A handshake and thank you from President Gerald Ford

Darlene Breitner headshot

Darlene Breitner

Darlene Breitner, a U-M staff member from 1964-2012, remembers a presidential visit from Gerald Ford.

"My most memorable moment in my 48 years of service was in 1977 when former President Gerald R. Ford taught a Political Science course in Lane Hall which housed the Center for Russian and East European Studies.

Our offices were in the front of the building on the second floor next to the lecture hall where President Ford was to lecture the class. Office staff were instructed by the secret service to close our window blinds and not open them (or peek through them) for the duration of the lecture.

After the lecture President Ford visited our offices and shook our hands very graciously and expressed his appreciation for our 'inconvenience.' This was a thrilling experience for all the office staff.

"An important contribution"

When I think back on my many years at the University, mostly in the Center for Russian and East European Studies, there have been several famous people who crossed my path and it wasn't until I retired from the university in 2012 that I realized that working for the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the university was a very interesting and important contribution to my life and family.

I enjoyed working at the university and have two daughters who also work there. Shana (shown to Darlene's left in the photo above) is a financial specialist associate at the International Institute, LSA. Lisa is a student services assistant in the Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning.

I hope they will enjoy their careers as much as I did."