I begin by expressing thanksgiving and excitement on the election of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit elected to serve as the Bishop of Rome, and I believe those feelings are shared by many alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the University. UDM has received much favorable attention and interest because of our Jesuit heritage; and it has given alumni and University Community members the opportunity to talk about UDM’s Jesuit and Mercy Mission with a larger and very interested audience. My hope is that Pope Francis will shine an even brighter light on Catholic education across the world during his papacy.
As approximately 1,000 graduating students are days away from receiving their UDM degrees at the May 2013 commencements, it is a good time to recall another fast-paced year of the University’s activities and accomplishments. Just like last year, we celebrated the centennial of another one of our highly regarded academic divisions, the School of Law. And only a few weeks later, the George J. Asher Law Clinic Center was formally opened. The new Center will give the School of Law faculty and students more space to assist even more community clients through its 10 pro bono law clinics, which are 48 years old and have a reputation as distinctive as the School of Law.
Next school year, we will recognize the centennial of UDM’s Department of Education and also the 50th anniversary of the School of Architecture. UDM’s School of Architecture is the only one in all of the 28 Jesuit and 16 Mercy colleges and universities. And in late September, we will be welcoming back alumni who are some of the world’s most renowned architects. As more milestones are celebrated, please join us so that you can share your success with us and alumni in your respective fields. From the many conversations and meetings I have had with alumni locally and around the country, I know that you are proud of and attribute your professional and personal success to the well-rounded Jesuit and Mercy education you received at University of Detroit, Mercy College and/or University of Detroit Mercy.
UDM students are demonstrating their academic and athletic abilities and their individual and collective commitment to service through their studious efforts and volunteer activities locally and around the country. In March, 650 students were recognized at the annual Honors Convocations of their respective schools and colleges with awards for their scholastic achievements. With the assistance of the University Ministry Office, 30 students participated in weeklong Alternative Spring Break trips in March in Chicago, Detroit, Sacramento, Salem, W.Va., and Tuscaloosa. Our students volunteer for these service trips, which have a profound impact on them personally and spiritually, while also giving them experiences that others live every day. Many thanks to all of you who have underwritten the costs of some of these trips so that more UDM students can participate in them.
Our student-athletes have also performed well in the classroom and in their respective team sports. In January, 221 student-athletes (69%) who earned GPAs of 3.0 in the Fall 2012 semester were recognized and placed on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. And 115 (39%) of all UDM student-athletes earned GPA’s of 3.5. Our students were equally as successful in their athletic contests. Both the Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams won their regular season titles; the Women’s Basketball team won the Women’s Basketball Invitational; the Men’s Basketball Team was selected for the NIT; and Titan Doug Anderson won the Denny’s Slam Dunk Competition at the 2013 Final Four events.
If you have seen the UDM Strategic Plan: 2012 -2017, you will note that the fifth goal is “Amplify the University’s Dynamic Strategic Engagement.” The valuable contributions to the December 2012 Detroit Future City report by the School of Architecture’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center, which will be 20 years old next year, is the best and most recent example of how the University lives out that goal as it helps to plan the city’s strategic future. Similarly, over the last two years we have initiated numerous meetings with representatives of the city, state, economic development agencies, and foundations to demonstrate our intent to play a more pivotal role in strengthening the neighborhoods of our three campuses. Within the next few months, I look forward to sharing the details of a major collaborative initiative that will enhance the surrounding area of the McNichols Campus, particularly along Livernois Avenue from the Lodge Freeway to McNichols Avenue. This project may be the catalyst for a revival of more businesses and home owners around the campus.
The University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign is picking up momentum, due to many alumni establishing endowed student scholarships. Thank you for those contributions; and please remember that if you begin or add to your existing scholarship, it will be matched with an additional 50 percent donation through the generous $1 million pledge from the Stange Charitable Trust. This UDM Michigan Scholars Endowment program will allow us to recruit more highly talented Michigan students who will obtain their degrees from UDM.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Spiritus, and thank you for your continued generosity to and support of the University.
Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D.President