Anne Larin '74
Alumna traces exceptional career to education and scholarship
Learning how to be a critical thinker—with a foundation forged by outstanding professors at University of Detroit—has enabled attorney Anne Larin ’74, to excel in a multi-faceted career.
One of the factors that helped Larin succeed at U of D was a scholarship. “I received a State of Michigan scholarship and a Fr. Hugh Smith scholarship. That made all the difference in the world to me—that the University would help support my studies,” she says. “They invested in me, and I invest in the University of Detroit Mercy. It’s very important to support the students who go there now. I have a responsibility to do what I can.”
After earning a B.A. in history and art history at U of D and completing graduate studies at the University of Delaware, Larin began working at a museum in upstate New York. That quiet life wasn’t quite what she had in mind. “I wanted something that was ‘real world’,” she says.
When her younger sister began to study law, Anne decided to follow suit. After graduating with a law degree from University of Michigan, she moved to Pasadena, Calif., and worked six years for a private law firm. Despite the city’s Midwestern feel, she never really felt at home.
Returning to her roots in Detroit was made possible by a job offer at General Motors in 1990. At the automaker, she found a career that matched her exceptional skills and interests. In spring 2009, when the world’s dominant automaker began spiraling toward bankruptcy, Larin not only held onto her job amidst a major downsizing—she advanced. Now, she is corporate secretary to the G.M. Board of Directors.
Having specialized in corporate governance as a lawyer, she is thriving in her new position. She notes, “This is a great opportunity to see how a board works to transform a company’s culture.”
The skills that she applies on the job today were rooted in her undergraduate degree. “Being able to write clearly is an indispensable skill. I have to write short memos and e-mails to clients to explain the law in such a way that can be easily understood despite legal complexities.
“My freshman year at U of D, I took an expository writing class and had to write a weekly 1,000-word essay, then meet with the professor (Dr. McDonald) to discuss it. That improved my writing skills. My history professors taught me to read critically, weighing sources and commentary. These abilities can be applied to any field.”
When Larin first began at U of M Law School, surrounded by Ivy League graduates, she was concerned about being able to keep up with them. For one test early on, she was both amazed and proud that she had the best score in the class. “I found that my education was every bit as good as theirs,” she says.
While she doesn’t recall the names of all her U of D professors, she does remember Professor Francis Arlinghaus’ entertaining lectures about Europe in the early 20th century. She also absorbed the teaching of Professor Norbert Gossman and his mastery of English history.
A member of the President’s Cabinet, Larin has also given back to UDM as an adjunct professor at the law school, a post that she would like to resume when time permits.
“A lot of the students at UDM law school are the first generation of their families obtaining a degree. They bring a sense of freshness and excitement,” Larin says.
That same spirit of exploration and excitement is still alive today on the UDM campus. The faculty and students embrace the collegiate setting where close friendships and mentorships are formed.