Scholarships open doors to student achievement
A college education in the 21st century has become essential in providing students with a command of innovation, information and technology, paving the way for a successful career.
To ensure an accessible Jesuit and Mercy education at UDM, scholarships can make a significant difference. Often, scholarships can be the deciding factor in whether a student attends UDM. It also gives students peace of mind in being able to balance their studies with part-time work, and helps minimize or eliminate the need for student loans.
As a private university, University of Detroit Mercy is not supported by public funds, and therefore, tuition is higher. To ease tuition costs of approximately $30,000 per year, scholarships provide a welcome financial relief.
In the 2011-2012 school year, private scholarships supported 362 students from all UDM campuses based on academic merit and financial need.
Scholarship eases burden for health sciences student
Thomas (Tommy) Twardecki received assistance during his sophomore year from the Matt F. and Mary L. O’Grady Endowed Scholarship. “It was awesome, it took such a burden off,” he says.
A biology major, Twardecki landed the scholarship by applying in the Financial Aid office. His family experienced tuition challenges with two children in college. Twardecki now works part time at Calihan Hall in the Athletics marketing and promotions office. He is active on campus, exercising at the new Student Fitness Center – funded in part by donor contributions – and meeting with fellow students in study groups.
He met the scholarship donors Geraldine (Gerry) and Ralph O’Grady-Pershing at a UDM reception. (See related profile on Gerry O’Grady-Pershing.) He expressed his gratitude and told them about his plans to pursue the Physician Assistant program at UDM or attend podiatry school.
Scholarship for engineering students
The Sutaruk Foundation awards $100,000 per year to engineering students. It was established by the late Alex Sutaruk ‘51, who attended the University of Detroit on the G.I. bill. He had served in the Navy during
World War II.
An engineer at Eaton and Chrysler, Sutaruk had numerous patents in brakes and cooling systems, according to his sister Olga Sutaruk-Meyer, a trustee of the foundation. After retiring, he invested in real estate in California.
“He felt like he should give back to students,” says Sutaruk-Meyer. “He thought engineering is a great profession.”
The scholarship has been awarded to 57 students since it was established seven years ago. One former recipient is Norma Rebeca Espinoza-Soriano ’10, ’12, a native of Mexico and the first in her family to attend college. Her sister Barbara is currently a UDM student.
“My parents could not help me with tuition. The scholarship made a difference to my entire family,” she says. “When I heard that I got it, I felt like I had won the lottery.”
The funds enabled Espinoza-Soriano to “concentrate better in school.” A successful student, she did a co-op at General Motors and was a member of UDM’s Team Cerberus, which won the 2010 Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition. She served as president of the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and was a member of the UDM College of Engineering & Science Student Council. She recently completed a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at UDM while working as a design engineer at Denso.
These scholarships exemplify how financial support can ease the burden for students. The University’s Strategic Plan calls for increasing scholarship support for students as a priority for the next five years.