Rosie the Riveter world record has connections to Michigan Medicine

January 4, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

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Recently, more than 3,700 women and girls dressed as the iconic Rosie the Riveter — dark blue work clothes, red socks and an effervescent red and white polka dot bandana. Together, they gathered in Ypsilanti to set a new world record of the most people dressed as Rosie the Riveter in one place. Several of these women work or study at U-M.

The organizing chairwoman for the event, Alison Beatty, is a joint Ph.D. student in political science at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

“Acting as the chairwoman was a labor of love, and I hope that the women of Michigan will be inspired about their wonderful, incredible heritage. The event itself was energizing and electric! The local pride in Rosie the Riveter, and the fact that she worked in Ypsilanti, made the whole day wonderful.”

Kimberly Bonner, administrative assistant senior for Health Information Technology & Services, participated alongside her family.

“It was overwhelming how many people were dressed up, even men and boys. We joined this effort to honor my grandmother who was an ‘Original Rosie’ at a Willow Run factory auxiliary location during WWII. We also did it to honor my mother and aunt, who both worked at the Willow Run factory when it was still open.”

Wanting to support the important role of the factory worker in current American society, Toni Henkemeyer, program intermediate manager for the Michigan Visiting Nurse Association, joined in too.

“I have been inspired by Rosie the Riveter for a long time. Many more people participated than I thought would be there. It was exciting to highlight a part of women’s history that had such an impact on the workforce of today.”

Bon Thomas, tech repair supervisor for Information Technology & Services, participated in an earlier event in 2015 and was eager to bring the world record, previously broken in California in 2016, back to Michigan.

“I enjoyed being able to share this with my mom and granddaughter. This shows the importance of women’s contributions during the war; they were so valuable to the success of our country. It also served as a great way to teach the younger generations that hard work pays off.”