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March 3, 2011 - 4:34pm

Michigan Myth: Does the University's Alumni Association have a chapter on the moon?


While the legend that a University of Michigan flag stands proudly on the moon isn’t true, there is truth to a related myth that claims a chapter of the University of Michigan Alumni Association was founded during the lunar landing in 1971.

As the legend goes, the team of astronauts on the Apollo 15 journey took a charter for a University Alumni Association branch with them into space to officially form an alumni association on the moon. The legend is, in fact, true.

The three former University students — astronauts Colonel David Scott, Major Alfred Worden and Colonel James Irwin — who piloted Apollo 15 did leave behind a document that established a charter of the University of Michigan Alumni Association on the moon.

The charter makes the University the first and only school to have an alumni association chapter on the moon.

The only evidence of the charter is a document, etched into a 45-word plaque that was left behind on the lunar surface.

“The Alumni Association of The University of Michigan. Charter Number One,” the charter reads. “This is to certify that The University of Michigan Club of The Moon is a duly constituted unit of the Alumni Association and entitled to all the rights and privileges under the Association’s Constitution.”

With those words, the University's Alumni Association on the moon was founded. It’s a history that the Alumni Association continues to boast, highlighting the fact on its website.

And while the moon may be the most unusual branch of the Alumni Association, it’s far from the only chapter. With more than 460,000 University alumni living across the globe, the University’s Alumni Association has established chapters in 31 countries and has numerous chapters throughout the United States.