and retired after two seasons with the Detroit Lions. As a U-M wide receiver, he won the Heisman Trophy in 1991.
Juwan Howard (Kinesiology)
Lived: South Quad, 7710 Huber
Professional basketball player currently with the Miami Heat. Raised in Chicago, he was a member of the “Fab Five” players recruited by the Wolverines in 1991. As a freshman, he roomed with his fellow Fab-Fiver Jimmy King.
Derek Jeter (LSA)
Lived: 5506 Couzens
Professional baseball player who has played shortstop for the New York Yankees for 18 seasons. He grew up in Kalamazoo and attended U-M for one semester in 1992, but turned down his scholarship to begin his pro career when the Yankees drafted him.
Barry Larkin (LSA, 1986)
Lived: West Quad, 24 Wenley
Retired shortstop who played for the Cincinnati Reds. Born and raised in Cincinnati, he came to U-M to play football but became a baseball MVP instead after being redshirted as a freshman by football coach Bo Schembechler. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
Rick Leach (Education, 1979)
Lived: West Quad, 0020 Adams
Retired baseball player. He played both football and baseball at U-M and was named All-American in both sports. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1979 and retired from the San Francisco Giants in 1990.
Mike Matheny (Kinesiology, 1991)
Lived: West Quad, 307 Allen Rumsey
Former major league catcher and current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. A native of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, he studied physical education at Michigan and was co-captain of the Wolverine baseball team.
Les Miles (LSA)
Lived: West Quad, 110 Allen Rumsey
“The Mad Hatter” is head football coach at Louisiana State University. Born and raised in Elyria, Ohio, he played football for Bo Schembechler and lettered in 1974 and 1975.
Jalen Rose (LSA)
Lived: South Quad, 7713 Huber
Retired professional basketball player and current sports analyst for ESPN/ABC. Born and raised in Detroit, he was a member of the “Fab Five” recruited by the Wolverines in 1991. As a freshman, he roomed with fellow Fab-Fiver Chris Webber.
Jerome Singleton (Engineering, 2010)
Lived: 654 Peninsula Ct.
Gold medal Paralympic athlete. A native of Irmo, S.C., he earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial and operations engineering at Michigan and has interned with NASA and CERN, still finding time to excel as a sprinter in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Paralympics.
Alexa Canady (LSA, 1971; Medicine, 1975)
Lived: Alice Lloyd, 5508 Palmer
The first woman and first African American to become a neurosurgeon. Born and raised in the Lansing area, she majored in zoology as an undergrad and wrote for The Michigan Daily. She served as chief of neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Michigan from 1987-2001.
Tony Fadell (Engineering, 1991)
Lived: East Quad, 222 Hayden
Computer science engineer who invented the iPod in 2001 and became senior vice president of Apple’s iPod Division in 2005. He is from Grosse Pointe, Mich., and was a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity.
Sanjay Gupta (LSA, 1990; Medicine, 1993)
Lived: East Quad, 330 Hayden
Practicing neurosurgeon and the chief medical correspondent for CNN. A native of Novi, Mich., he earned his bachelor’s in biomedical sciences and was a member of the Men’s Glee Club. He stayed at Michigan to earn his MD and complete his residency.
Larry Page (Engineering, 1994)
Lived: 2108 Couzens
Computer scientist who co-founded Google. Born in Lansing, he majored in computer engineering and was a member of the solar car team.
Edward White (Engineering, 1959)
Lived: 1420 Hatcher Crescent
NASA astronaut who in 1965 became the first American to walk in space. Born in San Antonio, Texas, he earned a master’s in aeronautical engineering at Michigan. He died in 1967 in an Apollo pre-launch accident and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Selma Blair (LSA and Art and Design, 1995)
Lived: 1560 Stockwell
Actress from Southfield, Mich. She transferred to U-M from New York University and is best known for her roles in the films Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde.
Madonna Ciccone (Music, Theatre & Dance)
Lived: 536 S. University Ave., Apt. 10a
One of the most acclaimed pop icons of the 20th century, known for many chart-topping hits, including “Like a Virgin” and “Like a Prayer.” A native of Pontiac, Mich., Madonna received a dance scholarship and attended U-M for two years, then moved to New York City in 1978 to pursue her career in entertainment.
Darren Criss (Music, Theatre & Dance, 2009)
Lived: Baits, 1204 Coman
Actor and musician known for his role on the hit TV series Glee. He grew up in San Francisco and came to Michigan to study theatre and drama. As a senior, he and friends produced the YouTube sensation A Very Potter Musical, which began as part of Michigan’s Basement Arts series.
Ann B. Davis (Music, Theatre & Dance, 1948)
Lived: 3523 Stockwell
Actress popular for her role as Alice on the 1970s TV series, The Brady Bunch. A native of Schenectady, N.Y., she majored in theatre and earned two Emmy Awards for the 1950s comedy, The Bob Cummings Show. She also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
David Alan Grier (LSA, 1978)
Lived: 0145 Mosher
Comedian and actor known for his work on the sketch comedy series In Living Color. Born and raised in Detroit, he first took an interest in acting at Michigan.
James Earl Jones (LSA, 1955)
Lived: West Quad, 214 Allen Rumsey
Actor famous for his roles in The Great White Hope, as the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars, and as the voice of Mufasa in The Lion King. He grew up in Mississippi and Michigan and planned to study medicine, but he took an interest in theater while at U-M. He has received Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe awards, as well as the Academy Honorary Award “for his legacy of consistent excellence and uncommon versatility.”
Lucy Liu (LSA, 1990)
Lived: South Quad, 4809 Taylor
Successful actress known for roles in television’s Ally McBeal and Elementary and the movies Charlie’s Angels and Kill Bill. She majored in Asian languages and cultures and starred in a stage production of Alice in Wonderland during her senior year.
Jessye Norman (Music, 1968)
Lived: Baits I, 2002 Smith
World-renowned opera singer. A native of Augusta, Ga., she came to Michigan to earn her master’s degree. She has received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Gilda Radner (LSA)
Lived: Alice Lloyd, 6503 Palmer
Actress and comedian known for her portrayals of Roseanne Rosanna-Dana and Baba Wawa as an original cast member of Saturday Night Live. A native of Detroit, she studied drama at U-M then moved to Toronto to begin her acting career. She died of ovarian cancer in 1989.
Gerald R. Ford (LSA, 1935)
Lived: 908 Monroe St.
The 38th president of the United States. Raised in Grand Rapids, he majored in economics and was named MVP of the football team in 1934. After his freshman year, he lived in the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity house at 1912 Geddes. He went on to coach boxing and football while earning his law degree at Yale.
Tom Hayden (LSA, 1961)
Lived: South Quad
Political activist and writer known for being a member of the Chicago Seven in 1968. He is a native of Detroit who served as editor of The Michigan Daily, co-founder of the Students for a Democratic Society and author of the left-leaning Port Huron Statement.
Rick Snyder (LSA, 1978; Business, 1979; Law, 1982)
Lived: West Quad, 0203 Allen Rumsey
Governor of Michigan, as well as successful businessman. A native of Battle Creek, he earned his bachelor’s, MBA, and law degrees by the age of 23. He successfully campaigned for governor in 2010 as “One Tough Nerd.”
Raoul Wallenberg (Architecture, 1935)
Lived: 308 E. Madison
A Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of nearly 100,000 Hungarian Jews from extinction during World War II. He graduated with honors from Michigan. He disappeared in Budapest in 1945 and was never found. Today, the Raoul Wallenberg Medal and Lecture are awarded annually in his honor.