Michigan’s top dozen named to ‘Wall of Fame’

Published 12:24 am Thursday, March 16, 2006

By Staff
In Lansing this week, the 2006 inductees to the first Michigan Walk of Fame were announced.
The inductees include Jeff Daniels, Herbert Henry Dow, Thomas Edison, President Gerald Ford, Henry Ford, E. Genevieve Gillette, Ernie Harwell, W.K. Kellogg, Rosa Parks, Fannie Richards, Helen Thomas and Stevie Wonder.
I was glad to see Rosa Park and Helen Thomas made the list.
"It's no secret that Michigan has produced some of the world's most industrious thinkers, inspiring entertainers and compassionate leaders," said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.
A joint venture between the City of Lansing, its Principal Shopping District and the Michigan Historical Museum, will honor each inductee with an 18" x 30" bronze plaque embedded in the sidewalks of downtown Lansing, the state's capital city.
A tribute celebration will be held at the Michigan Historical Center on Thursday, May 25.
The plaques will be similar to the famous sidewalk in Hollywood and feature a star, along with their name and list of achievements.
A decision to honor those who are famous for their contributions to their state and to the nation isn't really new.
But apparently the idea of a “walk” is, as Michigan's Walk of Fame will be the nation's first, according to Kevin Green, executive director of Lansing Principal Shopping District.
"The Michigan Walk of Fame was created to honor state residents, past and present who have made significant contributions to the state, nation or the world," Green said.
"This first group of inductees is a fine start to our Michigan Walk of Fame, and the perfect way to showcase our best and brightest."
I like that the names weren't just chosen by the Governor or those helping to establish the walk.
The inductees were chosen from more than 450 nominees submitted by residents of all 83 Michigan counties in the fall of 2005. Nominations were even received from 15 other states.
Judging must have been very difficult. The effort was collaborated by historians, business, civic and community leaders.
Categories included Agriculture, Business and Industry, with Henry Ford and Will Keith Kellogg this year's choices.
Arts and Entertainment brought Jeff Daniels of Chelsea and Stevie Wonder of Detroit.
Athletics and Recreation brought E. Genevieve Gillette of Lansing a star. She is known as the “Mother of the Michigan Parks System.” Ernie Harwell of Detroit, the “voice of Detroit Tiger Baseball,” will also be remembered in bronze.
Civic and Community Leadership bring us to the other Ford on the list, former President Gerald R. Ford, who was raised in Grand Rapids. Rosa Parks, though remembered for her refusal to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Ala., had chosen Michigan as her final home, coming in 1957.
Education and Literature honors Fannie Richards, Detroit's first black public school teacher and a member of my profession, Helen Thomas. Thomas, also of Detroit, has reported on every president since John F. Kennedy.
The final category was Medicine, Science and Technology. I would have been really surprised if Thomas Edison hadn't made the first cut.
A genius from Port Huron, Edison made all our lives a little easier. Herbert Henry Dow of Midland, registered more than 100 patents during his lifetime.
If you want to be part of the selection process for 2007, go to www.michiganwalkoffame.com and submit your choices. Inspire your children that maybe someday their name would be so honored.