LSA senior Steven Roach was awarded a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when he was named by Gov. John Engler to the Michigan Quarter Commission last week.
Roach, an art history and organizational studies major who has worked for Christie”s Auction House and the Professional Coin Grading Service in Los Angeles, will work with 24 other commission members to choose from among the numerous designs submitted for the state”s quarter, expected to be released in early 2004.
The commission is chaired by former state Department of Education Superintendent Arthur Ellis and co-chaired by former Lt. Gov. Connie Binsfeld. It includes many former and current public officials such as Binsfeld and Ellis, but also coin collectors, artists, business officials and even a former astronaut from Michigan, Jerry Linenger.
Roach said does not want a prominent Michigan landmark, such as the Mackinac Bridge, to be featured on the state”s 25-cent piece. He prefers a familiar aspect of life in the state, such as the scene on Vermont”s quarter, which features a man collecting syrup from trees with mountains in the background.
“It”s something that”s indirectly associated with Vermont,” he said.
“I”d ideally like the state quarter to be University of Michigan-related, but there are a lot of alumni from other Michigan schools on the committee, so that probably won”t happen,” he said.
The 50 State Quarters Program was established by Congress in 1997 and as party of the program, the U.S. Mint circulates a specially-designed quarter for a different state every 10 weeks.
The quarters are minted in order of their respective state”s entry into the Union. Fifteen have been released so far.
The commission will submit three to five final designs to the mint by February 2002 which will, in turn, choose a winner by the end of next year. Other commission members said they have no ideal design, but they want a coin that would represent all of the state.
“My role here is to make sure that we effectively are inclusive of all interests,” said commission member Keith Molin, a former University associate athletic director and a member of Gov. William Milliken”s cabinet.
Molin said there are many groups each clamoring for different designs.
“It”s really kind of an educational exercise and an exercise in Michigan history,” he said.
“It”s got to be something that, when you take a look at it, even without taking a look at the label, you can say, “It”s probably Michigan,”” Molin added.
Another commission member, Northern Michigan University President Judith Bailey, echoed Molin”s remarks, but added, “The quarter should be one that represents the state and one that people around the state and coin collectors are interested in.”
Bailey said she was pleased that the governor chose commission members from “a broad spectrum of people.”
Those interested in submitting a design for the quarter can do so by mail or through the state”s website, www.michigan.gov, where visitors can use a template to create a design.