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Alumni Profiles: UDM is a family affair

2003 Alumnus of the Year Keith B. Mayer ’74, is pleased that son Jason (left) also benefited from a UDM engineering degree.

Left to right: : Paul Shefferly ’75, and his son John.

The Hanifin family shows their Titan spirit. From left: daughter Jacqueline ’95, E&S Dean Leo Hanifin, ’69, ’72,’75, son-in-law Mike Pesci, ’97, ’99, wife Angie, daughter Sonya Hanifin Pesci ’98,’03, and son Leo D. ’05.

”Like father, like son or daughter” applies to a number of alumni whose children have followed them to UDM. Among the two-generation UDM families is that of recent Engineering Alumnus of the Year honoree Keith B. Mayer ’74. After earning a degree in Psychology at Michigan State University, son Jason ’02, earned a degree in Civil Engineering at UDM. Jason now works at Rochester Hills-based Giffels-Webster Engineers, Inc., where his father is president, chief executive officer and member of the Board of Directors. The senior Mayer joined the firm in 1983, having previously served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“UDM was a good fit for Jason,” says his father. “Even though engineering was a lot harder, he did better at UDM. Like me, he found that the instructors are absolutely committed not only to education but to making sure that all graduates are professionally, ethically and morally prepared to fulfill their roles in society.”

Current UDM Business Administration student John Shefferly was asked while attending Our Lady of Victory elementary school to draw a picture about his future. His sketch, according to his dad Paul Shefferly ’75, depicted Catholic Central High School and UDM, both of which Paul had attended. As time went on, so did John.

“John was accepted at several universities,” explains the senior Shefferly. “He liked UDM’s urban campus, its diversity and its commitment to community service. The ability to interface directly with professors and the low student-to-faculty ratio were also attractive. UDM is a good fit for John since he attended parochial schools and his strong faith is complemented well at UDM. And, I guess he saw that UDM gave me a good start and served me well.”

Currently Director of Vehicle Build in Product Development at DaimlerChrysler, Paul Shefferly has spent his career in a variety of divisions within the company, beginning as a coop student in 1972 and continuing full time after graduation in 1975. Representing DaimlerChrysler, he has served on the UDM Engineering & Science Advisory Council since early 2003 and is involved in recruiting and hiring graduating UDM engineers at DaimlerChrysler. He and wife Deborah also have a daughter Megan.

Engineering & Science Dean Leo Hanifin ’69, ’72, ’75, also heads a two-generation UDM family. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, a master’s degree and a DE at UDM. Then he saw his three children follow him to campus. Daughter Jacqueline graduated in Communications Studies; daughter Sonya, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education, now teaches at a Catholic school in Southfield; and son Leo D. is in his last term in the Electronic Critique program.

The UDM spirit is well represented among these family ties.