Mark Seigle, BBA '80: Making Memories at The Big House for 43 Years
In the fall after graduation in 1980, Mark Seigle, BBA ’80, and his college friends started a yearly tradition of gathering in Ann Arbor to attend a Michigan Wolverines football game. 2023 marks their 43rd year of reuniting for great football, good food, and University of Michigan memories.
“We all met at Alice Lloyd Hall. Some of us started at U-M in '76, some of us in '77,” Seigle said. “After a year or two in the residence hall, we decided to rent a house together on Geddes. There were six of us in that house, and that created and bonded the friendships that remain to this day.”
The group of college friends has returned to Ann Arbor every year for the past four decades, with the exception of the years during the COVID-19 pandemic, to spend one weekend of the year together, catching up, and either attending a football game or the Ann Arbor Art Fair. They travel to Michigan from around the country, with some coming from New York, Ohio, Illinois, and as far as Washington.
“As students, we used to spend our Sunday evenings leaving the grad library and going to Cottage Inn Pizza. So now, we still go to Cottage Inn when we meet on Friday night, and then on Saturday, we go to the football game,” Seigle said.
“Now, we also go to Zingerman's. We are so old, Zingerman's didn't exist when we went to college,” he laughed.
Good times on campus with lifelong friends
Since 1980, Seigle has been joined by his wife, Robin, and their friends: Gary Klein, LSA ’81, Nancy Klein, Nursing ’81, Jared “J.Z.” Zerman, LSA ’80, Amy Zerman, LSA ’80/MSI ’81, Rob Weinstock, LSA ’81, Risa Weinstock, Brian Sahn, LSA ’80, Emilya Sahn, and Mark Freer, SEAS ’81. Jeff Sprung, LSA ’81, also joined the gathering in 2022.
Today, the group’s children also join them at this annual celebration.
“Our group has always been more than just ‘the guys.’ As our wives have grown the group, so too, of course, have the kids, “said Jared Zerman. “In fact, for a time when some of our next generation were enrolled at U-M and brought along their own friends, we had as many as 22 people at our Saturday night reunion dinner. Most of that next generation is now out of college; there are even a few grandchildren who will be present for the first time this year.”
For the Seigles and their friends, this gathering has become much more than just a yearly football game — it’s a chance to connect with friends, family, and the school where they grew up together.
“Through the years, our college camaraderie has evolved into an appreciation and deep love of each other and of all things U-M. We have become family,” said Nancy Klein. “Our children got to grow up with these wonderful friends.”
Making a difference at their alma mater
The Seigles’ love for U-M is reflected in the time they spend on campus each year with their friends, and throughout their lives and work. Seigle and his wife, Robin, are well known at the Ross School of Business for their philanthropic efforts via the Seigle Foundation, as well as their donations to Michigan Ross to help support the education of the next generation of Michigan Ross students.
They are the namesake of the Seigle Cafe, located in the Davidson Winter Garden within the main Ross building, as well as the Seigle Impact Track, a part of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies’ Michigan Business Challenge.
Seigle says there is no place like U-M, and he’s proud to be a BBA alum and support Michigan Ross to help students today have the same amazing lifelong bonds and opportunities he has had as an alum.
The value of a degree from Michigan Ross, he says, goes far beyond just business knowledge. Seigle credits his time at Michigan Ross with preparing him to nurture valuable relationships — both personal and professional.
“There’s something about having maize and blue blood. When you tell a story like this to others, they're just amazed that you're in touch with even one college friend. But when you tell them that this bond exists, that you’re still in touch with your whole group, many people say it's a U-M thing, it's something in the water,” Seigle said. “We're not the only ones, but I think it’s probably more common at U-M than most other schools. I'm fortunate that I went to U-M and have this bond.”
There’s some magic to being a U-M alum. The relationships are like riding a bicycle — you just get back on, and no matter how long it’s been, it feels like you saw each other yesterday when you get together.