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March 1965 at WMU



March 1965 at WMU


In March 1965, the Western Herald reported on Dr. Willis F. Dunbar publishing a book on Michigan history, the Mid-American swimming championships, and a theatre production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore.”

Here a few highlights from the March, 1965 issues of the Western Herald. 

“Dr. Willis F. Dunbar, head of the history department here, is the author of a newly-published book entitled, “Michigan, A History of the Wolverine State.”

“The 800 page volume, according to Dr. Dunbar, is designed primarily for students of Michigan history and for adult readers. It covers the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries in the state’s history, with, as the author states, “the primary purpose of providing readers information and understanding that will help them contribute more effectively to Michigan’s future.”

“Michigan” gives careful attention to such subjects as the growth of cities, the transformation of rural life, the development of schools and churches, and the state’s contribution to outstanding artists and writers."

Meanwhile, a MAC Swim Championship was held at WMU, in which WMU faced some tough competition.

“Western will be gunning for their third straight crown but the competition facing them is awesome.” Wrote the Western Herald.

“A pure and simple favorite in this spectacular meet would be impossible to pick, there is just too much good talent scheduled to swim. If one team has to be labeled as a favorite, it is the Broncos, mainly because of their showing in the MAC Relays which they won last December.”

“The other top contenders are Ohio and Miami and along with Western they add up to three real evenly matched squads. Ohio was the favorite to take the MAC Relays and were more than a little surprised when the Broncos took it. The Bobcats then came back to break Western’s 25 meet winning streak.”

Seating was limited, and the event was expected to draw a large crowd. “It was rumored in the athletic office that if certain details could be worked out that it might be possible to put this event on TV and show it on a closed circuit in one of the auditoriums of Sangren Hall. However, as of late nothing has been said and so it would be handy to bring your shoe horns to that you might fit it in somehow.”

If that wasn’t enough entertainment for students, University Theatre held their production of the comedic operetta “H.M.S. Pinafore,” detailed in “Curtain Goes Up at 8 P.M. This Evening On Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta ‘Pinafore’”

“Gilbert and Sullivan’s first great operetta, H.M.S. Pinafore, will open for five performances at the WMU theatre tonight at 8 p.m.”

“Production of the Gilbert and Sullivan favorite, which first opened in London in May, 1878 for a run of 700 performances, begins tonight and will run through Saturday. It is under the joint sponsorship of the speech and music departments of WMU.”

“And so goes the H.M.S. Pinafore as the complicated mix-up which is happily and satirically resolved in the delightful wit and song of Gilbert and Sullivan.”


The WMU Zhang Legacy Collections Center is home to the Archives and Regional History Collections, which includes resources, such as the archives of the Western Herald. To learn more, click here.

Photos: On the left is a photo of the "HMS Pinafore" production from the Western Herald; in the center is a photo of Dr. Dunbar from the 1965 Brown & Gold Yearbook, and on the right is a photo of the MAC swim meet from the 1965 Brown & Gold Yearbook.


Posted by Samantha Macy