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Kathleen ’81, & Charles ’81, Nemes

kathleen and charles nemes

Long family history with UDM brings alumni couple full circle back to UDM

For Kathleen ’81, and Charles ’81, Nemes, the University of Detroit Mercy is truly a family affair. Not only did they meet at UDM, (subsequently were married) and now have a son who is a current UDM student, they together have a long list of family members who, dating back to the 1920s, have their own history with the University.

Charles’ grandfather, John Snyder ’23, attended U of D, as did his father, Rudolph Nemes ’48. Rudolph received his Chemical Engineering degree from U of D and also met Charles’ mother, Mary Margaret (Synder), while in school.

Charles’ brother Dan ’72, graduated from U of D and his wife Anne ’73, from Mercy College. Currently, their daughter is enrolled at UDM, too.

Kathleen’s father, Tom Coles ’53, a retired hospital and medical administrator, is very happy with his academic choice.

“U of D worked out very well for me. I was the first in my family to attend and to graduate from there.” Coles said. “No doubt, my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to go to a Catholic school.”

Coles benefited personally, too. “I met Nancy, a Marygrove gal—and we married 55 years ago this coming June,” he said. “We have maintained good friendships with people we met during those early 1950 years.”  

Kathleen and Charles Nemes also became acquainted as students while at the University. “Charlie and I met while taking classes in the business program,” she said. “We are both CPAs, and he is also a CFP and senior vice president at Raymond James.”

Such is the family’s UDM involvement that surely influenced Kathleen and Charles Nemes to be this year’s sponsors for the University’s annual parent campaign.

Their son, Chris Nemes, currently a sophomore in the five-year undergraduate/MBA program, completes the Nemes family cycle.

“This is Chris’s second year living on campus, where he has met some very good friends from all around the country and Canada and really enjoys campus life,” Kathleen Nemes said.

Both parents enjoy seeing UDM through their son’s eyes. “We are happy and proud to have him attend our alma mater. I feel he is experiencing the best of all worlds by attending UDM,” Charles Nemes said. “Rigorous, experienced professors are challenging him, while at the same time, he is getting the personal attention students need to be successful.”

Sports were an added attraction for Chris, too. In addition to taking 18 credits this semester, Chris plays lacrosse for the Titans, the only Division I lacrosse team in Michigan.

“The Division I lacrosse team was a huge draw for him in selecting UDM,” Charles Nemes said. “However, he also liked the idea of smaller classes and the wide variety of degrees offered at the University.”

Chris Nemes agreed. “I knew that at a smaller school like UDM, I would be in an environment where I could stand out and succeed with hard work. Also, I could be a member of the pioneer lacrosse program here and help put UDM lacrosse on the map,” he said. “Most of all, it makes me proud to go to a school where I am a fourth generation.”

Chris’s experience has been outstanding.

“He often talks about his professors and how he likes having small classes where they get to know the students,” Kathleen Nemes said. “He said that he did not want to be ‘just a number’ in college. He knew that many freshman and sophomore classes at other universities are huge and that did not appeal to him.”

According to Chris’ grandfather, Tom Coles, he sees through his grandson’s experiences that the University’s focus remains consistent with his own.

“I am confident that the Jesuits will do all they can to provide a very good education to their students,” he said. “They have had that educational mission for a long time.”

Charles Nemes echoes his sentiments. “The Jesuits believe in service to others above self,” he said. “How many universities promote that today?”