Politicians Come to NMU

With the presidential primaries heating up all over the country, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some political figures who have visited Northern Michigan University over the years. While not all of these individuals successfully became a President of the United States, all of them did at least make a bid for the White House.

On November 16, 1978 former President Gerald R. Ford made a special visit to NMU following the conclusion of his presidency the previous year. After Nixon’s resignation from office in 1974, Ford carried out the remainder of the presidential term until 1977. Ford visited NMU and met with University leaders including then University President John Jamrich.


Former President Gerald Ford speaking at NMU in 1978.

During his visit Ford met students all over campus, including those studying in the Olson Library. The picture below shows Ford (holding a football and other memorabilia) and a group of excited young men.


Ford and a group of excitable young men.

Several decades later, during his bid for re-election in 2004, former President George W. Bush led a rally at the Superior Dome. Images from that day show the large crowds gathered to welcome Bush to the Upper Peninsula. In addition to those supporting Bush’s bid for a second presidential term, there were also those in attendance who opposed Bush and his presidency. For more images from that day, including scenes involving secret service members and other Marquette locals, please stop by and check out our extensive Photographic File!


Former President George W. Bush leads a rally in 2004.

Prior to his re-election in 2012, current President Barack Obama paid a special visit to Marquette after Marquette was awarded a special honor by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. During his visit in February 2011, President Obama commended Marquette and Northern Michigan University for their advances in providing widespread internet access through innovative means. To read more about the President’s visit to Marquette, please click here.


President Obama makes his way through a crowd of spectators at NMU.

Although this last presidential hopeful never quite made it to the final ticket in November 1968, he did serve as the Governer of Michigan from 1963-1969. As the leader of the Republican ticket in 1967, Romney soon fell behind his running mate Richard Nixon and dropped out of the race in 1968. Although the date of Romney’s visit to NMU is unknown, we do have proof that he met with then University President Edgar Harden. You might recognize the surname as the same as another recent presidential candidates’ – and you would be right. Mitt Romney, George’s son, was the Republican nominee for president in 2012.

romney 1

George Romney seated with then University President Edgar Harden.

For more on our collections, including the photographs used here, please check out our searchable database ArchivesSpace.

Blog post written by Sara Kiszka.


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