UDM's Valedictorian Strives to Be a Leader in Business

Jonathan Sanders

The Current, Summer 2002 issue

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As an undergraduate, Class of 2002 valedictorian Jonathan Sanders was extremely active in service and leadership. He was president of the Business Student Advisory Board, which helps sponsor Alumni Week among other events. He was a member of Beta Alpha Psi (national accounting, finance, and information systems fraternity) and Beta Gamma Sigma (the Business and Management honor society), Vice President of Alpha Sigma Nu (the National Jesuit honor society). He was involved with University Ministry, assisted with Visit Days and recruitment for the Admissions office, participated in intramural athletics, and served with the national JUSTICE program.

Because of his extensive service activities, including founding a prayer and discussion group, helping plan and promote retreats, leading a spring break service project, and acting as a Eucharistic Minister, Sanders has received the Magis Award, presented by the Jesuit 100 Association to those members of the community who worked to enhance the Catholic identity of the University of Detroit Mercy (see separate article).

Sanders, who participated in DaimlerChrysler's national internship program for two years, has had a place in the automaker's three-year Management Training program waiting for him for two full semesters. He'll start in July. He also plans to pursue an MBA.

Now that he is an alumnus of the College of Business Administration, Sanders says he will stay involved at UDM. "I know that my working schedule will probably be hectic, but keeping in touch with the University will be a top priority," he says. He has already been offered membership in the College of Business Administration Alumni Board Association, and he will continue to help with planning for the fourth annual Alumni Week. In addition, he intends to continue speaking at Visit Days and Scholarship Weekends.

In his remarks at commencement on May 11, Sanders addressed how he and his classmates have lived, and will continue to embody, the UDM mission.

Moving Forward

Over the course of our studies, whether graduate or undergraduate, part time or full time, we have matured as University of Detroit Mercy students. We have moved through these years as if riding a bicycle--pedaling and pumping, moving forward and forward. Sure, we have fallen, but time after time we have gotten back up, and now we are here. We have made it to the end.

The University of Detroit Mercy mission states that "A UDM education seeks to integrate the intellectual, spiritual, ethical, and social development of students." Now you may ask yourself, "What does the UDM mission mean to me?" Well, let us think back over our years at UDM and, instead of wondering how the mission has affected us, let us think about how we have lived the mission. Intellectually, we have been pushed, yet have pushed back. We have been challenged through our courses and through the personal standards that we have set for ourselves. We have been exposed to a well-rounded Jesuit and Mercy education, as well as education specific to our particular concentrations and professions.

Socially and ethically, we as students exert this University's single greatest characteristic--diversity. Each one of us is unique, dynamic, diverse, and capable of making a difference. We have been a part of fraternities, sororities, social clubs, college honor societies, service projects, class projects, and have grown together as classmates. We have played sports, whether varsity or intramural, and have attended games showing our school spirit. We have lived either on campus or commuted, attended courses part time or full time, daytime or in the evenings, and have ultimately made life-long friendships--many of whom you are sitting next to at this very same moment.

Spiritually, we have respectfully expressed of our various faiths, no matter what they may be. As an entire University, we have conducted ourselves in a responsible and exemplary manner, and have done so as a UDM family guided by the ethical principles of the Jesuit and Mercy traditions.

Now I pose the question: Where do we go from here? Unfortunately, our job as a UDM student is not done, and probably never will be done. Now, we must move into the next phase of our lives as if riding that bicycle, pedaling and pumping moving forward and forward. We must continue to seek, integrate, and balance the intellectual, social, ethical, and spiritual aspects of our lives, and we must do so, not as students of the University of Detroit Mercy, but as students of life. Use what you have learned here at UDM to positively affect, influence, and change the lives of others the best way you know how.

So I say to you, be the next architect, businessman or businesswoman. Be the next dentist, nurse, teacher, or professor. Be the next social worker, actor, engineer, doctor, lawyer, or psychologist. Be the next stay-at-home mother, or stay-at-home father. Be whatever it is that you want to be, but do it to make a difference, because whether you know it or not, you as a University of Detroit Mercy graduate, possess the ability to make a difference. Never be afraid to take risks or challenge yourself, but always do the best you can with what you have.

So let us do now as we did just two days after September 11th in this building [Calihan Hall]. Let us Celebrate Spirit. Let us celebrate our diversity. Let us celebrate our accomplishment of graduating. Let us celebrate each other. Most importantly, let us celebrate this day. Congratulations graduates: you deserve this day!

University of Detroit Mercy. UDM Mission Statement
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