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$1 million gift from alumnus helps University of Detroit Mercy create innovative engineering center for students

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August 10, 2016

University of Detroit Mercy’s new Center for Automotive Systems Engineering Education (CASEE) has received a major boost with a $1 million gift from William L. Kozyra (Class of 1980), July 20.

“There is no doubt in my mind that today I have a fabulous career and life as a result of the great education I received at University of Detroit Mercy,” Kozyra said. “I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I can thank the school and help the school provide to other young adults the educational opportunities and the life opportunities I received.”

Kozyra is the chairman, chief executive officer and president of Auburn Hills-based TI Automotive, an automotive supplier with more than 125 locations in 28 countries.

This gift is an important and significant investment in the future of the University and the type of education Kozyra believes the University will provide for tomorrow’s engineers, said Dean of the College of Engineering & Science Gary Kuleck.

“We are very thankful to Bill Kozyra for his generous donation to Detroit Mercy,” said University President Antoine M. Garibaldi. “His gift will not only advance our engineering program’s tradition of academic excellence, but also prepare our students for the kinds of leadership roles he has held in his field.”

“The Center represents a new chapter in the 105-year history of the College of Engineering & Science at Detroit Mercy,” Kuleck said. “Preparation of students for professional careers has always been the principal focus of the University’s engineering programs, but this center is a bold, innovative step forward.”

He added: “The creation of this state-of-the-art experiential learning facility will further expand opportunities for student engagement. CASEE introduces our undergraduate students to the vital area of systems engineering to better prepare them for the complexity of engineering projects and design at the earliest stages of their careers.”

The University has partnered with Ford Motor Co., GM Corp., DENSO North America Foundation and many others to equip the Center with cutting-edge technologies that students will use for research and design work. The center will be embedded into a reimagining of the engineering curriculum.

The 5,200-square-foot Center is designed to foster student teamwork on collaborative projects including competitive vehicle design, robotics and autonomous vehicle development. It will also allow undergraduate and graduate students to participate in faculty-mentored research projects, Kuleck said. Additional funding came from corporations, foundations and University of Detroit Mercy alumni.

Students will begin using the Center when school starts in August; the University will have an official dedication on Sept. 30, 2016, as part of Detroit Mercy’s Homecoming weekend.

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