Hamilton J. Robichaud

The revised biography of Hamilton J. Robichaud in full, from April 24, 1967.

 

Hamilton J. Robichaud, a native of the Upper Peninsula, was born in Crystal Falls, Michigan. As a child, he moved to Iron River and graduated from Iron River High School in 1927. He first attended Northern in the fall of 1928-1929. Robichaud was the captain of both the freshman football and basketball teams. With his leadership, the football team took home victories against Michigan Tech twice, and managed to defeat the upperclassmen. The freshman basketball team in 1928-29 finished with a 4-2 record.

Robichaud left Northern after his freshman year, but returned in 1931. He lettered in football during his sophomore year and played in the college band under the direction of Conway Peters. The necessity of earning his own way through school forced him to work during the remainder of his college career. It was during this time that he organized his own dance band playing the majority of the fraternity and sorority affairs and also at the various hotels and dance halls in and around Marquette and other cities in the Upper Peninsula. In addition, he was a regular custodian and painter at the college.

During his senior year, he was elected class president. He graduated in 1934 with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in history and English with a minor in biological science and geography.

Following his graduation, he assumed the superintendency of Spalding Township Schools in Powers-Spalding, Michigan and remained there until 1942. While at Powers, he taught mathematics, history, civics and general science. In addition, he coached basketball for several years. He was responsible for establishing several completely new areas of study in commercial fields, general shop, home economics, along with the establishment of the school district’s first library.

Robichaud earned his masters of arts degree in school administration at the University of Michigan in 1941. In 1942, he accepted the superintendency of District No. 8 of Dearborn Township Public Schools where he remained until 1953. At the beginning of his administrative assignment, the district operated three small schools with 22 teachers serving approximately 800 students from kindergarten to 9th grade.

During his tenure, Robichaud organized a high school program and had charge of constructing a secondary school and several elementary schools. He worked with the Federal Government to obtain funds for both construction and maintenance purposes. Overall, the district grew immensely under Robichaud, increasing enrollment from 800 to 2800 and staff from 22 to 90 teaching and 30 non-teaching positions.

Robichaud later accepted a position as the assistant superintendent of Wyandotte Public Schools where he oversaw nine million dollars in school construction and 85 non-teaching employees including skilled tradesmen, custodians and cafeteria employees. In 1955 he left Wyandotte to return to District No. 8 of Dearborn Township Schools. He retained this position until 1961 when he accepted a position as an Associate Professor of Education and Director of Student Teaching at the University of Detroit.

From 1955-61, Robichaud was responsible for $5.5 million in school construction, including the Hamilton J. Robichaud High School, which was indeed the most significant honor bestowed upon him. By 1961 the enrollment of 5,300 students in District No. 8 was accommodated in seven units, including the new high school, a junior high school and five elementary units. The instructional and administrative staff had increased to 171.The problems that accompanied such a rapid growth were numerous and difficult. In spite of circumstances, Robichaud gave the type of leadership which produced an educational program that equipped students with the knowledge and techniques needed for them to take their respective places as citizens in society at the time.

The huge task of planning the educational facilities for the increasing enrollment involved the construction of five new buildings and nine other major additions and adjacent structures. Robichaud played a prominent role in directing the design and construction of these buildings. The leadership he gave in making necessary contacts and promotion whereby the school district was able to qualify for approximately $1.3 million in Federal aid for construction and maintenance purposes was of significant importance.

In his position at the University of Detroit, he worked with young people in the field of education. As the Director of Student Teaching, he was responsible for counseling 400-600 prospective teachers and placing them in their student teaching districts each year. As the Assistant Director of the Division of Education at the university, he was involved in matters pertaining to curriculum, course requirements and changes and in the day to day operations of the department. Robichaud also taught graduate courses in school administration, finance, law and school planning and construction. He was also a consultant for an architectural firm in the greater Detroit area.

Robichaud sat on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Association for Student Teaching, and was a member of the Association for Student Teaching, American Association of School Administrators, Michigan Association for Higher Education, American Health Association, president of the Wayne County Superintendents Association, member of the Inkster Interracial Council, charter president of the Westwood Rotary Club, member of the Dearborn Rotary Club, member of Phi Delta Kappa, Omega Chapter, University of Michigan(^2 Professional association for educators.) and sat on the Board of Directors of the Wayne Out County Teachers Credit Union. He was also the president of the Metropolitan Detroit Alumni Association of Northern Michigan University and one of the founders of the organization.


Mr. Robichaud passed away April 11, 1986.
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