Ford School celebrates 13th annual Spirit Day, in pictures

July 19, 2023

Each July, hundreds of Ford School friends gather as a community to celebrate Spirit Day, honoring President Ford’s birthday (July 14), and to support our dedication to the public good. This year, events in Ann Arbor, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Petoskey, Toronto, and Washington DC included President Ford trivia, food (of course!), ping pong, and policy discussions.

See below for a few highlights or view the photo album.

Ford School Dean Celeste Watkins-Hayes attended the event in DC at Audi Field, meeting with Fordies and their families. Before the reception, some 50 people gathered for a panel discussion on “Policy Perspectives - Partnerships for Impact.” The  panelists were Jason Levien (MPP/JD '97), CEO & Co-Chairman of DC United (which plays at Audi Field), and Jordan Matsudaira (PhD '05), Chief Economist & Deputy Under Secretary, at the US Department of Education.  

All attendees of 2023 Spirit Day in DC photographed as a group on Audi Field

In Ann Arbor, some 120 students, alumni, faculty, and staff played yard games and enjoyed Kona snow-cones at Weill Hall. 

Smiling, PPIA fellows gather around a table while playing Jenga
A smiling, PPIA fellow wearing a grey Ford School t-shirt reaches out to receive a cup of Kona Ice

A fun group gathered in LA and enjoyed an Ethiopian feast (looks delicious!).

Attendees of 2023 Spirit Day in LA smiling and enjoying a meal
Attendees of 2023 Spirit Day in Chicago gathered outside, smiling and holding maize signs that read #FORDSPIRIT

For the first time, Spirit Day events took place in Toronto and Petoskey. (We wonder if Zuzana Wiseley found a Petoskey stone.)

Zuzana Wiseley smiling, holding a maize sign that reads #FORDSPIRIT in Petoskey

In Toronto, the gathering inspired those in attendance to build the community of Fordies in the city, tapping into the breadth of policy experience and the astute, professional and unbiased assessment of the trends in the public sphere. 

Two smiling attendees of Spirit Day 2023 in Toronto

For those unable to attend in person, a virtual celebration brought Fordies together from all over the world (including Vietnam!). Even online, the wearing of Maize and Blue was encouraged, and they were able to test their President Ford knowledge with online trivia. 

Screenshot of smiling attendees of Spirit Day 2023 on Zoom

Here’s to President Ford on his 110th birthday!

A special thank you to all spirit day hosts!

Ann Arbor - Naomi Goldberg (MPP ‘08), Karena Holmstrom (BA ‘23), and Ivy Tran (MPP/MA ‘18)

Chicago - Kevin Finnegan (MPP/MBA ‘21), Kendall Hecker (BA ‘20), and Gerson Ramirez (MPP ‘20)

Detroit -Zeinab Alhashemi (BA '24), Sam Geller (MPP ‘17), Clare Knutson (MPP '22), and Janani Ramachandran Yates (MPP ‘13) 

Los Angeles - Menna Demessie (PhD '10)

Petoskey - Zuzana Wiseley

Toronto - Morteza Nazari (MPP ‘15)

Washington, DC - Jason Levien (MPP/JD ‘99), Alli Berry (BA ‘19), John Guerriero (MPP ‘17), Rohan Dharan (BA '13), and Cortney Sanders (MPP ‘17)