Finding Home, Again
Caren Deming (AB '65, TeachCert '65, AM '70, PhD '75) spent a significant amount of time in Rackham when she was a student and finds that 40 years later she's still there often, albeit with much less writing to do. Most recently, she has been frequenting the building as a member of the Rackham Dean's Campaign Advisors. "It was an honor to be able to serve Rackham in this capacity," she says.
Caren came to U-M as an undergraduate English student. "I was always going off into corners on campus," she remembe rs. "I spent much of my time between classes in Rackham study rooms. I was one of those people who really loved the building. It was a calming space, a quiet space, and those were at a premium."
After finishing her undergraduate degree, Caren started taking graduate courses to get certified to teach, but fell in love with her courses and ended up staying at U-M through her Ph.D. She said, "I felt as though the university had so much more to offer me and I just didn't want to leave."
The New Rackham
As with most students, graduate studies had their challenges for Caren. "I had lots of support from Rackham," she said, "and I'm eternally grateful. At the same time, if the 'new Rackham' had been in place, I might have found the resources to negotiate all of that more efficiently."
Dedicated to Teaching
After she left Ann Arbor in 1975 with her doctorate in hand, Caren spent a few years as an assistant professor at San Francisco State University before finding her academic home at the University of Arizona, where she taught for 23 years. She had her work cut out for her there, but the transitional nature of her graduate years at U-M prepared her well.
Thinking of the Future
To Caren, the importance of giving back now and in the future is critical. Caren supports Rackham every year, but has made a lasting contribution through her planned gift, a sizeable distribution from her estate. She explains, "Graduate students are the hope of the world. That's how I feel... especially about Rackham students. They are the future. What they do is incredibly important, and supporting them is one of the most important things we can do. If we have money to contribute, that's the place to do it. Where better to invest in the future than with the best graduate students? I can't think of one. That's why I volunteer and that's why I give."
Caren moved back to Michigan after retiring a few years ago. Making that decision was an epiphany for her: "I was in town for a visit and was walking on the Diag, and I realized that this is where I'm the happiest. I feel the best when I'm in Ann Arbor. This has always been my home."