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Alumni Profiles

The department of English Language and Literature aims to provide its students with a breadth and depth of knowledge that equips them for accomplished and fulfilling careers. Through rigorous study under the instruction of skilled and experienced U-M faculty, our alumni have gone on to use their critical understanding of literature and mastery of language to achieve professional success in a variety of fields including academia, media and journalism, business, technology, and law.

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Andrea Sachs

Reporter at Time Magazine, Class of '75

"I became an English Major because of poet Donald Hall. As a sophomore, I heard him read poetry in class in a beautiful, sonorous voice, and I was smitten."

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Andrew Feinberg

Deloitte Consulting LLP, Class of '98

"I love literature, and having the opportunity to really think critically and hone my writing, coupled with a well-rounded liberal arts education, was a perfect fit for me."

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Andrew Latack

Lawyer and Agent at CAA Sports, Class of '00

"I intended to make sportswriting my career after college, so I spent 40+ hours per week at The Daily for all four years of undergrad and served as Sports Editor my senior year. My aim was always to become the strongest writer I could be."

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Catherine Redlich

Criminal Defense Attorney, Class of '71

"A literary education is like no other discipline in terms of understanding the human heart. You cannot read the great works of literature without becoming wiser, more empathetic, more insightful, and more forgiving."

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Charles R. Aldrich

Lawyer and Agent at CAA Sports, Class of '66

"I credit my English professors for not only teaching me the proper use of the English language, but also never to fail to express ideas and concepts in clear, concise, and creative ways."

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Dave Barnett

Management Consultant, Class of '83

"In our digitally connected world, the scope for specialized mechanical thinking across our society and global workforce continues to expand. So the interdisciplinary skills honed on the English major’s journey—interpretation, analysis, communications—are becoming increasingly scarce... and valuable!"

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Elaine Baker

VP of CBS Radio in Detroit, Class of '64

"I took a course titled 'Writing For Radio and Television.' It was my junior year. It was eye opening for me. My writing improved and my future took a specific direction. My English Degree gave me the road to a great career and a wonderful retirement."

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Ethan Goodman

Urban Planner

"Frankly, when I chose to major in English it was because I liked reading books.  What better way to spend my college days than reading the classics—diving into the greatest literature ever written, deconstructing novels that broke new ground, enjoying the beauty of words on a page?"

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. . .

Fredrick Doner

President of Donor Studio, Class of '65

"The English Degree at the University of Michigan provides a gateway to a rich life, whether you measure “rich” it in terms of jobs landed and maintained, books read, ideas created, essays, books, papers, and/or plans written, ideas shared, friends and colleagues made and kept, or all of the above."

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. . .

Greg Fisher

Network Television Producer, Class of '87

"There is no amount of practicality that I would trade for the inspiration that came from a film class on Stanley Kubrick and Prof Baulin’s magical talent for dissecting the powerful sense of story from a film such as Clockwork Orange, or the majestic memory of looking out the window at the Diag as (finally) a spring breeze blew through the window while classmates speculated and debated the story immersed in a poem."

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. . .

Hendrik Meijer

Co-Chairman and CEO of Meijer Supermarkets, Class of '73

"After Michigan I worked in the newspaper business for a few years, using my language skills every day. At a practical level today, I still appreciate the chance to write and revise corporate materials, to apply my voice, rather than rely on others to create that voice."

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. . .

Howard Katz

Chief Strategy and Corporate Development at HAVI, Class of '90

"Compared to most other courses where the focus was on the raw transfer of information to students, English was much more geared toward challenging students to not just to think, but to learn how to think."

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. . .

Jennifer Freides

Screenwriter, Class of '91

"I am a screenwriter, and I am trained as a lawyer. As an English major at the U-M, I learned to read fast, write well, manage my time, think critically, organize my thoughts and speak with clarity. These things were very helpful in law school on a practical level, but they've also been beneficial to my life beyond school. Thirty years out, I find that I still use these skills with great frequency."

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Kirsten Nelson

Marketing Technology, Class of '79

"Reading novels has helped me imagine alternatives. Analysis, especially of poetry, enables me to align language to get the most impact out of the fewest words..."

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Marcia Ann Bailey

Operations Manager at U-M Libraries, Class of '87

"Reading had always been my gateway to other cultures and life experiences different than my own. I was fascinated by how a writer could describe a situation so well that I could feel a part of it."

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Mary Ellen Liles Lemieux

Psychotherapist, Class of '83

"Study English because you love literature, words and writing. By graduation, you'll have critical thinking, writing and organizational skills that, along with your Michigan degree, will open so many doors for you. You'll get interviews because you went to Michigan. Except maybe not in Columbus."

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. . .

Michael Diamond

Head of Programmatic Account Strategy at Google, Class of '08

"My background as an English major, particularly in terms of analytical writing, has been a differentiator for me during my time in the business/tech world. It has enabled me to articulate the value of complex technical products to clients, communicate the value/impact of my team's work to company leaders, and evaluate client strategy proposals."

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Neal P. Goldman

Partner at Brigade Capital Management LLC, Class of '91

"These courses were the beginning of my becoming a great analytical thinker and helped me better understand life and the complicated world we live in."

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Robert Granader

CEO of MarketResearch.com, Class of '89

"Some of the greatest joys I have are reading and writing, based on something that was sparked long ago when I became an English Major."

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Shira Lee Katz

Netflix Product Innovation, Class of '00

"I view the core of my job as 'telling stories,' not as 'engaging with tech.' Through this lens, I can recast the description of my job into this: We are trying to tell the stories of our catalog in ways that will resonate with kids."

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Stevan Dittman

Lawyer, Class of '73

"Dickens was instrumental in shaping my eventual professional life as a lawyer."

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