Victors Valiant

Behind the scenes

Learn more about the amazing people and places that capture the true spirit of Victors Valiant at Michigan.

  • For more than a century, faculty and students of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning have sought to improve the human condition through thoughtful design and planning for the built environment. A contemporary focus on sustainability and social justice is core to the college’s modern-day mission. Alumni include Raoul Wallenberg, one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century; renowned Indian architect Charles Correa; James van Sweden, whose firm has been credited with creating a New World Landscape; and Marshall E. Purnell, current president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

    Taubman College Liberty Annex

  • "Music is a way to bring beauty into the world — and our world really needs that," says cellist Caitlin Eger, pictured here in the School of Natural Resources’ Flume Room. The site is home to 150 miniature Huron Rivers or "flumes." Researchers study the flumes to understand  how environmental changes affect freshwater habitats like rivers and streams. "You can make music anywhere," says Caitlin. She recently earned her master of music degree in cello performance and now performs with the Lakeside Symphony Orchestra in Lakeside, Ohio. She also plays in Ann Arbor with the Giocoso Quartet, and with the band at New Life Church. "Music crosses so many barriers," she says, "and Michigan offers so many opportunities."

    Bringing Beauty Into the World: Caitlin Eger

  • UMMA is one of the finest and most accessible university art museums in the country. Designed as a "town square" for the 21st century, UMMA exemplifies Michigan’s goal to place arts at the center of public life. Dramatic galleries highlight pieces drawn from the museum’s collections of more than 18,000 artworks (representing over 150 years of collecting at the University).  A new media gallery, opened in 2011, showcases the  captivating work being created through video, film, and digital technologies. Set in the very heart of the Michigan campus, UMMA offers visitors a rich and multifaceted experience, whether one is seeking a place for quiet contemplation or a lively debate about the meaning of art.

    University of Michigan Museum of Art

  • This earth sculpture on Michigan’s North Campus is described as "pure poetry" by creator Maya Lin. The waves cover 90 feet square of space and represent a naturally occurring pattern that reveals the connectedness of art to landscape—or in this case, landscape as art. Lin is best known as the artist who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, AL. The Wave Field is "a very gentle space that exists on a very human scale," she says. "It is a sanctuary, yet it’s playful, and with the changing shadows of the sun, it is completely transformed throughout the day." The Association FXB commissioned the work in memory of 1982 aerospace engineering graduate Francois-Xavier Bagnoud. It was a gift to U-M from his mother, Countess Albina du Boisrouvray.

    Pure Poetry: The Wave Field

  • Professor Gil Seinfeld teaches and writes in the areas of federal courts and jurisdiction. Prior to joining the Law School faculty, he focused on appellate litigation at the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr. He has also served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prof. Seinfeld holds an AB in government from Harvard College and earned his JD, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he was managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. In 2006, he was the recipient of the Law School’s L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in Teaching.

    Gil Seinfeld

  • When her family immigrated to the U.S. from Sudan, Fatimah experienced firsthand the gut-wrenching disparities between first- and third-world countries. Access to clean drinking water, electricity, and healthcare in her home village remains tenuous, even today. "My big dream goal — my dream job — is to be director of the World Health Organization," she says. Once she completes her degree in global health, Fatimah plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health, followed by medical school. For now, she volunteers with a nonprofit in Detroit, which inspired yet another goal: to create a food bank serving low-income families in Dearborn, Mich. "I want to start with that, and one day implement the same model in Sudan." Fatimah is pictured in the Medical School’s Biomedical Science Research Building.

    Providing Better Health: Fatimah Farooq

  • As any student-athlete at Michigan will tell you, it’s about "the team, the team, the team." For gymnast Stacey Ervin that means "doing everything to the best of your abilities." It’s a credo that transcends athletics at U-M. "Representing the Block M means being a respectful person, a good person, and doing everything you can to better yourself and those around you. I think if you have the opportunity to help someone, you might as well do it." Stacey is a member of the U-M gymnastics team, which captured its fifth NCAA title in April 2013. He attributes the team’s success to the positive synergy between U-M faculty, staff, and students. "The University gives you all the resources you need to accomplish your goals, to really succeed and prosper," he says. Stacey is pictured in the Legal Research Building’s iconic Reading Room.

    Representing Michigan: Stacey Ervin

  • Action-based learning in the Medical School’s Clinical Simulation Center is a critical component for every Michigan medical student. Doctors-in-training experience incredibly realistic scenarios as they test their skill on  anatomically correct mannequins (pediatric and adult) with fully programmable physiological functionality. The human patient simulators incorporate palpable pulses, breathing, heart sounds, breath sounds, bowel sounds, responsive pupils, and more. All physiological outputs are detectable on a patient monitor.

    Realistic Training: Clinical Simulation Center

  • The Michigan Solar Car team is one of the most popular and challenging student organizations on campus, as team members design, build, and race solar electric vehicles that push the extremes of modern technology. The team»s 12th model, Generation, is expected to reach 105 mph on the same amount of energy it takes to power a hair dryer. Since its inception in 1990, the team has won the American Solar Challenge seven times and placed third in the World Solar Challenge five times. Racing successfully goes beyond building the best car, though. Students develop expertise in engineering, business, strategy, and operations. There’s even a team meteorologist to interpret weather data. Past vehicles are on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

    America’s #1 Solar Car Team

  • Run by the Astronomy Department, the Angell Hall Observatory is one of three local U-M observatories. Here, astronomy undergraduates often get their first exposure to a professional telescope. When they’re not in class, the Student Astronomical Society hosts public open houses to share their expertise with the community. But U-M astronomy doesn’t limit itself to Ann Arbor skies. Partner observatories around the globe offer graduate students privileged access to world-class telescopes, like the 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes in Chile and 2.4-and 1.3-meter MDM telescopes in Arizona.

    Angell Hall Observatory

  • Could the ancient art of origami bring nanotechnology into the third dimension? Engineers and artists at U-M are collaborating to find out. Matt Shlian, a lecturer in the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, is playing an integral role in helping the research team tap into the intricate art of folding paper into complex shapes. One of the researchers’ goals? To determine whether lasers can reproduce the paper-scoring technique on scales a thousand times smaller than the thickness of a strand of hair. The four-year research campaign is funded with $2 million from the National Science Foundation.

    Engineering + Art: Nano Origami

  • Most of us don’t think twice about turning on a faucet and seeing clean water pour out. But for an estimated one billion people around the world, the reality is very different. In many regions, lack of access to safe water requires daily treks of several  miles — a task that often falls to women and young girls. The problem hit home for Cynthia Koenig during a William Davidson Institute fellowship in South Africa. Today Cynthia helms Wello, a social venture that manufactures and distributes the WaterWheel. This 20-gallon drum moves four to five times the amount of water possible using traditional methods. "It’s simple, and that’s the beauty of it," she says. Cynthia graduated in 2011 with an MBA/MS degree.

    Moving Water, Helping Women: Cynthia Koenig

  • Step into the basement of the Dana Building and enter the world of "environmental triage." There, some 3,000 gallons of Huron River water are divided into 150 mini-Hurons, or "flumes," complete with rocks,  bacteria, algae, insects, and other small invertebrates. The artificial streams are used to study how different environmental stresses—pollution, species invasions and extinctions, climate change, and erosion—affect freshwater habitats. The U-M Flume Room is the largest facility of its kind in North America, and possibly the world. "The planet’s rivers and streams are being exposed to all sorts of human-induced stresses,’ says Bradley J. Cardinale, an assistant professor at the School of Natural Resources and Environment. "This project is going to tell us the top stressors we should be focusing on."

    Rivers of Hope: The Flume Room

  • The Block M at the heart of the Diag was a gift from the Class of 1953 to U-M President Harlan Hatcher (1951-67). The marker, cast in bronze and set in granite, sits at the place where the two diagonal walks cross in front of the graduate library (now named for President Hatcher). University mason Perry Kimbel first introduced the noted campus landmark in 1922 when he set a block U-M within a circular pattern near the library entrance. After much wear, it was determined a new walkway was needed. Enter the Class of 1953, which donated a new Block M that retained the traditions of the original seal. Campus legend has it that if you step on the M you will fail your first blue-book exam.

    Don’t Tread on Me: The Block M on the Diag

  • Meet MABEL, one of the fastest two-legged robots with knees. It can walk, run, walk backwards, step up and down, and even recover from obstacles in its path. All of these advances could one day lead to powered prosthetic limbs and exoskeletons that would help wheelchair users walk again. In the future, bipedal robots may be enlisted to undertake "super-human" missions in burning buildings, war zones, and other treacherous locations. Jessy Grizzle, the Jerry W. and Carol L. Levin Professor of Engineering, oversees the lab where MABEL evolved. The robot was retired in 2012 and has since been replaced by MARLO, whose hips move side to side and who can run at about half the speed of an Olympic sprinter.

    MABEL: The Running Robot