UDM to honor alumni with Achievement Award, April 11
This spring, University of Detroit Mercy will host the inaugural University-wide celebration, "Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Awards," on Friday, April 11, 2014. The new event will honor a distinguished alumnus/a from each college/school with an Alumni Achievement Award. Frederick (Fred) Seibert ‘70, ‘73, is the award recipient from the College of Liberal Arts & Education.
“Education lays the foundation for success” is a tenet of Fred Seibert, a successful CEO who received his high school diploma from U of D High School (now U of D Jesuit High School) and his undergraduate and graduate degrees from University of Detroit.
He is an avid supporter of both the University and high school. He met his wife Suzanne at U of D, and they married in 1969. Financially strapped as newlyweds, Seibert received a loan from his U of D fraternity to complete his Liberal Arts degree in 1970. He returned to the University to earn an MBA in 1973 while working full time at Ford Motor Co.
He credits his education and good decisions with helping him advance in the workplace. "I don't think that I'd be anywhere without my MBA,” he said. “At that time, the MBA degree was just coming into the mainstream. Large companies were looking at people with these degrees for future management positions. I knew that if I wanted to differentiate myself, this degree would be important.”
In 1974, Seibert was recruited by Rockwell International Automotive, where he was later promoted to materials manager and transferred to Illinois. He returned to Ford Motor Company in 1977 as materials planning manager, and also returned to Michigan.
In 1981, Seibert received an offer to work for Smith Oil Tool Co. as director of International Planning and Manufacturing in California. The couple moved across the country with their three young teens.
Three years later, Seibert joined Preece Inc., and worked his way to become president in 1991. Founded in 1961, Preece Inc. started by making fluid and pneumatic components for aeronautics and other industries. It became a full service manufacturer by producing custom manufactured hose assemblies and allied products. Seibert became the owner and CEO of the company in 2000, and led the company’s growth. Today, Preece fluid and pneumatic related components are used extensively in defense programs and the commercial aerospace market.
Those lean years at U of D stuck with Seibert philosophically, and he and his wife committed to paying it forward for today’s deserving but financially struggling students. Longtime supporters of the University, the Seiberts made a gift in 2010 to establish an endowed fund for the "Frederick and Suzanne Seibert Scholarship."
"Most scholarships are for freshmen," Seibert said. “Yet, there's not a lot of scholarship money available for upperclass students.” Recipients of the Seibert Scholarship must be juniors or seniors in good academic standing, citizens or permanent residents of the United States, and in financial need.
He notes that while his career has reached its pinnacle, it’s rewarding to help others who are just starting out.
Other 2014 award recipients are:
- School of Architecture – Philip Kinsella ’58, Architect & Managing Principal, KRJDA, LLC Architects
- College of Business Administration – Emil Brolick ’69, ’72, President & CEO, The Wendy’s Company
- School of Dentistry – John DiBiaggio, D.D.S. ’58, Former President Tufts University, Michigan State University, University of Connecticut
- College of Engineering & Science – William C. Young, ’64, CEO, Absopure Water Co. and Plastipak Group, Chairman, Clean Tech, Inc.
- College of Health Professions – Nancy Susick MSN, RN ’86, Senior Vice President, Beaumont Health System and President, Beaumont Hospital, Troy
- School of Law – Brian Zahra ’87, Justice, Michigan Supreme Court