Transcript (129 KB)


Former Michigan State Senator Anthony Derezinsky (b. 1942) joined the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents in 1981 and served in that position until his retirement in 1996. In this interview, Derezinsky recounts his formative years with the University of Michigan Law School and Harvard Law before describing his time with the United States Navy serving with the Judge Advocate General Corps in Vietnam, 1968-1971. As a University Regent, Derezinsky played a vital role in the EMU logo/mascot change, placing the value of fairness above all other considerations. Stating that it "rankled my civil liberties heart" to see students offended by the Huron logo and mascot, and known by fellow regents as "Mr. Gavel," Derezinsky describes the process of learning from other institutions how to go about the changing of a logo/mascot that had become synonymous with school spirit and identity for many alumni and community members. Helping to steer the university through difficult ethical waters, Derezinsky traveled the country with EMU President William Shelton to provide insight to schools considering a change of logo/mascot.

Interview Date

Winter 3-8-2022


Harvard Law School, Eastern Michigan University, University of Michigan, Michigan Law Review, Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, Judge Advocate General Corps, United States Navy, Da Nang, Cam Ranh Bay, War in Vietnam, Court of Military Appeals, Uniform Code of Military Justice, Military Citizens Defense Committee, John Porter, Board of Regents, James Brickley, James Milliken, Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Native American, First Peoples, Washington Redskins, Chicago Blackhawks, Central Michigan Chippewas, Elliott-Larsen Act, Mel Larsen, Daisy Elliott, LGBTQ+, Education Issues Committee, 14th Amendment, Wisconsin Civil Rights Act, Jim Doyle, Courtney McAnuff, Milwaukee Golden Eagles, Sturgis, motorcylce, Susan Martin, Richard Robb, Ypsilanti, university president, William Shelton, EMU, Eastern, Southeast Michigan, student organization, indigenous student

Permission to Use

Permission to quote from this oral history should be requested from the University Archives (

Streaming Media

Anthony Derezinsky, Oral History Interview, 2021