Congratulations, Class of 2023!

Graduates smile and celebrate wearing University of Detroit Mercy robes inside of Calihan Hall.

On behalf of the entire Detroit Mercy community, congratulations to the Class of 2023!

Find photos for each commencement ceremony and watch replays of the ceremonies on YouTube.

Vivere ex Missione Awards

The Vivere ex Missione (Living the Mission) awards are presented each year to four graduating students whose time at University of Detroit Mercy was marked by leadership, service and scholarship. Nominations are made by students, staff and faculty and the awardees are chosen by a committee of staff and faculty. Read more about the 2023 Winners:

  • Jorge Reyna, Jr., Undergraduate
  • Ejiroghene Orhorhoro, Graduate
  • Oliver Daniel, School of Dentistry
  • Emily Elmer, School of Law

Commencement Live Stream Replays

Undergraduate Ceremony

School of Dentistry Ceremony

School of Law Ceremony

Commencement Student Profiles

Kara Wolfbauer

Kara Wolfbauer stands outdoors on a softball field holding her glove and smiling. Beyond her is a scoreboard, fence, trees, cars and buildings on a sunny day. Kara Wolfbauer isn’t going to remember every detail of her college experience, however, Detroit Mercy's Class of 2023 Valedictorian will remember exactly how the University made her feel.

Read full story on Wolfbauer

Trey Hester

Trey Hester sits in a chair at a dental clinic, ready to work.
As a child, Trey Hester was bullied for having a misalignment with his teeth and had to wear braces for four years to fix it. His own dental work sparked his interest in dentistry.

Read full story on Hester

Kirstin Finnila

Kirstin Finnila sits on a bench outside of the Engineering Building on UDM’s McNichols Campus.
Kirstin Finnila has balanced puppies and studies as a Civil Engineering student at UDM. She is known to do her homework while sitting with the puppies in their pen.

Read full story on Finnila

Keagan Tremel

Keagan Tremel poses for a photo in front of a palm tree on a beach. When Keagan Tremel walks across the commencement stage to pick up her diploma, it will be an especially important accomplishment. Not very long ago, she was told she may never walk again.

Read full story on Tremel

Angel Mangham

Angel Mangham stands at a podium inside of a classroom, wearing University of Detroit Mercy commencement cap and gown. Angel Mangham has made her mark at Detroit Mercy and within the School of Architecture & Community Development. As president of the school’s chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, she works to amplify the voices of Black architects.

Read full story on Mangham

Matthew Snyder

Matthew Snyder holds his Law Review nameplate, which displays his name and title of editor-in-chief.

Even after rising to a vice president position in the financial world, Matthew Snyder’s childhood dream of attending law school tugged at his heart. After a detour of nearly a decade, he is ready to take on the legal world.

Read full story on Snyder

Ryan Birney

Ryan Birney stands inside of the Commerce and Finance Building Ryan Birney joins his three older siblings in graduating from the University when he crosses the Calihan Hall stage to receive his Business Administration degree on Saturday. All four starred in lacrosse at Detroit Mercy.

Read full story on Birney

Commencement Programs

Graduate, Undergrad Ceremony

A red, white and blue cover for the University of Detroit Mercy Commencement, Saturday, May 13, 2023, Calihan Hall on the McNichols Campus. A UDM crest is also featured.

Law Ceremony

The first page of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Commencement 2023 program, featuring a crest on the red and blue cover.

Commencement Speakers

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    Graduate and Undergraduate Commencement Speaker: JoAnn Chávez , Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, DTE

    joAnn Chavez headshotJoAnn Chávez is senior vice president and chief legal officer for DTE Energy. She is responsible for the management and strategic direction of DTE’s office of the general counsel and she advises DTE’s board of directors and senior management on legal and related matters. She also oversees ethics and compliance, corporate security, corporate emergency management and tax. She has been with the company since 2007. 

    Prior to joining DTE, Chávez served as an international tax partner for KPMG LLP. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Juris Doctor from the University of Notre Dame. 

    A strong advocate for young people, Chávez founded the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative (MiHC), a nonprofit that focuses on economic equity and provides opportunities for first-generation Hispanic students, like herself, to graduate from college.  

    Chávez serves on the boards of directors for the DTE Energy Foundation, the Cristo Rey Network and the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute boards of directors. She also sits on the Notre Dame Law School and the University of Michigan School of Education Advisory Councils. She is the past chairwoman of the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and was appointed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the state of Michigan Women’s Commission. 


    School of Dentistry Speaker: Barbara Purifoy-Seldon ’70, ’73

    barbara seldon headshotBarbara Purifoy-Seldon '70, '73, is a distinguished academic and community leader, who started her journey at Cass Technical High School in Detroit in 1961.

    She served in the U.S. Army until 1964 and became the University of Detroit’s first black alumna in dental hygiene. Her commitment to diversity led her to help develop the University’s diversity philosophy and provide diversity training to faculty, staff and students.

    Seldon earned multiple UDM faculty excellence awards and is a notable figure in dentistry, holding various leadership positions and appointments in professional dental organizations, the Michigan State Board of Dentistry and the Northeast Reginal Board of Dental Examiners.

    She is dedicated to promoting diversity, inclusion and peace and has served in leadership roles for many community initiatives, including the MLK Task Force, Inc. Her innovative traveling exhibition, "Pathways to Freedom," chronicles the experiences of slaves who traveled to Mexico for their independence and contributed significantly to the inclusion of Afro-Mexicans on the country's census in 2020.

    Seldon uses her community involvement to encourage future generations, regularly visiting Detroit's middle and high schools to promote dentistry careers.


    School of Law Speaker: The Hon. Michelle Rick '91 Michigan Court of Appeals

    michelle rick headshotThe Honorable Michelle Rick '91 was elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals bench in November 2020 and represents the 4th Judicial District. She served as a trial judge for the 29th Circuit Court from 2007-20. Rick worked briefly as a private practitioner before transitioning to a career in public service. That service included working as an assistant prosecutor, a senior assistant attorney general for the State of Michigan, and deputy legal counsel to Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.   

    She serves as an adjunct professor at Detroit Mercy Law. In 2019, Rick launched a traveling expungement clinic with the Detroit Mercy Law clinical program. Project Access visited six rural northern Michigan counties, helping residents with the process of expunging convictions. In 2020, the State Bar of Michigan awarded Rick the Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award for this project. 

    Rick is a district director for the National Association of Women Judges. In 2022, she was awarded the Vaino Spencer Leadership Award by the group. 

    She is an officer of the Michigan Judges Association and a member of the State Bar of Michigan Judicial Council, a member of the Michigan Bar Association Limited Scope Representation work group, and she serves as an advisor to the State Bar Affordable Legal Services committee. Judge Rick is also a committee member of the State Bar Corrections and Prisons section.

Socials and Staying Connected

Share photos and videos on social media by tagging @detmercy on Twitter or Instagram and using #DetroitMercy2023.

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Congratulations, Class of 2023 and GO TITANS!


Photos of graduates, celebrating and smiling inside of Calihan Hall during 2023 commencement.