Martha Cook Building

A Word from the Board of Governors

By the Martha Cook Board of Governors

The Martha Cook Community is alive and well! We have just completed the first year of our collaborative agreement with University of Michigan Student Life. For all of us, this has been a year of transition, a year with some ups and downs, but also one of inclusion and getting to know one another. It has been a year in which the Governors have reflected on the past, but focused on the future and our intent to preserve the history and culture of our college home.

Board of Governors

Friendship Celebrated at 2017 Spring Tea

By Melissa Gessner BA ’90, MA ’92; Liz Johnson BA ’68, MA ’72; and Anna Richert, BMus ’83, MMus’84, Spring Tea Co-Chairs

Sunshine filled the Martha Cook Building and gardens for the annual MCAA Spring Tea on April 8th. This year’s theme, “The Spirit of Friendship” was brought to life with an attendance of over 100 guests and residents, all of whom enjoyed tea, refreshments and each other’s company.

MCB Participates in U-M’s Bicentennial

The Martha Cook Building has enthusiastically participated in two of the events of the University's year-long bicentennial observance. Additional events are sure to follow as the year progresses.

Museum on Main Street Exhibit

The Journey in a Day: 200 Years of Student Life at the University of Michigan

When:  April 2, 2017 - October 22, 2017  (Click here to see entire schedule)

Where:  The Museum on Main Street, 500 N. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104

U-M students have teamed up to create this sweeping exhibition, surveying two hundred years of daily rituals, social life, challenges, victories, and the roles U-M students have played in historical events. Visitors are invited to witness two hundred years of world and regional history, reflected in the lives of U-M students.

Journey in a Day logo

The Friendship Circle

By Marion Law, Director of Student Engagement and Alumnae Relations

International Tea 2017 was held in March and it drew hundreds of enthusiastic visitors to our home. Guests were welcomed and offered a rich experience in a campus community that often is mistakenly seen as a dark secret with accompanying myths. The reality is an architecturally beautiful building which we sometimes show off to visiting friends as our "stately home" and a community that projects warm friendliness.

Marion and Dave Law

House Board President’s Report

Hello all!  Turnover Sunday has come and gone, and we have a new House Board at Martha Cook. This year, we have made some changes to House Board. 

Jennifer Jasperse photo

Featured Cookie: Susan Gray Nordlinger

By Nancy Weiswasser Hirsch BA ’68

Susan Gray Nordlinger, Architecture & Design ’58, has walked a road of many colors throughout her lifetime. She has been an aspiring young musician, a teacher, editor, proud mother and family caregiver. But most exceptionally, Susan is an award-winning artist of vibrantly colored paintings.

Susan Gray Nordlinger

Work of MCB Alumna Featured in UMMA Exhibit

The University of Michigan Museum of Art is featuring the photography of MCB alumna Ernestine Winston Ruben BSDES ’53 from March 11 – August 20, 2017. The exhibition is titled Ernestine Ruben at Willow Run: Mobilizing Memory. The exhibit presents images of the Willow Run industrial complex in Washtenaw County, buildings designed by her grandfather, architect Albert Kahn, to manufacture airplanes in World War II.

Our Venus at 100

By Kathy Graneggen Moberg BA ‘79

The statue of Venus knows no age, no nationality and no locality. I thought it was cosmopolitan, belonging to all ages, all nations and localities. Venus, you know, according to the Greeks, was born of the foam of the wave, and hence was a child of nature. Her statue a finished product of nature, touched by the hand of man, is, like the hills, al-ways new, however old. You would not dare to say that she is not as young now as she was in the days of Troy. You dare not.”

Venus photo

A Bit of History: House Rules in U-M’s Centennial Era

By Catherine Walsh Davis BA’70, MM’76

In 1917, U-M celebrated its centennial, but the residence hall movement was in its nascence, with only Martha Cook, Helen Newberry, a few sororities, and League Houses (approved boarding houses) available to women. University-wide rules for women’s housing were still being developed, but those that existed were stringent by today’s standards and were meant to protect the reputations of the campus women.

Photo from 1917 MCB Annual

MCAA President’s Report

By Patricia Joan (P.J.) Petitpren BA ’88

The MCAA Board Members worked hard this winter term to provide the traditions that Martha Cook residents have come to know. In February, Board Member Liz Johnson attended the Turnover Dinner (where current House Board hands over to the newly elected House Board the responsibilities of their positions) and presented more than a dozen gifts to outgoing House Board and resident staff.

Patricia Joan (P.J.) Petitpren BA ’88

JOIN the MCAA Board

We are looking for 4-5 more board members to join us for the 2017-18 academic year to keep up with the traditions and events/projects we like to host in 2017-18. Please contact PJ Petitpren, President at (248)722-7520 or if you’d like to join the board or contribute ideas. Currently, we meet on the second Sunday of the month at the Martha Cook Building at 1:00 pm for approximately 90 minutes.

Martha Cook Alumnae Association Voluntary Dues

All MCB alumnae become members of the MCAA upon graduation. Voluntary dues in any amount are appreciated and support the Outstanding Resident Award, MCAA operating expenses, etc. They are not tax deductible. Please make checks payable to the Martha Cook Alumnae Association and mail to:

Mary Hoadley, MCAA Treasurer
7255 Merrybrook Drive
West Bloomfield, MI 48322

Stay Connected on CookieNet

Lynn Zwinck B Mus ’06

The MCAA is on CookieNet with 446 members! Residents and alumnae are encouraged to join this Facebook group. Network, meet, learn, support, and share. As a bonus, members receive advance notice of MCAA events. To join, email your name and graduation year to me at

photo CookieNet

Kudos to House Board

The 2016-17 Martha Cook House Board, under the leadership of President Jennifer Barker, were the recipients of the Council of the Year Award from U-M’s Resident Hall Association (RHA). The honor was announced at RHA’s annual banquet on April 10.

Council of the Year Award

3 secret ingredients, 2 best friends, 1 winning dish

Two Martha Cook residents, Melanie Boskovich ’17 and Ankitha Taranath ’17competed in University of Michigan’s Iron Chef Competition held by the Residence Hall Association. The cooking duo finished first place among twelve talented competitors. They were given three secret ingredients following a Michigan theme: Michigan Cherries, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, and Michigan Pasties.

Ankitha and Melanie show off their winning creation.

Greetings from Student Life

By Dr. E. Royster Harper, Vice President for Student Life

I am always moved by the truly exceptional support that Martha Cook alumnae show for your campus home. And while there are many things that make this community special, I know every visitor is struck by the beautiful heritage of the building itself. In a university with so many fine examples of architecture, the Martha Cook Building stands out as a true gem. On behalf of the university, we thank the Board of Governors for its part in helping preserve this iconic home.

Dr. E. Royster Harper, Vice President for Student Life