Alumnus turns history degree into a career of public service
Larry Glazer came to Wayne State University by accident. He planned to attend the University of Michigan, but when appendicitis struck him, his doctors suggested that he recover closer to home. Glazer came to WSU and majored in history, where his uncle, Sidney Glazer, was a professor. Larry quickly developed an appreciation for the study of history, as well as the chair of the department at the time, Alfred Kelly.
In fact, Glazer considers Kelly one of his greatest inspirations. “Alfred Kelly was a terrific teacher, expert on constitutional law, and carried himself with dignity and respect,” said Glazer.
Glazer’s experience in the history department directed him toward a career in law. After graduating from Wayne State, Glazer made good on his intention to study at the University of Michigan, where he earned a law degree in 1968.
His first job after graduating from U-M was as a speechwriter for Attorney General Frank Kelley while Glazer was preparing for the bar exam. Glazer passed his exam and served as Assistant Attorney General for seven years. He then went on to serve as a key legal advisor to Governor James Blanchard. Glazer’s career in public service also included fifteen years as a circuit judge for the State of Michigan, where he presided over criminal, civil, and divorce trials.
Glazer believes his time at Wayne State prepared him for a diverse career. “My careers in law and the judiciary benefited from having learned and internalized the rules of scholarly history writing ("'historiography"), which are quite similar to the courtroom rules of evidence. My career in politics benefited because much of the history we studied included examples of both wise and unwise public leadership and their consequences; politics is public leadership. But the greatest value of my WSU education was learning to think critically, which improves one's whole life!"
In 2011, Glazer added “author” to his list of many accomplishments when he published Wounded Warrior. The book chronicles the rise and fall of former Michigan Governor and Supreme Court Justice John Swainson. Wounded Warrior has won numerous awards, including the Independent Publisher 2011 Gold Medal for biography, and "Michigan Notable Book" for 2011 by the Library of Michigan. In addition to Wounded Warrior, Glazer also writes a monthly column for Dome, a nonpartisan policy organization.
Glazer has certainly left his mark on Michigan’s political history. His advice to current students is to “take a class in a subject that is outside your comfort zone.” He suggests that exploring the unknown is a good way to prepare for life beyond college.