On every tour of campus, tour guides decked out in maize and blue take prospective students to the Diag to see the block M, warning them not to step on it for fear of failing their first blue book exam. But the campus landmark wasn’t always a part of the Diag.
It was the class of 1953 that cemented the large brass M into the sidewalk located in front of Hatcher Graduate Library. But decades before that, a Plant Department employee created the crest out of brick and mortar, according to the Alumni Association’s website. Perry Kimbel first had the idea in 1922, when the Hatcher Graduate Library had just been established.
The myths surrounding the M have been around as long as the figure itself. Generations ago, sophomores felt responsible to protect the M from newly admitted freshmen, according to the alumni website, and now proud Michigan fans guard it from Michigan State fans before the two football teams meet each year.
The only way to reverse the curse that comes from stepping on the block M is to run naked from the library to the Bell Tower, according to the grad library’s website.
Students and University officials hold such reverence for the block M that when graduation was held in the Diag last year, chairs were situated strategically around the M so as not to obscure it in any way.