Transcript (186 KB)


William Everett Shelton (b. 1942) was president of Eastern Michigan University 1989-2000, and is universally recognized for his work to do away with the EMU logo and mascot, seen as culturally insensitive to many inside and outside of the university. In this interview, Shelton recounts his rise to higher education administration from his roots in segregated southern schools, and the turmoil surrounding the change of the EMU logo and mascot. Arriving on the heels of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission recommendation that all Michigan schools with culturally insensitive logos and mascots make changes to those depictions, Shelton was thrust into the spotlight as a brand new university president grappling with painful institutional growing pains. This interview centers around the values espoused by Shelton in his recommendation to the Board that EMU should, in fact, change the logo and mascot, that change is inevitable, and that it was the responsibility of universities to encourage growth and change along with the rest of American culture. Shelton also wrestles with his legacy at EMU as he describes the backlash from alumni unhappy with the logo change and the longterm effects of the Board's decision to drop the Huron logo.

Interview Date

Winter 3-9-2022


Eastern michigan university, EMU, Board of Regents, logo, mascot, Huron, insensitive, discrimination, stereotype, fundraising, College of Education, East Carolina State University, University of Michigan, Pinehurst, North Carolina, Memphis State, education, leladership, Kent State, Michigan Civil Rights Commission, faculty strike, Native American, John Burton, athletics, Learning University, Chief Bearskin, Huron Alumni Chapter, integration, segregation, school integration

Permission to Use

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

Streaming Media

William Shelton, Oral History Interview, 2021