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Funny... I don't feel dead! If you've forgotten JMC - You weren't there!

An academy for wandering minstrels
Equipping lifelong learners to pursue personal and professional interests in art, activism, law, education, business, medicine, international affairs, social services, science, management, media, and more.
* Michigan State University's first, most experimental, and most innovative residential college *

Justin Morrill College generated a lot of novel nomenclature for elements of its vision, its environs, its participants, etc.

This Webpage offers a listing of some terminology peculiar to JMC itself or in common usage in or around JMC during the period 1965 - 1979.

If you can come up with any other JMC-specific terminology, please Contact the Editor.

412 1/2 South Holmes

  An address for a group residence occupied by JMC people in 1968.

"...[T]here were numerous "houses" worthy of mention whose only names were simply their addresses. Summer of '68 saw 412 and 1/2 South Holmes just south of the main drag in Lansing not far from the capitol. The likes of Bill Faunce, Denny McGuire, Tom-Tom, Sue Juni, Rebecca Morris and numerous others came and went. It was a 4-plex that we eventually took over in its entirety. ..."

- Leonard Kaufmann, March 2004

435 MAC

  An address for a group residence occupied by JMC people in the late 1960's (?).

"...435 MAC was the place to be. I truly regret that there is no evidence of Richard Levis' amazing day-glo Chinese dragons. Richard's room was long with straight vertical walls that then sloped to a flat ceiling. Levis painted several dragons which were 4 or 5 feet high very intricately and detailed with day-glo colors. He then painted the space between the dragons in black. When he turned his black light on at night, the dragons came alive. I remember one night..., we realized that Richard's dragons had attracted a crowd of about 20 people down on the street who could see the dragons through the window. They were most appreciative. I remember sitting and talking in the kitchen at 435 MAC with Keith Fleeman and John Yost while Bob Lustig took a shower in the bathroom next to the kitchen which had a tendency to periodically and suddenly lose all hot water. Our conversation was punctuated several times when the hot water ran out and Bob would scream "Goddamn reality". Someone told me that 435 MAC had burned down. Those houses were a lot of fun. Hope everyone else had just as good a time. "

- Leonard Kaufmann, March 2004

500 Charles Street

  An address for a group residence occupied by JMC people in 1969.

"In the summer of '69, 500 Charles St started with Bill Ivey, Richard Resco, Ted Strunk and myself and ... it was a lot of fun..."

- Leonard Kaufmann, March 2004


  JMC-era nickname for David Brigode (1969 - 1973), derived from the popular band leader of the 1920's / 1930's (Ace Brigode).
Anaesthesia Think Tank

INHABITANTS ('72 Onward):
  • Robert Walter, now a lawyer in Detroit.
  • Paul Buehrle, a geologist in Dallas, married to Suzette DeGrandchamp, also a JMC alum.
  • Ken Wilson, Director of Student Services at U. of Colorado.
  • Phil Mirowski, professor of economics at Notre Dame.
  • Bryan O'Neill, missing in action.
  • Rick Smith, died of cancer last year and sadly missed.
  • Mike Taunt, missing in action.
  • Donna Kreuze, a social worker in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Dirk Horton, Donna's ex-husband, missing in action.
  • Kathleen Densmore, professor of education at San Jose State.
  • John McCarthy, crashed there for a month or two, missing in action, last known address was in Brazil.
  • Jim Teunas, missing in action, rumored to be in Milwaukee or Florida.
  • Jay Moore, teaches history at U. of Vermont, proprietor of Jay's Directory of Leftist Links on the Internet, a portal for all kinds of left wing websites.

Anesthesia Think Tank-135 Cedar St., one block east of Bogue St., third house south of Grand River.

Established in the fall of 1972... The Think Tank was a house full of JMC people just east of the campus. The membership varied, but at various times included [...the people listed to the left...]

The house is still standing, but now it's painted white instead of light green. I drive past it when I visit East Lansing and remember the good old days. We used to sit on the front porch and discuss cosmic truths. Here are a few memories.

Food, an important part of student life. We tried to have dinner together every day and got adventurous in our cooking. Cooking duty rotated daily. For a while we had a rule that no cook could make the same meal twice. Things really got interesting when Jay bought some squid and found a Vietnamese cookbook in the MSU Library. The communal meals really gave the place a family atmosphere. We used to make a weekly trip to the Farmers Market in downtown Lansing for fruit and vegetables. I still think of the occupants as my brothers and sisters.

We did not have a television. For some weird reason, the sound of the local CBS TV station could be picked up at the far end of the FM radio dial. During dinner we would listen to Walter Cronkite, without the visuals. At the end of the broadcast, he would close by saying "and that's the way it is.'' In unison, we would all respond "no it's not."

Housekeeping and cleaning was done on Sunday morning, because everyone was there and able to pitch in. The Allman Brothers were the housework music.


Anthony Hall

A large office and classroom building on the south side of MSU's central campus.

The building in whose auditorium JMC's I & E movies were presented each week.

...and (during the period of JMC's existence) the home of the world's largest bovine hairball.

Baker Hall

  An office / classroom building located directly south of Snyder Hall.

During JMC's lifespan, the basement level of Baker Hall was used for JMC office and instructional space.

Beaumont Phallus

  From a satiric rendering of the after-hours voice message one heard if one called 353(?)-1855, the main number of MSU during the Seventies.

"Bing, bong, bing, bong......These are the balls of Beaumont Phallus, on the parklike campus of Michigan State University....."

(Fred Little, October 2002)

Bonzo Flatt

  Local band in the mid-1970's...

"...a mutant lineal descendent of Pillowcayse and Midnight Sun that was playing on the weekends at Brown's Pizza Tavern in Laingsburg; when the snow was deep, a number of the locals drove in to the bar cross-country on their snowmobiles..."

"Bonzo Flatt's line-up was familiar players on unfamiliar instruments - - the electric piano player was a Laingsburg local who had gotten the gig at Brown's, John Sase had moved from bass to the Gibson SG and was writing a rock operetta featuring classics such as the unforgettable "Burgers of Love" and a Mott the Hoople-ish collaboration titled "Watch Out Buddy" which made it into the set list as well as another more precious concept piece organized around a song titled "Shattered Glass" which didn't, Mike Eddy had moved from keyboards to bass and was working a John Entwhistle/Paul McCartney stylistic groove, Brad Laing had set down his guitar and moved to drums, and I had been promoted from Midnight Sun's roadie to vocals and second guitar parts on Mike's clavinet in Bonzo Flatt, as well as some dubious between-set covers of Tom Waits and Randy Newman songs performed under the name Fred Bubba Freejohn Sinclair on the electric piano..."

"The standard set list for Bonzo Flatt included the aforementioned originals, some I've forgotten and of course.....Wipe Out, Smoke on the Water, All Right Now, Brown Sugar, the obligatory Mitch Ryder medley, assorted Chuck Berry, some Hank Williams, a bunch of Velvet Underground and New York Dolls tunes.....and Proud Mary. The patrons at Brown's insisted on hearing Proud Mary and Wipe Out during every set... The mix of classic covers, proto-punk, and Dolls-style glam was not exactly what many of the bar's patrons, mostly farmers who came primarily for cold beer and hot euchre tournaments, had come to expect on the weekend."

(Fred Little, March 2004)

Bridge Players

Also: 'Bridge Bunch'; 'Floating Bridge Game'; 'Grill Rats'
One of a multitude of phrases used to refer to a group of people who seemed always present at a table in the Snyder Phillips Grill (day in / day out, at all hours) playing bridge.

See 'Grill Rats'

Capstone Seminar

  Also: 'Senior Seminar'

Originally a course intended for summation of the JMC experience; a required class / workshop / seminar for all JMC seniors. It ceased to be a requirement by circa 1970 or 1971.

Cellar Dwellers

  Precinct name or attribution for a residential precinct in Snyder Hall's basement (south side).

"One name that hardly anyone will remember except for those from the first year or two was "Cellar Dwellers". It used to be where the offices in the basement of Snyder were located. It was the only one that didn't start with "S". This precinct was in use for only the first and maybe second year of JMC until they switched it over for offices. I remember it was a sad day for all of us that lived there when we found there would be no more Cellar Dwellers."

- Larry Wickett, December 2002

Chateau Clarizio

  "... a rental house owned by MSU Prof. Harvey Clarizio on River Street", occupied in the mid-1970's by Fred Little, Tim Crane, and other JMC and JMC-related folks.

"Gary Cohn had lived in the house earlier and was responsible for the mediterranean yellow sun color scheme of the living room, Jim Grossfeld lived in the house later after I disappeared in the middle of spring semester drowning in debt and unpaid back rent."

"It is my belief that Chateau Clarizio was the birthplace of the "End of the World Party," a phenomenon transplanted to Monterey California in 1980 under the title "End of the World Party: Apocolypse How?" and picked up by a stray partygoer who took it upstate to Chico State University, where it has become a recurring college phenomenon that has gotten national press."

- Fred Little, March 2004


  JMC-era (nick?-)name used by Chambre Beauvais

- SOURCE: Steve (Taggart) Johgart, March 2004

Chucky Garage

  JMC-era nickname for Randy Whitaker (1969 - 1973), based on the pugnacious cartoonish persona he'd adopt when wearing his WW2-era flight mechanic's coveralls. The nickname derives from a legendary shop (the Chuckey Garage) in his native east Tennessee.
Coed Living

Also: Coeducational Living, Coed Dorms, Coed Living Arrangement
One of a multitude of phrases used to refer to a dormitory organization allowing for both male and female students to occupy the same space. Such arrangements were unknown at Michigan State University until residents of Snyder Phillips pushed for alternative living arrangements starting in 1969 and culminating in a Provost Commission Report which laid out an implementation plan for coed living on an experimental basis.
(The) Crazy Armenian

  JMC-era nickname for Mark Dirisian.

  Also: 'Senior Seminar'

An adjective connoting a scope of interest spanning multiple cultures (and hence multiple nations). One of the most common descriptors for the viewpoint represented in the JMC model and the outlook expected of a JMC graduate.

Cf. International Theme


  Presumed by many to have been 'Dolly'

Donna Kreuze's JMC-era roommate in Phillips - a Dalmatian.

Deadwood Stage Company

  A guerrilla theatre troupe liable to be encountered throughout the MSU environs in the early 1970's.

  "An alternative abbreviation for the dorm more commonly known as Sny-Phi"

- SOURCE: Jack McCullough, June 2004

(The) Dwarf

  JMC-era nickname for Randy Whitaker (1969 - 1973), derived from his advocacy of the race of dwarves in Lord of the Rings as the most underrated and overlooked people of Middle Earth.

Also: D. Warf, DeWarf, Randy the Dwarf

"Ecologist of the Imagination"

  A phrase used by Dean Rohman in a freshman orientation (early Fall '69) to describe his vision of what JMC was intended to turn us into. This phrase surfaced (often in facetious usage) for the remainder of my time there.
Eleutheria House

  The name of a large and fabled communal residence in East Lansing.

"Eleutheria - now there was a house! 23 people, 2 dogs and uncounted cats.

I had the extreme pleasure of living in the ground floor bedroom, the only one with its own private bath and the only bathtub in the house - which I shared freely. The side of our house was adjacent to the back of Yat Wah restaurant on Grand River, ensuring the scent of egg rolls wafting through the house continuously.

If you wanted to know how to live on the cheap, the residents of Eleutheria could give you plenty of tips. On many a Friday or Saturday night, a small contingent (2-3) people from the house would go to the front door of the movie theater that opened onto Abbott, buy their tickets, then proceed to the back door to open it for their friends waiting there.

Magazine subscriptions - we had plenty. I remember one subscription that arrived monthly for Ronald McDonald at our house and another, a subscription for Playboy that arrived for the artfully named subscriber Mal E. Chauvino.

Other JMC people I remember living there were Wes and Ernie (last names?) and Tom Prosper was around a lot, but I'm not sure he lived there.

There was communal eating at dinner (participation optional), but I did not participate because there was way too much poached fish.

The dining room had four or so rectangular tables pushed together in the center of the room to make one huge table. House meetings would find 12-20 people around the table... Really, the only conflict I remember in the house was dishes - but it was never ultimately resolved - the double institutional sinks in the kitchen were always piled high, although Ernie washed a LOT of dishes. ...

Another good memory was that occasionally someone (anyone in a good mood) would make pancake batter and leave it on the counter along with an electric griddle so that we could make our own when we got up. The house was co-ed in every way and even bathrooms were not segregated. You could be in the shower on the second floor and have an announced person of either sex just come in to take a pee. You didn't see them, they didn't see you, so what difference did it make. I believe that is the finest place I have ever lived in my life. I had already moved out when the house burned down. A great loss to the community -- I still go visit the site from time to time when in E.L."

- Nancy Snyder, March 2004

(The) Face

  JMC-era nickname for John Sase (well-known local musician, most commonly performing as a bassist). A contraction for the full form: "John the Face Sase and his Epiphone bass".
"Far East!"

  A facetious play on the phrase "Far Out!", used as an explicative.
"Farm Lane!"

  Local exclamation used in place of 'Far Out,' as in 'Farm Lane, Man!"

Anthony Hall (former home of the world's largest hairball and the I&E film series) was on the corner of Shaw and Farm Lane.

- Fred Little, December 2002

Fast Eddie

  1. JMC-era nickname for Ed Keller (ID'd in the 'Grill Rats' photo)
  2. JMC-era nickname for Mike Rosati.

Field of Concentration

  The term for a personally-tailored 'major' created by a Justin Morrill College student in conjunction with his / her faculty advisor.

For more about the notion of a Field of Concentration, see the JMC Concept Page.

For more info on the curricular specifications for a JMC Field of Concentration, see the JMC Curriculum Page.

Field Study

  1. A project or course of study pursued by a student under the supervision of a faculty advisor and conducted at a site off-campus within the United States.
  2. One of three ways in which a JMC student could satisfy his / her requirement for an entire term dedicated to personal education / experience. (Cf. the JMC Curriculum)

Flaky Foont

  1. A popular R. Crumb cartoon character of the late 1960's / early 1970's - the existentially-challenged nebbish always bugging Mr. Natural for enlightenment.
  2. The JMC-era nickname of Chris Boughton (Baughton?).


  The title of an arts and literature anthology compiled from contributions by JMC students.

According to a Fall 1969 issue of The Sheet (Vol. 1, no. 5, page 4) such an anthology was first compiled in spring 1969, with a second one planned for winter 1970.

Food Strike / Riot (1970)

  An informal term for a Snyder Phillips residents' action in May 1970, when students piled their trays up in the center of the one open cafeteria to protest overcrowded dining facilities on weekends and food quality in general.
Foreign Study

  1. A project or course of study pursued by a student under the supervision of a faculty advisor and conducted at a site off-campus outside the United States.
  2. One of three ways in which a JMC student could satisfy his / her requirement for an entire term dedicated to personal education / experience. (Cf. the JMC Curriculum)


  JMC-era nickname for Susan Bertolino.

  The name given the 'Peoples Park' established in the quad area bordered by the International Center, Wells Hall, and the Red Cedar River during spring 1970.

See "People's Park"

Fritz the Cat

  1. A popular R. Crumb cartoon character of the late 1960's / early 1970's - a stylized tomcat with morals (or lack of same) to match.
  2. The JMC-era nickname of Chris Boughton (Baughton?).
  3. The JMC-era nickname of Paul Luezac (spelling?).


  The JMC-era nickname of Jim Keyes.
'F*ck Your Door'

  "Frank Bertolino's creative alteration of the admonition, stenciled on the inside of the dorm rooms in Snyder-Phllips, to Lock Your Door."

- SOURCE: Jack McCullough, June 2004

Grill Rats

(Click the Pic for Larger Image and More Info)

The most common label for people who lingered in the Snyder Phillips Grill day in and day out - especially the changing but persistently present cadre of card players.

"Although it may not have been limited to the bridge/poker/hearts crowd we always referred to ourselves as 'GRILL RATS'..."

"My bridge crowd were folks like Bob Bao, Rahman Padmanabhan, Mark Dirasian, Tom (Robot) (last name?), Jessie Rosenbury, Chris Pino, etc. Remember any of those? I always remember Rahman twitting Bao with the phrase, "Bao, you live in a tree!" He also coined Panmanabhan's first law of poker, "The shark plays his cards, the fish plays his chips."

- Stewart Lachman, September 2002

See "Bridge Players"

The Grove Street Roof and Porch Brigade

  A label loosely denoting the population of JMC / Sny-Phi veterans who inhabited rental spaces on Grove Street in East Lansing in the early 1970's.

"The Grove Street Roof and Porch Brigade -- that's what my friends and I called Grove Street residents in the year of 70-71.

At the time I lived in a three-story gray (unnamed) house on Grove at Elizabeth(?) (first corner north of 7-11). The second and third floors formed one unit with 4 women and the first floor had 3 or 4 other women, one of whom was Carolyn Forche, whose bedroom was the sun porch at the front of the house. I got to know her one night when she was home alone and her cat was giving birth, because she thought I might want to come see the kittens being born.

Down the street lived Carolyn's ex-husband who played the flute, and across from him (right next to the 7-11, which had just been built), Phil and Jerry lived, friends of my roomate Maja Piff. It was a time of candle-making and we did a lot of that. One of my favorite memories of that time was when Phil and Jerry and Maja and I piled into the car, with 20 degree weather and blowing snow, to go to the drive-in, where we saw Barbarella."

- Nancy Snyder, March 2004

Heuristic Learning

  A label for a pedagogical approach in which students are thrown into an advanced seminar / discussion / lecture environment on a specific theme or topic, on the theory that they'll absorb the introductory 'basics' along the way. This was the approach embodied in JMC's topical in-house courses.
Hippie Smog

  I attribute this to John Yost who was simply describing the perpetual cloud that surrounded 500 Charles Street.

- Leonard Kaufmann, May 2003

I & E

  Contraction for "Inquiry and Expression".

  An acronym denoting 'interdisciplinary study' or 'interdisciplinary studies'. Used as the category acronym for certain JMC course listings..
Independent Study

  1. A self-directed course of study on a topic conducted by a student under the supervision of a faculty advisor. A student would lay out a study plan for an academic term on a given subject, get the advice and approval of a JMC faculty member in the relevant area, and conduct that study for credit. JMC students effectively had unlimited opportunities for independent study within the JMC Curriculum.
  2. One of three ways in which a JMC student could satisfy his / her requirement for an entire term dedicated to personal education / experience.

Inquiry and Expression

  One of the core requirements of the JMC Curriculum. A multi-term sequence emphasizing analytical, critical, writing, and presentation skills, typically taken during the freshman year.

Some of the I & E work involved discussion and analysis of selected films typically shown once per week throughout a term. Names for known films can be found in the I & E Movies Listing.

Intensive Language

(a.k.a. Intensive Foreign Language; JMC Language) A label commonly applied to denote the accelerated foreign language programs established within Justin Morrill College. These programs allowed JMC students to accomplish their required two-year equivalency in foreign language within one year of concentrated study. The intensive foreign language programs were perhaps the most widely-known curricular feature unique to JMC.

In the mid-1970's, JMC's foreign language requirement was weakened, and the intensive foreign language programs were transferred from Justin Morrill College to the individual language departments of MSU.

Cf.: International Theme


(a.k.a. Cross-Disciplinary; Multidisciplinary) An adjective connoting a scope of interest spanning multiple academic disciplines (and hence, with respect to classwork, multiple departments). One of the most common descriptors for the viewpoint represented in the JMC model and the outlook expected of a JMC graduate.
International Theme

(a.k.a. International Perspective, Global Outlook) In various phrasings, an allusion to a key component of JMC's original vision - i.e., attention to global issues and the diverse cultures to be found around the world.

"Our international theme threads this entire fabric in a variety of ways. We interpret the word "international" as "cross-cultural" because we are more interested in the relations of mankind than in the relations of nation-states. The college requires the foreign language not only to equip students for cross-cultural study abroad, but also to set a global tone to the succeeding years of college from the very first week of classes. We wanted to get our students quickly inside another major foreign culture, and we assumed the fastest way to start this was through language study. Whether our students go abroad or not, all will have had this liberalizing experience. In addition, all will have had the chance to be taught by a faculty which, in almost every case, has had significant international experience. Many JMC teachers have chosen to give courses with specifically international and cross-cultural topics; some are themselves foreign nationals."

(SOURCE: Dean Rohman: JMC: The Liberating Journey, circa 1966)


  A contraction for "Justin Morrill College", and the official MSU prefix for Justin Morrill College courses during the time of the College's operations.

In subsequent years, the acronym 'JMC' has come to be commonly used for the 'JM-Come lately' James Madison College (still in operation at MSU).

Just and Moral

  From a play on the phrase "They call it the new morality, but it looks like the old immorality to me."

In the remake: "They call it Just Immoral, but it looks Just and Moral to me."

- Fred Little, December 2002

Cf. 'Just Immoral'

Just Immoral

  A facetious play on "Justin Morrill", slyly used as a gag line to refer to JMC.

Occasionally overhead phrased as "Justin Immoral".

Justin S. Morrill

(JMC's namesake)

JMC was named for Justin Smith Morrill (1801-1898), eminent U.S. Senator from Vermont. He authored the Morrill Act of 1862 -- the legislation which established the land grant college system. As the first land grant college, Michigan State University has a special tie to Morrill. It is no surprise, then, that MSU's first residential college unit was named for him.

Links for learning more about Morrill can be found on the JMC Links Page.


  JMC-era nickname for Karen Basner.
Late Minutes

  A term for a measure of incremental tardiness charged against Phillips women who returned to the dorm after the established curfew time. This practice was in effect during the early years of the College's existence (mid-1960's).

"[L]ate minutes were those things that the women endured because they were locked up at night...I do not remember what the hours were, but if the co-ed happened to be late getting into the front door (all other being locked at 10 p.m.), she was given late minutes, and after so many, the co-ed was restricted to the dorm in the evenings and I believe her parents were notified. ... This was a across campus rule for co-eds. The men on campus were free to come and go as they pleased at any hour." (Dennis Hall, January 2004)

"When I started at JMC in 1966, women had to be in by something like 11pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends; you could arrange to be out later than that on perhaps two occasions per semester. If you came in after the curfew, you accrued late minutes, although I forget what the consequences were...some loss of privileges, I guess, or an earlier curfew." (Grace Higginbottom, January 2004)

"At least the first term I was in Phillips, women still had hours - midnight weekdays, 1 am weekends and 2 special 2 am curfews per term that you could schedule in advance for a big occasion. I assume it was a university-wide dorm regulation ... If you accrued 15 (I think) late minutes, there would be some disciplinary action. But late minutes were recorded each time they occurred - how many mintues after curfew you arrived at the dorm, even if only 2 or 3. So it was a gallant custom for the man who had caused your tardiness to make it up to you the next day with a bouquet of roses totalling the number of late minutes. Don't know if that was just Phillips, or also campus wide." (Nancy Snyder, January 2004)

"If we didn't sign in by ten p.m. we'd receive "late minutes" which could accumulate to a "campused" penalty (confined to quarters during the evening.) It was a scandal to hear of someone helping a campused co-ed climb out and back through a window. ... We could also receive late minutes for an untidy room." (Inez Ashley Ross, MSU Class of '52: Michigan State Memories)


  A facetious contraction for "Little Caesar's Pizza", used to refer to that brand of pizza as if it were a habit-forming drug (which in their pre-national days Little Caesar's flagship product arguably was...).
Liberated Zone

  A facetious name given a section of the third floor center corridor (Stalag 17 precinct) in Snyder Hall during the 1969-1970 academic year. It started with a weekend prank involving moving a room's furniture elsewhere, with some of the furniture eventually ending up in the hallway before being put back in its place. The idea arose to leave furniture in the corridor, thus converting that space into a sort of 'common area' for the adjacent rooms. This move added extra utility space for studying, and it essentially forced anyone coming up or down the hallway to walk 'through the common / living area', and thus promote neighborly engagement. At its peak, the "Liberated Zone" space boasted a carpet, desk / chair set, and a sofa chair.

A photo of the Liberated Zone can be seen HERE at the JMC website.

Life of Inquiry

  A term that came into usage during the early- to mid-1970's to characterize the life for which the JMC program equipped its students. By the time of the 1975 MSU Catalog, JMC was claiming its entire program was built around this concept.

"The College assumes that the best use of an undergraduate liberal education is to prepare a student for both a satisfying career and a satisfying life. And the College believes that both these goals are best characterized by a life of inquiry, that is a life:

  • of intelligent curiosity,
  • of intellectual development,
  • of responsible participation,
  • of lifelong learning."

(MSU Catalog, 1975)

For more about the "Life of Inquiry" notion, see the JMC Concept Page.

Cf. Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning

  1. A phrase (among several) used to connote the notion that JMC was intended to prepare people for learning throughout their lives (i.e., beyond the university experience per se). In the early days, this theme was discernible but not really highlighted. By 1975, the label 'Life of Inquiry' had arisen to describe that for which JMC students were being prepared. It connotes a commitment to lifelong learning, as opposed to compartmentalizing one's educational experience into only the years spent in a university.

    For more about the "Life of Inquiry" notion, see the JMC Concept Page.

    Cf. Life of Inquiry

  2. A phrase ostensibly used in a more narrow sense to denote the continuing / adult education experiments first conducted by JMC under a Ford Foundation grant and alleged to have become a major theme of the College in its latter days.

    "[M]y association with the phrase "Lifelong Learning" is entirely negative. Isn't that what the crippled, post-strike version of JMC eventually became-- a college of "Lifelong Learning"--a sort of commuter school for old folks to come to and take a few classes...."

    - JMC alumnus, August 2002

Living / Learning

(always as a pair) This was a catchphrase of the University at large, beginning with a vision statement circa 1959. The 'living / learning' concept was originally implemented (sort of) by co-locating classrooms with living quarters in the newer of the rapidly-expanding population of residence halls during the early 1960's.

Justin Morrill College was the first College unit explicitly designed around the 'living / learning' concept. As such, this phrase has special significance for us Morrillites.

"Man on the Floor!"

  A standard warning which custom dictated be called out in Phillips (women's) dormitory whenever a male was in the residence precincts.

"...[B]efore co-ed visits started (2 or 3 hours after the football game, door must remain ajar), we had to yell out "man on the floor" if our Dad came to visit. Such sheltering of our (short-lived) virginal fragility!" (Nancy Snyder, January 2004)

"Dorms were strictly segregated. Landon was a women's dorm, and if a father or brother visited on Sunday, you'd hear the call, "man on the floor" so we could close the room door." (Inez Ashley Ross, MSU Class of '52: Michigan State Memories)

Mañana House

  One of the very rare titles for a precinct (or 'house') in Phillips Hall.

"... Mañana House was on the south side of the 3rd floor of Phillips."

- Grace Higginbottom, December 2002

Mash Bash

  The name for a casual get-together organized for the first full graduating class of seniors. The Mash Bash was planned for 5 June, 1969, in the Rathskeller at the Coral Gables.

It is not known if either the concept or the label 'Mash Bash' occurred on any other occasion prior to or after spring 1969.

To see the announcement for the Mash Bash from The Sheet, go to:

The Sheet: Vol. 11, no. 25 (May 1969), front page

Meaningful / Relevant

(always as a pair) The most overused adjectives for ideas and topics of value, as well as descriptors for the alleged foci of a JMC education.
Meat 'X'

  Label given the anonymous red meat used in a variety of nondescript entrees in the Snyder Phillips cafeterias.

  A term casually used to characterize MSU's expanded (and expanding) status by the time of the mid- to late-1960's as something bigger than the ordinary state university (hence the 'mega-').

Features associated with this label basically all had to do with size or scale - e.g., the large number of majors and disciplines offered, the world's largest dormitory system, etc.

Midnight Sun

  A local band which evolved circa 1973 or 1974 as a lineal descendant of Pillowcayse - the Sny-Phi / JMC 'house band' of the early 1970's. Midnight Sun would itself morph into Bonzo Flatt after about a year.

See 'Bonzo Flatt', 'Pillowcayse'

Modular Course

  Related Terms: Module, Modular Scheduling System

Terminology denoting an experimental approach to JMC course structure and scheduling initiated in Fall Term 1972. Basically, courses were reconfigured as 'modules' which ran for approximately half the term. Some modules were full courses (allowing students to take one thing as a first half module, then switch to something completely different for the second half module). Some modules were interrelated subcomponents of a single track or overarching topical course.

As the Fall 1972 JMC Course Descriptions explained:

"The modular scheduling system is designed to reduce the number of involvements that a student has at one time and thus to enhance the quality and depth of his involvement in each course. In addition to allowing the students to concentrate on fewer courses with less distractions, the modular scheduling system allows greater flexibility of meeting times and places. ...

Dates for the first half modular courses: September 21 - October 20

Dates for the second half modular courses: October 30 - December 1"

Moo U

  A satirical label for Michigan State University, connoting its earlier incarnation as "Michigan Agricultural College" and playing on the notion that other people in other places (most notably at the University of Michigan) still saw MSU as an 'ag school'.

  A complex (and, well, bizarre...) field game invented by Gary Cohn, and whose rules are documented in his science fiction story 'Rules of Moopsball' (Orbit 18 anthology, 1976, Harper & Row, edited by Damon Knight).

As described in a science fiction newsgroup: "Moopsball is somewhere between football, an SCA field war, and an improv theater competition. It's difficult to describe briefly. Lasts three days. Teams of people, riding bicycles, armed with hula hoops, frisbees, and long plastic squeaky-hammers. Goals count, but style points count too."

A comprehensive set of moopsball rules is nowhere to be found on the Internet. To get an idea of moopsball's oddities, you might review what effect moopsball as 'primary inspiration' had on the mutation of Capture the Flag into the game described at:

Mr. Natural

  1. The ever-popular R. Crumb cartoon character - a staple of comix, posters, and sly allusions during the late 1960's / early 1970's.
  2. The JMC-era nickname of Jim Back.


  An adjective connoting a scope of interest spanning multiple academic disciplines (and hence, with respect to classwork, multiple departments). One of the most common descriptors for the viewpoint represented in the JMC model and the outlook expected of a JMC graduate.
Mystery Texan

  JMC-era nickname for Paul Buehrle (JMC '73).
Nero's Fiddle

  Name for an experimental radio program hosted by JMC veterans Stewart Lachman and Maja Piff.

"... I did a program together with Maja Piff (Nancy Snyder's roomie) on WMSN called Nero's Fiddle that experimented with a mixture of poetry, music of all genres, and other readings around topics like: "Time and Space" or "The City." We might mix classical, jazz, rock, avant garde poetry, a pargraph from a novel or material from technical and scientific manuals all in the same show. At the time, these were fairly new concepts, and we had a lot of fun."

- Stewart Lachman, May 2003

"No Left Turn Unstoned"

  "If I had to pick one visual/sign memory of JMC, I think this would be it. I passed the sign a half dozen times a day, at least before my office got moved to Baker Hall."

"I think it was [in] Phillips basement, on the door of the room one faced as one came down the corridor from the main part of the building ... then turned left to an outside door. ... I can remember somebody knew the people (3?) who lived in the room. I didn't. But I was always amused by the sign."

Keven Bridge: August, 2002 )

NOTE:  This quote is attributed to (a) Merry Prankster Paul Foster and (b) a sign outside Ken Kesey's La Honda home. This phrase was apparently the inspiration for titling a song written by Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead (a song frequently misidentified as "Cardboard Cowboy").

For more on this origin, see:

the Grateful Dead Lyric and Song Finder


  "The (possibly) mythical mass movement conjured up in the lobby of Phillips Hall in the winter of 1972.

"Otto: cut off a head and two heads grow in its place;
Cut off an arm and two heads grow in its place."

Otto may also have been a mysterious student looking for a ride to Upper Smegma, just past the Isles of Langorhans, or someone who gave out tips on where to get the hottest water for your tea in the cafeteria"

- SOURCE: Jack McCullough, June 2004

"Outta State!"

  A facetious play on the phrase "Outta Sight!", used as an explicative.
Pass / No Credit

(a.k.a. P/NC) The alternative grading system put into effect circa 1971 was often alluded to as 'Pass/Fail', but in fact it was 'Pass / No Credit' -- i.e., the concept and stigma of 'Failure' had been eliminated. You either passed or you got no credits for your tuition....

  ('Public Display of Affection')

MSU bureaucratic parlance for 'students making out'. In the early days of JMC (mid- to late-'60's) there were University regulations (or at least guidelines) delineating acceptable norms and limits to such behaviors.

"Public Display of Affection was the official term for making out. There were even guidelines about what was permissible... As I recall, if two people were on a couch, three feet had to be on the floor." (Grace Higginbottom, January 2004)

People's Park

(Click the Pic to See a
Webpage of People's Park photos)

a.k.a. 'Free'

During the spring of 1970, a "People's Park" sprang up in the quad area south of the Red Cedar River bounded by Erickson Hall on the east, the International Center (bookstore building) on the south, and Wells Hall (math / languages) on the west. Residents pitched tents (and at least one tipi) or set up improvised lean-to's. The area (also dubbed "Free") remained the scene of a persistent resident population, daily passers-through, and regular gatherings through the remainder of that turbulent spring term.

Phillips Beach

  a.k.a. 'Snyder Beach'

A casual label for the grassy courtyard area located on the south side of the Snyder Phillips complex, where students lounged in the sun during warm weather.

Phillips Hall

The western half of the Snyder Phillips dorm complex. Historically, the women's side of the Sny-Phi residential complex.

The JMC Library was located on the basement level of Phillips Hall.

Technically, the Snyder Phillips Grill was located in the Phillips half of the dormitory complex. However, prior to Spring 1970 there were double doors sealing off the Phillips basement from the Grill area.


  A rock band fronted by Jackie Martling and Larry Wickett. The most regular act featured at weekly mixers in the basement of Snyder Hall. Often referred to as "The House Band" (for JMC, for Sny-Phi, etc.).

  Used as a verb as in "to screw".

I first heard it used in games of progression (or "Oh Hell"). This was a card game where you bid on the number of tricks you thought your hand could capture. The dealer was the last person to bid and was "pimped" if he could not bid a number that would make the total number of bids equal to the total number of tricks. It was first explained to me by Shelley Hamilton.

- Leonard Kaufmann, May 2003

Pioneer Bob

  Self-cited nickname for 'Pioneer' Bob Boyer - popular Snyder Hall RA, musician, and raconteur.
Polly Sci (and her brother Nat)

  One of the various contractions used for 'political science', in this case joined with a pun on 'natural science' and the facetious presumption of a familial relationship based on 'last name'...

"Whether it was JMC talk or not, I'm not sure, because I don't remember we had Political Science and Natural Science requirements, but I do remember talk around breakfast tables that a person had to 'go deal with Polly Sci and her brother Nat.'"

- Nancy Snyder, March 2004


  The term for the constituent sub-units of a dormitory. In Snyder Phillips, a precinct constituted one third of a floor (north wing / center / south wing). There was one RA (Resident Advisor) assigned to and residing within each such precinct.

When Snyder Phillips went coed, men's and women's living areas were primarily designated in terms of alternating precincts.

Back in the 60's / 70's it was common practice (at least in the men's dorms) for precincts to have names or labels. These names were primarily used to identify that precinct's intramural team(s). Some of the Snyder precinct names have been dredged up from memory and included in this Glossary. They include Cellar Dwellers, Satans, Setutitsorp ('Setutes'), Snark, Spiders (Spyders?), Stalag 17, Sultans, and Superstition.

Occasional rumors to the contrary, we've not yet been able to confirm the existence of a similarly-comprehensive set of precinct names for the Phillips side of the complex.

At the time JMC was founded, there was a basement precinct in Snyder Hall (south side, analogous to the one in Phillips). This area was converted into JMC office space only a year or two after the College's birth.

(The) Red Cedar

  The name of the small river which meanders through the main MSU campus. This stream has long been reputed to be hideously polluted.

See 'Red Sewer'

(The) Red Sewer

  Deprecating nickname for the Red Cedar River, alluding to its notoriety for being a very polluted stream.

(Citing Popular Campus Legends:) "The Red Cedar River (aka the Red Sewer River) was polluted with some hideous and uspecified chemicals that were somehow the fault of the University administration." (Mark Jaede, January 2004)

"The story Dan Follette (an Okemos native) told me was that the pollution was due to a battery factory near Okemos. I was quite horrified at the yellow hue of the ice my freshman year." (Kevin Fulton, January 2004)

"...I was instructed as an RA in 68-69 that if any of my charges were to fall in the river I was to get them to Olin ASAP for shots. Whatever was in the river, the medical authorities felt that a mere shower would not be enough to protect a victim of immersion." (Tom Dale Keever, January 2004)

"I do remember that while I lived in Phillips in the mid-70s a friend that fell in the river when their canoe tipped over was sent to the health center for some sort of inoculation against infectious disease. Unfortunately, I can't remember what sort of disease they were worried about, but it was someone I knew well enough to believe the story." (Cleo Parker, January 2004)

See 'Red Cedar'

(The) Red Menace

  JMC-era nickname for Bob Walter (1969 - 1974), applied owing to his flaming red hair.
Residential College

  Any university unit at the College level organized as a discrete living and learning environment for a population of participating students.

Justin Morrill College was the first MSU residential college, established in 1965 - some two years prior to the establishment of James Madison College and Lyman Briggs College.


  JMC-era nickname for Tom Barry.
Saint Justin of the Morel

  A fictitious and mythic character alluded to as the patron saint of JMC.

The usage of 'morel' was based on (a) it being one of the few English words one could pun off 'Morrill' and (b) its affording a referential allusion to the era's signature recreational pharmacoepia (in which fungi played a significant role).


  A precinct name in Snyder.
Senior Seminar

  Also: 'Capstone Seminar'

Originally a course intended for summation of the JMC experience; a required class / workshop / seminar for all JMC seniors. It ceased to be a requirement by circa 1970 or 1971.


  Contraction / abbreviation for 'Setutitsorp' (Snyder precinct name)

See 'Setitutsorp'


  ("Prostitutes" spelled backward)

A precinct name in Snyder.

"2nd Floor, North End, 1966 - 1967 (home to myself, Jackie Martling, and others) was known as "Setutitsorp". That's right, "prostitutes", spelled DaVinci-style in hopes that our intramural shirts -- one of which I still have -- could somehow sneak by censors; this pre-JMC ploy failed, however, so the shirts simply said, "Setutes"."

- William McGarvey, December 2002

(The) Sheet

The Justin Morrill College internal newsletter, compiled and published in the basement of Snyder and distributed to the JMC community at large.

A Fall 1969 issue of The Sheet can be perused HERE.


A group action conducted sometime during Winter or Spring quarter 1970 as one of the initial actions toward making the Snyder Phillips complex co-ed.

"I remember the famous "sleep-in" - we were told that the guys in Snyder were going to come and "liberate" us (and yes, that was the word that was used. We in Phillips thought that interesting, since we didn't think we needed the help... We sat on the stairs to the second floor watching the "liberators" enter the Phillips lobby - some in pajamas and robes!, with pillows... They took up residence in the lobby - so much for the bold move : ) But yes, that was the first step to trading rooms."

- Maggie (Roberts) vanHaften, May 2003


A precinct name in Snyder Hall.

Adjective: colloquial

"Distinctly uncomplimentary and suggestive of danger (snake + narc) as in:

"I don't know if you should fire that up here, that guy over there looks pretty snarky."

- Fred Little, December 2002


  Pronounced: SNIE - PHIE

A contraction of "Snyder-Phillips", and the most common off-the-cuff label for JMC's home dormitory complex.

Snyder Beach

  a.k.a. 'Phillips Beach'

A casual label for the grassy courtyard area located on the south side of the Snyder Phillips complex, where students lounged in the sun during warm weather.

Snyder Hall

The eastern half of the Snyder Phillips dorm complex. Historically, the men's side of the Sny-Phi residential complex.

Snyder Hall was opened in 1947.

During the existence of Justin Morrill College, Snyder Hall was the location for the College's administrative and (most) senior faculty offices.

Snyder Phillips Commune

  During the chaotic strike season of spring 1970, Snyder Phillips (mainly JMC) students eliminated the doors separating the Phillips (womens) and Snyder (mens) sides of the complex. People moved from one side to another to establish the first co-ed dorm setup. This, in conjunction with other 'proactive reforms', led to Snyder-Phillips being declared a 'commune' (as distinct from the other dormitories), and this form of self-reference was the preferred label during that period (one which is burned deeply into the memories of those that were there...).

"The Snyder-Phillips Commune was a theoretical construct overlaying some very interesting concepts. Of course, early in the spring of 70, in a series of meetings in the Snyder dining hall, many of the residents declared the dorms to be a "free" commune, independent of the Michigan State dorm system, with all rules and regulations proclaimed null and void. Specifically, the previously separated men's and women's sides were to become co-ed."

(SOURCE: David "Ace" Brigode: A Few Observations on Justin Morrill College)

Spanish Inquisition

  "A subgame of Moopsball which can be played when one of the players is captured. The captor interrogates the captive, asking yes/no questions, to which the captive may respond "Rum", "Tum", or "Rum-tee-Tum", for yes, no, or maybe, at the captive's discretion. Also, the captive is allowed to lie."

- SOURCE: Jack McCullough, June 2004

See 'Moopsball'

Spiders / Spyders

  A precinct name in Snyder. The location or number for this precinct is as-yet-unidentified. Both spellings have been reported by correspondents.
Stalag 17

  A precinct name in Snyder (third floor center - precinct number 17).
Starship Kedzie

  The name given a group house occupied by JMC / Sny-Phi veterans on Kedzie Street in East Lansing.

"A number of JMCers and friends lived at a house on Kedzie Street dubbed 'Starship Kedzie.'"

- Mark Jaede, March 2004

State Urinal

  A facetious and deprecating nickname for Lansing's State Journal.
Stinking Creek Farms

  The name given a group house occupied by JMC / Sny-Phi veterans on the northern periphery of East Lansing.

"Some of the same people who lived [ Starship Kedzie...] later settled at the northern edge of East Lansing at a house dubbed 'Stinking Creek Farms' due to its sulphurous well water."

- Mark Jaede, March 2004

Street Corner Society

  A guerrilla theatre troupe liable to be encountered throughout the MSU environs in the early 1970's.

  A precinct name in Snyder.
Sunday 'Dinner'

  A slang term for the Sunday luncheon served in the Sny-Phi cafeteria(s). In the College's early days (mid-1960's) there was a dress code for this meal. Also, this was the last meal served in the cafeteria on Sundays, so the menu consisted of more substantial entrees usually served at the evening mealtime.

"I recall that during my freshman year (1966-67), men were required to wear ties to Sunday lunch (some referred to it as called dinner, since it offered the evening menu), and the women had to wear skirts." (Kevin Fulton, January 2004)

"I remember having to have that tie and jacket for Sunday "dinner", since no food was served Sunday evenings." (Dennis Hall, January 2004)


  A precinct name in Snyder. The name'Superstition' was apparently derived from the fact its precinct was number 13 in the dormitory's organizational scheme.

  A label for a small group of people engaged in sensitivity training and therapeutic conversations.

Any of the myriad such groups conducted as JMC Psychology classes, which JMC students either loved or hated. To illustrate:

"Almost everybody was into T-groups for a while and almost everybody got upset. It was related to drugs and getting high and getting into yourself and getting out of yourself and getting other selves and meditating on your navel and your toenail. That passed also."

(SOURCE: JMC: The 'Middle' Years, 1975)

"I personally found that the T- Groups/Encounter Group I took in the Winter of 70 to have been very influential. Being basically an overeducated, intellectualized, Jesuit high school nerd, the concept of blowing out your feelings in front of other people and then putting your emotions back together again was very scary and liberating. I can also see how you could have a very bad experience under different circumstances."

(SOURCE: David Brigode: A Few Observations on Justin Morrill College)

Talking with Michelangelo

  "... a student-organized group literature seminar with Glenn Wright that [Tim Crane] had a significant hand in putting together. The texts were early Twentieth Century Modernists -- Joyce, Eliot, Pound. We were all frustrated by the stiffness of the English Department and the refusal of our fellow students to do the reading. Thus, course requirements were limited to pledging to actually do the readings and then showing up for our weekly seminar at Beggar's Banquet, a liquid affair that often ended up in someone's house and running till the wee hours."

- Fred Little, March 2004

Top Cat / 'TC'

  JMC-era nickname for Tim Crane (JMC: 1974 - 1979).
Trophy Room

  A room off the Snyder Hall lobby used for miscellaneous events, meetings, and for JMC student early registration.

  The JMC-era nickname of Allison Tuffle.
Tuna Bagel

  The house specialty of the Snyder Phillips Grill.

  Short-lived and very eccentric local band founded in Snyder Phillips and including JMC denizens Terry Powers, John Sase, Mike Rosati, and Randy Whitaker (along with Marty Adams on drums). Founded in early winter term 1972, faded away by the end of that calendar year.

  The name of John Cousineau's stuffed / mounted bear head - a decorative accessory in places John inhabited during his JMC days.

- SOURCE: Steve (Taggart) Johgart, March 2004

Wandering Minstrel(s)

The illustrative metaphor most commonly invoked to describe the persona / utility / role of a Justin Morrill College graduate, based on the motif of a creative itinerant.

Conversely, this led to the frequent characterization of Justin Morrill College as a school that trained wandering minstrels.

Wild Bill

  Common nickname for Bill Halvangis.
Writing Laboratory

  A term used in some course descriptions to denote the small discussion / work groups within which I & E students reviewed the weekly presentations made to them (e.g., lectures; films) and reviewed each other's papers.

"Weekly lectures on topics ... are followed by small writing laboratories with a writing coach who leads discussions on the lectures and makes writing assignments based on the lectures and readings. Each group features intensive evaluation of each student's writing and thinking."

(SOURCE: MSU Catalog, 1969)


  (Verb, intransitive. Derived from the name [Jim] Yousling - JMC student and innovative promoter of on-campus films at MSU) To spend an extended period of time watching movies.

"I still remember Jim Yousling fulfilling a long-cherished dream, walking around the campus in a gorilla suit to advertise that week's screenings of "King Kong." The newly possible past-time of watching several movies a day all weekend came to be called "yousling," yielding the back-constructed verb 'to yousle.' "

(Tom Dale Keever, July 2002)

Zeemie Sisters

  Nickname for a particular set of Phillips Hall coeds...

"... Lived in the basement of Phillips @ 1971 - 1972 and scared the crap out of all us non-urban coeds. They blared "Bang a Gong" [why, I don't know] and never wore ANYTHING but workshirts and jeans. Looks can be deceiving, but they personified scary-hip. I am seeing long dark wild hair and slits for eyes because of the cig/pot smoke."

(Cindy Weitekamp, October 2004)


  1. The Anthony Quinn character in a popular film apparently never shown in JMC's Inquiry and Expression series.
  2. The JMC-era nickname of Bill Halvangis (otherwise known as 'Wild Bill').

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