Photo Album: University of Michigan Bicentennial

Oct 18, 2017

In 2017, the University of Michigan celebrated its bicentennial through a series of events ranging from lectures to festivals, art exhibits to live performances. Each event focused on either one or more of the Bicentennial themes: Serving the People, Pursuing Ideas, Creating and Inventing, Teaching Powerfully, Challenging Society, Forever Hailing. 

We've collected a series of photos from throughout the year. As the year concludes, we've collected a year-in-review photo collection of some of the #UMich200 highlights.

Photos provided by Michigan Photography.

Lighting of Burton Tower

The campus landmark was outfitted with a new system that illuminates the tower from within, with more than 100 LED bulbs that can be programmed in various colors. Throughout the year, Burton Tower glowed maize and blue, as well as other colors, for bicentennial events.

Legal Scholars

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Suzanne Baer, of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, kicked off the year with a January discussion about the future of university community, stressing the importance of developing diversity in higher education. The justices spoke to a capacity crowd at Hill Auditorium for the first of three bicentennial colloquia hosted by President Mark Schlissel and focused on the university of tomorrow.

True Blue

Michigan alumni Darren Criss, Sanjay Gupta, Andrea Joyce and Cecilia Muñoz were among the distinguished alumni who joined U-M students and faculty in a live multi-media performance celebrating Michigan’s 200 years. The April 8 show took place in a sold-out Hill Auditorium.

Stumbling Blocks

Pop-up art installations across the U-M campus drew attention to missteps and challenges from U-M’s past. On the Diag, 950 chairs sat empty in the spring to recognize the loss of underrepresented minority students because of a 2006 statewide ban on affirmative action in college admissions.

Former U-M presidents

All of U-M’s living former presidents gathered April 6 in Rackham Auditorium with President Mark Schlissel to discuss both the past and future of higher education. Joining Schlissel were (l-r in photo) Harold T. Shapiro, James J. Duderstadt, Lee C. Bollinger and Mary Sue Coleman.

New campus art

For the first time ever, the contributions of U-M staff – the university’s largest group of employees – are being recognized with a public art installation. Located on East University Mall, the sculpture “Arriving Home” is the work of artist Dennis Oppenheim.

River in Our City, River in Our Veins

To mark the importance of the Huron River to both the campus and community, giant puppets roamed the North Campus. They included a 50-foot-long river and a 12-foot heron, as well as a giant dragonfly, frogs, tadpoles and lilypads – all designed and animated by U-M students, who also composed accompanying music.

Halftime show

A Michigan Stadium homecoming performance by the Michigan Marching Band, and its alumni, celebrated the bicentennial in grand fashion on Oct. 28. It included a new composition, Yellow and Blue Fantasy, and Victors Rhapsody, which drew on favorites such as Let’s Go Blue, Temptation, Hawaiian War Chant and Varsity.


A projection mapping show of 3-D imagery and animation, HAILstorm! enveloped the façade of the Rackham Building and marked the bicentennial finale with a barrage of light and sound on Oct. 27.

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