Monthly Archives: February 2013

Hearing From Students Directly

When trying to get a feel for how students feel about certain local issues or to see what they’re thinking about being a student at Northern, The North Wind has traditionally done “man on the street” interviews. The “Opinion Poll” and “Sound Off” show pictures of students and their answers to a particular question.

I like reading through them when I’m going through old newspapers. I’ve collected a couple that I thought were funny or interesting.

This one from 1990 asks, “What do you think the sports dome should be named?” Some of the answers are “The Yooper Dome” and “The Queen City Coliseum.” Predictably some people use the opportunity to be funny. Someone suggested “Gordon” as the name for the Dome.

sound off

In the 90s, Northern administrators considered whether winter break should be three or four weeks long. Accompanying an article in the newspaper, students were asked what they thought about the debate.

sound of

There are plenty of questions that aren’t based on Northern but on the lives of these students. In 1993, The North Wind asked, “Do you have any plans to volunteer this holiday season?”

sound off

Written by Lucy Hough


Ishpeming’s Gossard Factory

NTbeaumier1 Today we have a slightly unusual item from the BHC collection. It is a corset made by the H.W. Gossard Company. This item is in our collection because although the company was originally founded in Chicago, in 1920 they bought a warehouse in Ishpeming and turned it into a new factory. This corset was made during the time it was in operation.

NTbeaumier2The factory was a very important part of the community in Ishpeming for as long as it was open. In its hay day, the factory employed well over 500 people, the vast majority of which were women, and helped to pump money into the city’s economy. The factory was in operation until December 31, 1976. The building is now the Pioneer mall in downtown Ishpeming.

This item is currently off display.

Written by Stephen Glover of the BHC

Black History Month: The Griffis Incident

As February draws to a close, we take some time to honor Black History Month. Each year NMU schedules a plethora of events in celebration. This year, Northern hosted events such as a showing of the film “American History X,” a presentation by Ilyasah Shabazz (the daughter of civil rights activist Malcolm X), and Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of a memoir called “The Beautiful Struggle,” as well as a soul food luncheon called “Taste of History.”

Here at the archives, we did our own little digging into the history of NMU during the civil rights movement, and uncovered a protest which occurred right here on campus in December of 1969. A black NMU student, Charles Griffis, had been accused of having a girl in his Spooner Hall dorm room, which was in violation of University regulations. As a result, the All-University Student Judiciary voted to suspend him for two semesters.

Sit-In News CoverageIn response to the Judiciary decision, more than 70 black students took control of the Dean of Students Office and held it for 19 hours. Dr. Allan Niemi, Vice President for Student Affairs, was threatened and held for a half hour. President John X. Jamrich was denied entry during this time, and the office was vandalized, resulting in $395 in damages. Griffis later appealed the decision and was acquitted.Patrick Williams news photo

After the incident, an investigation ensued. The Black Student Association and 24 black students faced possible charges from the University, but eventually all charges were dropped. This event is but a small example of moments that have helped shape the civil rights movement, and serves as a reminder of the discrimination that many valuable citizens have faced in America. Though our country still has a long way to go, it’s encouraging to see how far we have come.

If you’re interested in learning more about this NMU event and other student riots, come visit the NMU Archives in room 126 of the LRC (down by Starbucks).

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner and Olivia Ernst.

Not that kind of Greek…

Alpha Gamma Delta, Kappa Beta Gamma, Phi, Say What? Greek life at NMU is often overlooked and is lacking compared to its potential and possibilities. At many universities and colleges around the nation, Greek life and its opportunities are a big part of college life. Central Michigan and Michigan Tech, for example, have many fraternities/sororities and houses which are part of the tradition, so pride in Greek life remains intact for them. These days at NMU, the community and school itself doesn’t give the Greeks the same support it once did. Only four sororities and four fraternities remain.

Greek houses were once on the streets of Tracy, Norwood, and Schaffer, forming NMU’s “Greek Row.” In spring of 1987, Marquette and NMU teamed up to form a committee on Greek row to further develop housing and the Greek life as a whole.

John X. Jamrich crowning one of the elected "Gods" during Greek Week.

Does anyone know who this Greek “God” being crowned by John X. Jamrich is?

“Greek Week” was also more elaborate in the ‘80s, and consisted of God/Goddess voting and crowning (a mock wedding at the end of the week), tug-of-war, torch runs through campus, bed races, eating contests, gym night, and a reception for the NMU administration. Many of these events would also benefit a good cause or local charity, such as the Marquette General Hospital Pediatric Unit.

Greek life in college can have many advantages, such as friendships, connections for job placement, and community service and volunteer hours. Unfortunately for NMU, since the early ‘90s our Greek life has steadily fallen from grace and the “Golden Age of the Greeks” is now history.

For more information about this “Golden Age” and some of the controversies that led to its demise, stop by the NMU Archives in room 126 of the LRC.

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner and Olivia Ernst.

Snow culture at NMU

One of the first things prospective students ask about upon visiting or searching NMU is, how do you handle the winter? And even though it’s certainly intimidating, winter weather becomes part of the culture here at NMU. In my opinion, it’s one of the most unifying aspects of Northern and integral to what makes Northern so great.

Inevitably, this love and presence of winter shows up in Northern’s student newspapers over time.

There are articles in which students wonder what the weather will be like, like this one in 1990 that cites the Old Farmer’s Almanac and local meteorologists.


But, keeping in mind how much snow makes life what it is here, I love looking at all of the pictures of winter weather in the past. Here are some of those pictures:

winter5 winter4 winter3 winter2

With winter weather also comes winter sports. This article ran in 1968 and shows how many skiing opportunities exist in the Upper Peninsula. Certainly, some of it’s outdated, but I think this illustrates the importance and range of opportunities in the U.P. To read the whole article and see the specific places of note, click on the photo.


Though we’re getting less snow than we have in years past, it hasn’t stopped today’s student newspaper from commenting on the weather, like about the snow day policy or crosswalk safety over icy roads. Both of these articles ran in last week’s North Wind.

Written by Lucy Hough

The “Friends” that Saved the Radio

Public Radio 90 Banner

Courtesy of Public Radio 90, WNMU-FM

Public Radio 90 WNMU-FM has had a long history on campus, starting in 1963. Though we’re celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, it could have been a different story. In 1980 their existence was threatened by budget cuts and today’s WNMU-FM exists thanks to the efforts of Friends to Save Public Radio 90.

When news of the budget cuts surfaced and the radio station faced the chopping block, John Weting, a local architect, spearheaded petition efforts.  In April of 1981, the community banded together and Friends to Save Public Radio 90 was formed. It was co-chaired by Robert Bordeau, a Marquette attorney, and Phyllis Reynolds, namesake of the Reynolds Recital Hall on campus. The President of National Public Radio (NPR), Frank Mankiewicz, agreed to be honorary chairman.

“Friends” organized many fundraising events, such as a wine and cheese tasting festival, benefit movies and concerts, and an auction that included a pair of Mohammed Ali’s shorts and an autographed copy of ‘Anatomy of a Murder.’ The biggest money maker was a direct mail campaign in which 13,000 letters were mailed throughout the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin. After extensive planning and effort, Friends to Save Public Radio 90 was a huge success, raising over $35,000!

Many prominent members of the community served on the executive board, including Sam Cohodas (namesake of Cohodas Hall), June Jamrich (wife of John Jamrich), John Kiltinen, and our favorite local celebrity, John Voelker.

Thanks to “Friends,” Public Radio 90 was able to stay up and running until federal grants and funding were available, which sustained them for another 30 years. Hopefully WNMU-FM can keep broadcasting for many years to come.

Don’t forget that we’ll be hosting another Evening at the Archives on March 14th, featuring a presentation by one of the current Public Radio 90 staff members. Come join us to learn more about the incredible history of WNMU-FM and how it fits into the context of National Public Radio!

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner and Olivia Ernst. 

Free U at NMU

freeuOne of the rewarding aspects of a college education, especially from four-year universities like Northern, is the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. At Northern, students have the opportunity to participate in Skillbuilders! put on by the Center for Student Enrichment and Student Leader Fellowship Program. There’s also the Northern Center for Lifelong Learning which offers classes on topics like woodworking and local history. And, particularly with the NCLL, these classes are available not just to students but to the community as a whole so that everyone is able to share their knowledge and learn together.

These programs aren’t a new idea. A collection of classes and workshops, Free University started in the fall of 1976 with funds from the Student Activity Fee. When it began, there were seven classes and 85 people participated. By the early 80s, Free U included 50 classes and over 1,000 participants per semester.

The program was unique because it was run entirely by students. Similar programs at other schools typically had a paid staff, but Northern’s Free U was organized by students but included professors and Marquette residents to run the classes.

Workshop and class topics during Free U’s tenure ranged from “Investing for Pleasure and Gain” to “Appalachian Clog Dancing.”

In the early 80s, NMU students paid $1 to participate and non-students paid $3. In the classes, students made up 52 percent of the classes, and Marquette residents the rest.

Interest in Free U waned in the late 80s and the program was terminated. A similar program was revived in the fall of 1998, which focused on wellness programs like bass fishing and massage therapy. These classes were under the purview of the Student Activities and Leadership Programs, similar today. But Discovery Daze is also similar to the group fitness classes that are currently held at the PEIF. All of the programs today – fitness classes at the PEIF, NCLL and Skillbuilders! – are all organized by a full-time staff, losing what made Free U so unique.

Written by Lucy Hough