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The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of MichiganThe Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan

Mrs. Betty Ford mourned, celebrated

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Mrs. Betty Ford mourned, celebrated image

In July, the Ford School community lost a good friend, Mrs. Betty Ford, who passed away at the age of 93.

Tributes to the iconic former First Lady poured in from Ford School students, alumni, faculty, and staff via email and social media channels. In addition, the school created a web-based form to enable community members to offer their condolences to the Ford family.

In the days that followed Mrs. Ford's death, the Ford School prepared a tribute to her outside of the Betty Ford Classroom in Weill Hall, including a portrait and an arrangement of her favorite flowers, peach-colored roses. The Ann Arbor community was invited to visit and sign a guest book for the Ford family.

Mrs. Ford's life was marked by an unwavering commitment to her family and to a number of political and cultural issues, including addiction treatment, breast cancer awareness, feminism, and more.

Mrs. Ford visited her husband's namesake school a number of times over the years, and each visit left a deep impression on the students, faculty, and staff with whom she met.

"It was an honor and a pleasure to meet someone whose strength and grace have been such a positive role-model, especially for women in this country and around the world," said Dean Susan M. Collins. "She made important contributions in her own right and her work will have a lasting positive impact."

The Ford School and the University of Michigan are making plans for an all-campus event to celebrate Mrs. Ford's legacy and her decades-long ties to the university. The event will be held in the spring—more details to come.

Read more and view a slideshow of photos from Mrs. Ford's life.