More than 300 Michigan Daily, Gargoyle and Michiganensian alumni from the past 80 years gathered on Friday to dedicate the renovated and renamed Stanford Lipsey Student Publications Building.
At the center of the ceremonies was Lipsey himself, a former Daily and Michiganensian photographer in the 1940s who contributed $3 million to the renovation of the 75-year-old building.
Lipsey, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973, shared his experiences from a lifelong career in journalism with the audience.
“(Journalists) have to ask the questions,” said Lipsey, who is now publisher of The Buffalo News. “They have to have the tenacity and knowledge, and we see that spirit right here.”
Lipsey also said he would endow six $5,000 annual scholarships for staff members at the three student publications.
He said that if the United States is to move in the right direction, today’s young journalists must reach out to their fellow young people to create a knowledgeable public.
“It’s the journalists who can inform, clarify and verify,” Lipsey said. “And who could be better on figuring out how to reach their peer group than the thinking and committed journalists from the Michigan Student Publications Building?”
University President Mary Sue Coleman, former University Regent Phil Power, co-chair of the University’s Board for Student Publications Jim Reische and Daily Editor in Chief Karl Stampfl also spoke at the ceremony.
Power, Daily editorial director in 1960 and a University regent from 1987 to 1998, said the Daily was one of the most formative times in his life, one that would also inspire him to pursue a career in journalism.
“Our work (at the Daily) honed our skills as much or more than any course we ever took,” Power said. “It was through the Daily that we entered the life of the engaged mind.”
As a Daily editorial writer, Power wrote a column calling for the creation of a national youth volunteer organization. The piece made it into the hands of President Kennedy and inspired the creation of the Peace Corps a year later.
In a keynote speech at a banquet after the building dedication, Ann Marie Lipinski, Daily co-editor in chief from 1977 to 1978 and now editor of the Chicago Tribune, said her first memory of the Daily was then-editor and future Pulitzer Prize-winner Daniel Biddle instructing reporters while standing atop the long composing counters that were a centerpiece of the Daily’s old newsroom.
Lipinski, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988, said working at the Daily taught her the value of learning by doing.
Lipinski, Biddle and Lipsey are among the five Pulitzer Prize winners who got their start in journalism at 420 Maynard St.
Although the building at 420 Maynard St. has seen extensive renovations, many alumni still found things to remind them of their years there.
Roma Connable said the stained glass windows and tiled walls brought her back to her time working as the Daily’s editorial director in 1951.
“It’s just amazing how they’ve preserved all the original features,” Connable said.
For many, the dedication ceremony and ensuing reunion was an opportunity for alumni to swap memories from their time working in the building.
George Quick, Gargoyle editor in chief from 1937 to 1938 – and the oldest alum at the dedication – said Life magazine described the Gargoyle as the university arts magazine “with the most beautiful girls.”
Al Connable, Daily city editor in 1953, recounted the time when the FBI conducted an official search of the Daily’s archives after it published an editorial that criticized the McCarthy-era Smith Act, which banned discussion of overthrowing the U.S. government and was used to persecute many alleged communists during the 1940s and 1950s.