I visited the Bently Historical Library to look at some biographical and strategic planning documents written by or about James Duderstadt, who the building was named after.
As a nuclear engineering professor turned president, Duderstadt was an avid supporter of the University of Michigan’s advancement as a technologically proficient university. I learned from newspaper articles at the time that he had a rather unorthodox and energetic style to his engagements. He was well liked by the students and faculty, appealing to younger crowds more than the old-timers.
I also learned that Duderstadt plaid an instrumental role in the integration of racially pluralistic university practices. He spoke strongly and frequently on issues of race relations and instituted many rules and resources aiding minority students and staff.
I want to amplify James Duderstadt’s ambition and acceptance, which fits nicely in the current age of technological opportunity and political pluralism. This might be achieved with a donor wall, entrance display, or small quotes and images throughout the building.