By Martha B.

The Michigan Union on University of Michigan’s Campus was built 100 years ago and has been a center of campus life. Last month, it reopened after having been fully renovated, taking care to preserve the essence of this historic building.

Sixty years ago this week, a young Indian national arduously traveled by plane from New Delhi to Karachi to Amsterdam to Milwaukee to Detroit airport in order to start his engineering studies at the University of Michigan. The van he took from the Willow Run airport dropped him at the Michigan Union. He remembers coming out into the bitter cold, in front of the Union, with no plans about where he would reside, and saying victoriously (perhaps out loud, perhaps only within his own head) “Despite all odds, I am here!”

Five years later, also on a cold January Day, now a graduate engineer he traveled back to Ann Arbor from a New Year celebration with friends in New York. Unbeknownst to him, there was another passenger on the same plane traveling home from Christmas celebrations with her family. They did not see each other in flight, but managed to wind up on the same limo taking them to Ann Arbor. Although they did not notice each other in the limo, when they arrived at the Michigan Union, the young lady heard a voice asking her if he could help her with her suitcases.  He looked cute, so she eagerly agreed. He asked for her name and, as things turned out, he has been helping her with her suitcases ever since!

As you might expect, this is my husband and my love story and we have been living it for the last 55 years! It is a true “Michigan union” of two individuals who came from very different cultures and united here in Ann Arbor.

And, if you haven’t yet seen the renovation of the Michigan Union it is worth a visit—even if you are not looking to fall in love!