Asked and Answered

By Steve Thorpe
sthorpe@legalnews.com

On Monday, Oct. 1, a ceremony was held at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law that included the burial of a time capsule intended to be unearthed in 2062. The idea for the capsule, part of the school’s 100th anniversary events, originated in the “Wild Ideas Club,” a recently formed group tasked with evaluating proposals for the school. Chris Congdon is the IT Director of University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and was one of the organizers of the time capsule project.

Thorpe: Why a time capsule?

Congdon: The school’s 100th anniversary is a big event and we thought we could leave a bit of a legacy for 50 years from today and let people of the future see where we were at today. Hopefully, they’ve solved any problems we’re dealing with today.

Thorpe: What’s inside the capsule?

Congdon: All different kinds of material. Information about the school, some fun stuff — like a couple of incandescent light bulbs, because those certainly won’t be around then — a dollar bill, a penny, some personal letters, menus from area restaurants, lots and lots of pictures of the school and current renovations we’re undergoing. There are also copies of the Detroit News, the Free Press, USA Today and the Legal News in the capsule. We put a lot of things that will hopefully give people a perspective on what our lives were like.

Thorpe: Tell me about the “Wild Idea Club?”

Congdon: People on campus were always making suggestions and offering ideas and there was no formal process to act on their suggestions. So a group of people got together and formed the Wild Idea Club. Anyone can come to the club, bring an idea forward and, if it gets enough support from the 15 or so members of the club, then the club’s job is to put it all together in a concrete package and take it to the dean and try to get his approval on it. This is the first of those ideas. And we’ve got lots more that we’re working on.

Thorpe: What went into preparing the capsule and who was responsible for that?

Congdon: The time capsule was custom made by Molnar Roofing out of Riverview. Robert Molnar is a graduate of the law school and graciously donated all the roofing materials and labor for our new Clinic Firehouse Project. Amy Smith reached out to him to see if he could make a custom, watertight, stainless steel time capsule for the law school. Robert and his brother Bill Molnar designed and created the capsule but we did pay to have it made. However, given the prices for prefabricated capsules, they gave us quite a deal and we were very pleased with the result.

Thorpe:
Anyone else you want to tip your hat to?

Congdon: The whole club did a great job. Amy Smith, our Assistant Dean for Operations is in charge of the club and Jeff Johnson has done a tremendous amount of work on the idea. Most of the members of the club were here today and they all contributed something to the project, as well as other people at the school. It was definitely a group effort.

Time Capsule Contents
This is a list of some of the items placed in the time capsule.
1.    Letter to the future from the Wild Ideas Club and group photo
2.    USA Today
3.    Detroit Free Press
4.    Detroit News
5.    Incandescent light bulb
6.    Docket - UDM Law alumni magazine
7.    Viewbook - UDM Law admissions brochure
8.    Bluebook
9.    Scantron
10.    No. 2 pencils
11.    UDM Law ink pen
12.    Our Three Words
13.    Menus from local restaurants
14.    Assorted Detroit brochures
15.    UDM Law program brochures
16.    Pewabic tile of the school's Jefferson door
17.    100th anniversary coaster
18.    Penny
19.    One dollar bill
20.    Various photos of the school, classrooms, and students.