Michael was born on December 5, 1951 in Detroit, Michigan. His father, a sergeant for the Detroit police department, served as a role model for dignity and caring. His mother, a nurse, had the love and patience to raise four boys. Following high school, Michael set a course for himself in Architecture at Lawrence Institute of Technology. While there, he found he had an aptitude for mathematics and a talent for painting. Encouraged by his painting instructors, he pursued an arts program at Mercy College in Detroit. With a minor in mathematics he merged these dual studies into a teaching career, of which he is now retired.