Senior Goodbyes 2009

Max Collins/Daily
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Published December 13, 2009

Ruth Lincoln, Senior Sports Editor

No experience at this university has been as enriching as my time at the Daily. I'm so thankful I stumbled into 420 Maynard as a sophomore and became part of something bigger than myself.

I learned more from Carol Hutchins, John Beilein and Rich Rodriguez than I could have ever imagined. Experiencing historic places like Assembly Hall, Madison Square Garden, Kansas City and the pressbox at Michigan Stadium every Saturday still gives me chills. I hate to be self-serving, but what makes the Daily so special, and what I will always remember, is the people.

Thank you to my parents. Your unconditional love and support has meant so much to me. To my mom, for suggesting I join the Daily. To my dad for reading every one of my articles and sharing your enthusiasm. I am so fortunate to have such wonderful role models. I love you both so much and there is nothing else for which I am more thankful.

My beatmates -- Mike, Andy, Courtney, Alex, Kohler, Ian, AO -- you made every road trip an experience and seasons of ups and downs overwhelmingly positive. Thank you for all your helpful suggestions, highway conversations and caring personalities. Thank you to the SIDs for making our jobs a little easier.

To all my wonderful friends. You're the reason I stayed. I've never met more highly motivated, diligent, intelligent and above all genuine people in one place. Thank you to my beatmates, Gjon, Chantel, Ryan K, Mark B, Chris M, Chris H, Nate, Jose, Brom, Ian R, Jack, Mark G, Scott, Amy, Podges, Colt, Nicole, Mike, Nick, Tim, Lisa, Clif, Zach, Said, Chanel, and all those I'm forgetting.

Thank you to Gary for wonderful leadership and relentlessly positive attitude as EIC. It's been a pleasure to work with you.

To all the editors who came before me and took a chance on me. I hope I didn't disappoint you too much.

To Angelique, Mark Snyder, Chris Balas and John Borton. Your time, thoroughness and talent have made Michigan beat writing so renowned. It's been a pleasure to learn from you these last two years.

To John Lowe, for his tireless compassion, understanding and brilliant suggestions. You made my stories more thoughtful, colorful and enjoyable and my time at the Daily as well.

Finally I want to thank my current and former housemates for being consummate friends. And my boyfriend for making me so happy.

Jessica Vosgerchian, Magazine Editor

Daily — you were the best and worst part of my college career.

Fuck you. Thank you.

Allie Ghaman, Managing Design Editor

During the Welcome Week of freshman year, I walked into the Daily's office and instantly found the career I was born to pursue.

Like the majority of my best decisions, it was a serendipitous accident.

I had popped out of high school with a love of black and white film photography and proudly had my three-ring binder portfolio with me, to apply to Photostaff.

The photo editor that fateful evening was Alex, a very nice man as I later learned, but hawkish and stern-looking. I got about three yards away from him before I quailed in my little freshman boots, lost my courage and turned a 180 to retreat.

I found myself looking at the design editor, Bridget O'Donnell. She was smiling and looked approachable, and though I didn't know a serif from a section sign, I decided I'd give design a try. I went to talk to her.

I didn't know that I'd just met the young woman who would become my best friend. But I did know, a few days later, when I clumsily threw together my first print page, that I had found a complex, exotic and rewarding field that immediately resonated with me.

I remember walking to a Daily party in the winter of my freshman year with a writer, another freshman, and talking about what we wanted to get from the Daily. I told her that I wanted to be one of the group of managing editors, closely bonded to the other editors and to the Daily. The sleepless nights, the emotional intensity, the huge responsibility — I knew what I was getting into, but I wanted it all.

Two years later, I got just that. And though my year as managing design editor was one of the hardest of my life, I wouldn't have traded one moment of it. I grew immensely as a person and as a designer.

I am certainly not a natural designer. Especially in my first year on design staff, acquiring every new skill was a battle. It's still a thrilling but intense learning process.

But I have been so fortunate to have found editors and colleagues at the Daily who are talented, helpful and have patient with me from day one. There are a few in particular I'd like to thank.

To Bridget O'Donnell, former design and online managing editor; Angela "Mom" Cesere, former photo and online editor; Mike Hulsebus, former photo editor; William Couch, former Statement designer; Andrew Sargus Klein, former arts editor; Ashley Dinges, former design editor; Eston Bond, former online editor; Lindsey Ungar, former design editor; and Lisa Gentile, former designer:

I would not be the person I am today without each of you. I could not have been luckier in finding friends as caring or as talented as each of you. I am constantly inspired and challenged by your creativity and insight. The great heights to which you all aspired have set a high bar for me, but with your help and encouragement I have laid the foundation for a newsdesign career I cannot wait to begin. I cannot overemphasize the impact you all have had on my life, nor thank you enough. The last four years have been a rush, but they are only the beginning.

Katherine Mitchell, Copy Chief

Trudging to the temporary location of the Student Publications Building at North Division and Huron was brutal from the Hill my freshman year. After becoming an editor at the real building behind Betsy Barbour, those trudges became shorter but later — much later. Through every late night, take-out meal and missed deadline, the Daily remained, and some driving force has kept me here the last three and a half years, experiencing more changes and lessons than I'd care to think over sometimes.

The Daily is an entity at which more words of frustration and hatred have been targeted than almost anything else during my college experience. Forget papers, grades and professors — the Daily has been at the receiving end of most college-related angst. At the same time, the Daily has been unwavering, constantly there and constantly bringing a sense of accomplishment and joy to my time on campus. I can trace my time at the University through our archives and our papers. It's rewarding to recognize I made a small contribution to remembering when Obama won the election or when the MSA president resigned from office.

To my dear newsies, stay strong! Don't let the Daily eat you. You're one step ahead with awesome community, so just don't let that distract you from deadline. Steph, Kyle and Nicole, I know you guys will rock it.

To Emily, thanks for being my forever friend. Without you, these past three years would not have been nearly as entertaining without many freak-outs and venting sessions about all aspects of the Daily. Who knew we would still be here, so far from where we started but still drinking coffee like water?

To Allie and Bridget, my dear design buddies, thanks for long nights and lots of coffee. None of us knew we would make it, and I am completely indebted to you for your loving kindness from day one and beyond.

To my dear copyeditors, you all are awesome! Laura, Katie, Sara, Dave, Marie, Caty, Erin, Josie, Amy, Eileen, Dani, Jillian V. and Jillian W. — I am so proud of all of you and cannot wait to see how you all make Copy better!

To Adi, my Goldfish-loving, Crossword-dominating counterpart, have an awesome time in Florence!

And to Melanie & Rachel, I am so excited for you two. I'm around to hold some hands if need be, but I can't wait to see what you two do with the Desk!

So goodbye, Michigan Daily, no longer will you feed my masochistic tendencies but forever will you remain a part of what shaped my four years at Michigan. As much as I've made the newsroom a place of supreme frustration, I will truly miss all of you in it.

Brian Flaherty, Associate Editorial Page Editor

I doubt that I can succinctly express all of the things that the Daily has given to me, so I’ll instead list three of them. At the Daily, I’ve experienced plenty of moments in which I loved my life — moments when I was at my best, completely immersed in my work, perfectly in line with the things that give my life value and perfectly happy. I now know what I want out of life: I want to experience moments like that every day. That’s one.

Number two: The Daily challenged me, pushed me harder than any other activity I’ve encountered on campus and stretched the limits of my perseverance, my mind and my skills. I’m a better person for having worked here, and I owe a great debt to the editors who pushed me to be better, challenged me and supported me to make sure I wouldn’t fail.

The Daily was also a place on campus where I could be surrounded by people who share my dedication to this institution, its work and the ideals it stands for. At the Daily, I’ve met exceptional people who I admire as well as some of my best friends.

Michigan Daily, I love you. And I never truly hated you — except intermittently. Thanks.

Robert Soave, Editorial Page Editor

I guess you can never predict the future. I never expected — or wanted — to go into journalism. But one day, I’m the administrator of a Facebook group titled “The Michigan Daily is Liberal Propaganda,” and the next, I’m elected to be the opinion editor of said propaganda. How did that happen?

I’ve learned so much, but perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned to be skeptical of authority. Future opinion editors: If you aren’t wandering around the newsroom insisting that 120 years of editorial freedom is about to end if X happens, you aren’t taking your job seriously enough.

This has been such an adventure. I have so many people to thank for supporting and encouraging me. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Ryan and Carrie, for indulging me when I needed to vent and forgiving me when I needed to disappear back to the Daily. Thank you, Imran, Kate, Emmarie and Gary — you old defenders of editorial freedom — for helping me grow as an editorialist. Thank you, Brian, Rachel, Emily, Emma, Emad and Kiddo, for barely complaining when I piled extra work on you at the last minute. And thank you, every best friend I’ve made at the Daily — there are too many of you to mention everyone, but I have to specifically thank Courtney, Jamie and Kyle. I’ve been so lucky getting to know you.

Farewell my friends. And remember, if Ann Arbor City Council passes a height cap, 120 years of editorial freedom is over.

Whitney Pow, Senior Arts Editor

The Daily has helped me sharpen my voice and my understanding of the words that we write to affect emotion, carry information and challenge opinion. As a newspaper, the Daily has thrown me out with a tape recorder on a winter evening, last-minute chatting with Herb David, staying up all night at Ambrosia to write a B-Side feature story about it. As an institution, the Daily has thrown me into a group of editors whom I respect and feel free to argue with and agree with as equals, talking animatedly while retrieving Chipotle for a late night of work. I can’t believe I spent three years here, writing for Arts, editing Fine Arts, editing the B-Side, churning out an Arts page almost every day, an Arts insert every week and eating countless meals with editors here. As an understatement, I do think I’ll miss this place. Thank you for everything.

Lan Truong, Designer

Dear Daily,

Thanks for everything. It's been grand. For the most part.


Mike Eisenstein, Senior Sports Editor

This is the hardest story I've ever written, even though it's just a few paragraphs long and, well, not even a real story.

(As a side note, if you don't know me, I'm an incredibly sentimental and emotional person, so this is actually somewhat difficult for me.)

(As another side note, I can be excessively sarcastic at times. Please forgive me, dear reader.)

Anyway, here's what I got.

To the rest of the outpouring in this space about how much this paper means to everyone: Amen. (Thanks for doing the sentimental work for me!)

To the outgoing editors: I had fun, and I hope you did, too. There's also some of you I have incredible respect for. I think you know who you are. (If you can't figure out who you are, then you're responsible for making one of my favorite cliches sound stupid.)

To the incoming editors: I challenge you to find ways to improve the paper aside from just writing better and editing better. (Seriously.)

To the people slightly younger than me: You won't fully understand this place until you leave. You might think you do, but you don't. (Seriously.)

To the readers: Thanks for recycling our print edition and not just throwing it away, even if it's before reading what's inside. I'm glad to help the environment in any way. (Semi-seriously.)

To John Lowe: Thanks for helping me think differently about every story I wrote and all of your advice. You made my writing and reporting much better.

To the football beat: Ruth, writing on a beat with you for the first time made the season much more enjoyable. Andy, don't ever cut your hair, and you definitely made this place more fun again. Courtney, I'm still angry at you for beating me in staff picks. Harumph.

To everyone not on the football beat: I'll do these in person because I'm running out of space and crappy jokes. But here's a quick list of people, in no particular order, that I want to recognize for making my Daily experience great — Gjon, Felds, the whole beach house, Peej, Meszaros, Six-Star, Kartje, Said, Clif, Jake, Jillian, Trevor, Gary and those few who (I assume) would like to remain anonymous.

And to the Daily: It's been real. Thanks again.

Alex Prosperi, Senior Sports Editor

Had I not spent four years at the Daily, I would not have road tripped to places like Connecticut, Kansas and Minnesota, nearly killed myself driving through snow in said road trips, seen a co-worker run face-first into an icy fence, been pulled over twice in 24 hours while learning the importance of graduate school, consumed beverages with professional journalists, played Chair Monkey, drank enough Coke to supply a small country, ate enough B-Dubs to supply that same small country, started to actually read, met the great Pat Forde and maybe the nicest person ever, Angelique Chengelis, learned about the CBI or, most importantly, own an unblemished record against The State News.

Emily Barton, Associate Editorial Page Editor

How to say goodbye to something bigger than myself. How to say goodbye to the place that presented a new challenge each day, to the people who witnessed me at my best and at my worst. How to say goodbye to everything I did well, and everything I could have done better. How to say goodbye to the walls that became home, to the floors paced at all hours of the night. How to say goodbye to the place that helped define who I am and who I will become. You have to be a little crazy to love this kind of madness, but I wouldn't trade the time I spent here for anything else.

Courtney Ratkowiak, Managing Editor

My goodbye column is coincidentally running on the same day as these senior goodbyes, so most of what I would want to say about what the Daily has meant to me is detailed there.

Mom and Dad — I know you didn’t really like the time it took to do this (or the time away from schoolwork), but I also know in the end, you have been my two biggest fans. Thank you for everything. Stephen — GO BLUE.

Scott and Nate — thanks for making my writing better and making it easy for me to stick with the Daily. John Lowe — thank you for selflessly coming into the Daily office every Sunday to help make our stories better.

To my beatmates and co-editors over the past three years — from "over or under?" to "Lights" to cheese curds, it’s been a fun ride.

Whoever told me you meet your closest friends at the Daily was right. Mike, Nicole and Peej — with you there, nightsides are so much more tolerable and weekends are so much more fun. I will miss you like crazy next year.

But some of those friends are also outside of 420 Maynard. Lorn, thanks for being there for the past eight years (and for putting up with my crazy Daily schedule). Janelle, Kristen, Natalie, Jess, Nicole — the b-school ladies — thanks for listening to me talk about the newspaper 24/7. I promise I’m done.

Gary — we were an unlikely editing tandem, but I think it has worked. Thanks for trusting me enough to make me your managing editor. Robby — after bugging you for almost two semesters to make me dinner, your chicken alfredo was delicious.

Ryan, Jake and Matt — good luck. And to the Daily’s up-and-coming sportswriters — stick with sports. I promise it’s worth it.

Andy — From yelling at Tyrese Rice to pull up his pants to yelling at hockey players while you’re wearing a chicken suit from Halloween USA, we’ve attended — and covered — a lot of ridiculous sporting events together. It was weird being your sort-of boss these last two semesters, and I’m relieved that’s over. But I’m glad the rest isn’t.

Andy Reid, Managing Sports Editor

It's probably fitting that I'm writing my "senior goodbye" — which is supposed to capsulize four amazing years at the Daily in a nice 100-word package — 45 minutes after it was due. Even as I'm typing these words, it's not hitting me that I'm actually done here, that I'll have 60-80 hours a week more of free time, that I'll actually sleep next semester, that schoolwork will actually be a part of my life, that I won't be a part of the single most incredible group here on campus, that I will no longer take road trips around the country with my best friends almost every weekend, that I will no longer attend Rich Rodriguez presser threes times a week and that The Michigan Daily is in my rearview mirror.


I still have a weekly column, and, after a few months to let all of this actually sink in, I'll write a really, sappy goodbye just like all these others you see. Because, right now, I can't imagine what life will be like without it. So, instead of boring you right now, I'll let you get on, after a quick list of thank-yous.

Thanks to Courtney for wandering around Denver with me. Thanks to Mike for SB09 (God Bless Donny). Thanks to Ruth, Peej, Nate, Kohler, Felds and Herring for being awesome beat mates. Thanks to Scott Bell for predicting I'd become MSE within a few weeks of my coming to the Daily. Thanks to Clif for, well, ilu... 'nuff said. Thanks to Tim Rohan for not turning on the light in Oklahoma City (great story, to this day). Thanks to my mom and dad for understanding that my priorities were Daily>School. Thanks to Gary for having such great hair and for helping me pay for my trip to Pahokee. roflmfao.

And to all the youngsters — stay with it. When you're struggling to say things that can't really ever be expressed in words in your own Senior Goodbye, you'll realize. This is the best fucking way to spend four years at Michigan. Now, excuse me, while I go celebrate.

Clif Reeder, Managing Photo Editor

I'll try to keep this short. Working at the Daily has defined my college experience, and I've seen and learned more here than I could have imagined three years ago. That said, I just want to say thanks to a couple people.

Thanks to the everyone on Photo Staff. You guys have been amazing. Thanks to my non-Daily friends for keeping me sane. Thanks to everyone who's put their blood, sweat and tears into this paper over the last 120 years. And finally, thanks to my Mom and Dad for everything.

Love and hugs,

David Watnick, Managing Arts Editor

There are so many things I’ll cherish about my four years at Michigan.

Playing Mario Kart in Couzens. Traying in the Arb. Getting BTB for lunch — and then again for dinner. Grooving through the soles of my shoes at Soul Club. Booing the referees as they take the ice at Yost.

But none of them will ever captivate my heart quite like the Michigan Daily.

Love always,


Said Alsalah, Senior Photo Editor

The biggest regret of my college career is that I didn't join the Daily earlier. The paper has defined the past two years for me, and is something that I will cherish for years to come. Leaving is hard, but the paper is in highly capable hands and I'm sure the new crop of editors will take the Daily to new and even higher places.

The hard work, dedication and effort the Daily staffers put into the paper is truly admirable and I'm proud to have been able to work with such inspirational people.

Thanks to all of Photo for their hard work. Congrats to SJW and MAX, AEB and JED.


Zachary Meisner, Managing Photo Editor

Four things I want to remember about this place when I Google myself 30 years from now (if the Internet still exists):
- I cared about the institution more than anything but didn't take myself too seriously
- Covering America's most historic election
- It is always worth losing sleep
- Going to Steak and Shake after work because 12 hours being around people you love wasn't enough

Gary Graca, Editor in Chief

This is a beautiful place. I'm glad I chose to stick around when times got tough.

Emad Ansari, Opinion writer

Graduating early and leaving Ann Arbor for good is hard. Forgoing one more year at the Daily is even harder. It’s been frustrating and challenging. But never, ever boring (except at certain Editboards). Thank you — to 420 Maynard, Robby, Brian, Emma, Emily, Rachel, Gary, Harun, Dave, Imran.

Khuda Hafiz.