University of Michigan Alumni Association

University of Michigan Club of Greater Phoenix History

On July 3, 1908, four years prior to Arizona’s statehood, fourteen graduates and former students of the University of Michigan gathered together for an informal dinner at the “Den” in Phoenix to form the University of Michigan Alumni Association of Arizona. Louis C. Hill (1886, Engineering) agreed to serve as the club’s first President and William C. Hornberger (1901), Superintendent of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, agreed to act as Treasurer. Mr. Hornberger would later serve as club President (1927-1928 and 1935-1936). At the time of the club’s inception, it was estimated that approximately 100 UM alumni resided throughout the Arizona territory.  The pioneers of this new UM club planned a grand banquet for the Autumn of 1908, to honor all area alumni.  In 1925, the club was officially granted its charter, #79. 

The club remained vibrant and active until the period 1929 – 1934 when it became inactive due to the Great Depression and pending overseas conflicts.  The post war period gave way to tremendous growth in the Valley and the UM club followed right along.  Many distinguished and prosperous UM alums served as President during these growth times, including, Bruce J. Miles (1947-1948), former Managing Director of General Motors of China and Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Ralph Barry (1952 - 1953).  It is interesting to note that our current UM Board member, Dick Allen, served as club President during these times, as well (1958).  A variety of prestigious professions have been represented over the years in the presidency, including, dentistry (Dr. Ian Lamont (1967)); medicine (Dr. John A. Lentz (1925)); banking (Dean Rennell, 1984-1985); law (William H. Messinger (1949)), (Ralph Barry (1952 – 1953)), Ron Carmichael (1973 – 1974), David Beauchamp (1993-1994), Tom McDonald (1999-2000) and Ann-Marie Anderson (2011-2013)); government (Ann-Marie Anderson, Assistant Attorney General, 2011-2013)) and many others.

The club anointed its first woman president in 1966 with the election of Joan Frazer and subsequently elected three more women presidents (Marlene Buffa, 2001 – 2002; 2006 – 2010; Barbara Friend, 2003 – 2006; and Ann-Marie Anderson, 2011-2013). We are fortunate to have also had a husband-wife duo each serve as Club President (Lee Friend, 1997-1998 and Barbara Friend, 2003-2006, 2010).  Our local club has also served as a springboard to national leadership positions, as former UM Club President Dean Rennell (1984-1985) and current President Ann-Marie Anderson were previously elected to the AAUM National Board of Directors and its Executive Committee (1997-2003).  Today, the club continues to serve the diverse needs of approximately 3,000 metropolitan area alumni and the tradition of funding scholarships for scores of deserving Phoenix-area UM students.