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Rackham Auditorium

Rackham Auditorium has been the site of many major occasions in the advancement of knowledge, with numerous notable lectures, academic symposia, and scholarly papers presented in the sixty plus years since its opening. In addition, it is the favorite venue in the area for intimate musical performances, particularly chamber music, small ensembles, and world music.

Horace H. Rackham was a Detroit lawyer who believed strongly in the importance of the study of human history and human thought. When he died in 1933, his will awarded the University of Michigan the funds not only to build the Horace H. Rackham Graduate School, which houses Rackham Auditorium, but also to establish a $4 million endowment to further the development of graduate studies. Even more remarkable than the magnanimous size of the gift is the fact that neither Horace nor his wife Mary ever attended the University of Michigan.

Designed in the classical renaissance style by architect William Kapp of the Detroit firm of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, the Rackham Building is considered to be one of the historically significant buildings on campus. The building also contains splendid conference rooms and a 240-seat amphitheatre. The interior of Rackham Auditorium is plush, with beautifully upholstered seating and a gold-leafed ceiling.

Rackham Auditoirum interior

© Photos by David Smith Photography and Paul P. Jaronski (UM Photo Services).

Rackham building exteriorphoto of Rackham Auditoirum

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower