’55 graduate recalls his ‘criminal’ past

Ray and Dorothy LeBlanc recently held a reception for Detroit Mercy alumni who live in the Houston, Texas, area. Afterward, they chatted about their memories of their time on campus. For more memories, including how they fell in love and what life was like at University of Detroit in the 1950s, look for Spiritus, coming soon to a mailbox near you. Ray is retired former CEO of Keystone International.

There was that one time Raymond LeBlanc ’55 stole a car on campus.

Back in the 1950s, there was limited parking for students on campus. Cars were often parked bumper-to-bumper and the keys were left inside in case it needed to be moved.

“Every single car had keys in the ignition. In the five years I was there, only one care was stolen, and I stole it,” said LeBlanc. He said he was sent to the University of Detroit Law School in downtown Detroit to run an errand for the Dean of Men Father Edward “Nate” O’Connor. Not having his own car, a friend of his then girlfriend, Dorothy ’56, offered LeBlanc her blue Chevy, which was parked outside with the keys in it.

When he returned from the errand, another student was in then University President Father O’Connor’s office yelling about his stolen car—a blue Chevy. LeBlanc interrupted them and admitted his mistake.

He was quickly forgiven.

“Back in those days, things just weren’t stolen. You could leave your books anywhere and come back and they would still be there. It was a different era,” said LeBlanc.

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