August 19, 2016

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy faculty, staff and students gather in the Student Fitness Center for the annual "Celebrate Spirit!" event. This longstanding tradition is a symbol of the beginning of the new academic year and will include a worship service for all faiths, picnic lunch, and student organization fair.

Celebrate SpiritThe Mass of the Holy Spirit service will take place on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Fitness Center, presided by Rev. Gerald Cavanagh, S.J., welcoming all people to ask God’s blessing on the new school year. Homily will be by Rev. Phil Cooke, S.J., Director of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration.

Following this year’s program, "Competence, Compassion and Conscience," the guest speaker will be Crystal Windham '02, Director of interior Design, General Motors Corp. 

Windham earned a bachelor’s degree from the College for Creative Studies and an MBA in 2002 from the University of Detroit Mercy’s College of Business Administration. She is the first African-American woman to have become a Director of Design at General Motors, where she has designed the interior of Cadillacs and Chevrolet passenger cars and small SUVs, including the Impala, Malibu, G6 coupe, and other models.

She also spent a year on assignment at the GM Europe Design studio in Germany, where she worked on the Opel. In her spare time, she has served as a mentor for College of Business Administration students, as well as a member of the College’s Alumni Board and its Board of Advisors.

Windham’s work and community service have been widely recognized by the industry. Her awards include the 2013 Urban Wheel Designer of the Year, the Emerging Leader Award from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s Global Automotive Summit, and inclusion among the 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry by Automotive News.

Following her talk, the University community will gather for a picnic and student organization fair around the Fisher Fountain from 1 to 3:30 p.m.  Classes will resume at 2:30 p.m.

"Celebrate Spirit!" gathers the entire University community together to rededicate everyone to Detroit Mercy’s mission, to renew friendships and to welcome new friends. The yearly event is part of a religious tradition that dates back to the great European universities in the Middle Ages who celebrated the new school year. 

This event’s activities are open to the entire University of Detroit Mercy community. All are encouraged to attend and receive inspiration as we recommit ourselves to living the University’s mission in the city of Detroit.