An uncommon education for the common man.
Said of the University by James Burrill Angell. See James J. Duderstadt, A University for the 21st Century (University of Michigan Press: 2000), p. 201.
University President James J. Duderstadt commented that: "If there is a particular phrase that captures the spirit of the university," it is this one. See Stephen James Nelson, Leaders in the Crucible: The Moral Voice of College Presidents (Greenwood: 2000), p. 126. It is said to be "the most celebrated phrase in University of Michigan lore," reflecting the "egalitarian notion that a student's merit," rather than wealth or connections, should govern. See David Halberstam, Defining a Nation: Our America and the Source of Its Strength (National Geographic: 2006), p. 108.