Naming Opportunities: Detroit Mercy Law


The Courtyard

*click photo to enlargerendering of possible courtyard - click to enlarge

The Courtyard is the front door to Detroit Mercy Law.

We want to infuse a new sense of energy, warmth and pride in the courtyard. The renovation will transform the space into a park-like setting where students, faculty, staff and the community – including parishioners of the Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church – can study, reflect and connect with each other in the middle of Detroit.

Each year, hundreds of community members come through the courtyard to enter our front doors. They come to attend lectures and religious events, participate in panel discussions for students, serve as adjuncts, moot court judges and guest lecturers. It is also a frequent entrance to the Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. The space could become a community-centered location we want to share, and be embraced by attorneys, law firms and others around metro-Detroit.

*click photos to enlarge
law rendering of gate area - click to enlarge rendering of possible courtyard - click to enlarge


Increasing scholarship funds will help attract and retain the most promising and diverse students, and decrease their dependence on loans, which will allow them to follow their passion in practicing law. Endowing a scholarship is a way to honor a person and ensure that funding is available in perpetuity; expendable scholarships provide immediate assistance to current students. Both types of financial help are necessary to help keep our students focused on their legal education.

Endowed scholarship funds may be established with a minimum gift of $25,000 and may be paid over a three- to five-year timeframe. We also invite you to consider making a gift to one of these established endowed scholarship funds.

Donate to the campaign

Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship Fund

In March 2019, the Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association launched its inaugural endowed scholarship fund. All 25 members of the Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association Board of Directors made a gift to the new fund, reaching their initial fundraising goal of $100,000 within the first few weeks of the launch.

Gregory Thiess ’79, chair of the Alumni Association Fundraising Committee, looks forward to increasing this endowed scholarship fund over the next three years and doubling the goal to $200,000 – hoping additional alumni will want to make an impact on students’ lives.

David Williams II ’82 and Gail Carr Williams ’83 Endowed Scholarship Fund

Under the leadership of Judge Terrance Keith ’84, the Detroit Mercy Law Association of Black Law Alumni was established in May 2020 to serve as a voice and mentoring organization for black law alumni and current students at Detroit Mercy Law. One of ABLA’s priorities is to raise $1 million for the David Williams II ’82 and Gail Carr Williams ’83 Endowed Scholarship Fund for black law students.

44% of Detroit Mercy
Law students receive scholarships
75% of our
students are the first in their family to attend law school.
The average law school debt of our
20,000 hours
of free legal assistance given by Detroit Mercy Law every year.


Expanding the resources available to our clinics will allow us to better serve those in need in our communities and strengthen the practical training our students receive. Our 11 law clinics serve thousands of clients each year, providing free legal services to low- or no income individuals. The Detroit community was in desperate need of our clinic’s legal services before the COVID-19 pandemic, and we anticipate a growing need in response to this public health crisis that has profoundly impacted our communities

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    Volunteer Campaign Steering Committee


    Meghan Kennedy Riordan ’90
    Kitch, Drutchas, Wagner, Valitutti & Sherbrook PC
    Detroit, Mich.

    James (Jim) Tamm ’85
    Kerr, Russell and Weber, PLC
    Detroit, Mich.

    Committee Members

    Marylin Atkins ’80
    Retired Judge, Author
    Detroit, Mich.

    Maura D. Corrigan ’73
    Former Justice and Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court
    Of Counsel Butzel Long PC
    Detroit, Mich.

    Eugene (Gene) Gargaro ’67
    Trustee of University of Detroit Mercy
    President, Richard & Jane Manoogian Foundation 
    Taylor, Mich.

    Kristina Robinson Garrett ’10
    36th District Court Judge 
    Detroit, Mich.

    Matthew (Matt) Guinta, AIA, ’08 Architecture
    Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church Representative
    Detroit, Mich.

    Terrance Keith ’84
    Judge, Wayne County Probate Court
    Detroit, Mich.

    Desiree Marks 1994 -CPA, MBA, JD ’14
    Fund-Raising Chair for the ABLA Board
    Senior Financial Analyst at Financial Assurance
    Corporate Region – GM
    Detroit, Mich.

    Gregory (Greg) G. Thiess ’79
    Former V.P., Secretary and General Counsel
    Carus L.L.C.
    Peru, Ill.

    Michelle D. Johnson Tidjani ’98
    Sr. V. P., General Counsel and Corp Secretary
    Henry Ford Hospital
    Detroit, Mich.

    Joseph (Joe) G. Vernon ’05 Dual JD
    Resident Manager
    Miller Canfield
    Detroit, Mich.

    Mark Wisniewski ’90
    Chairman and CEO
    Kitch, Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook PC
    Detroit, Mich

    Justin Zatkoff ’14
    General Counsel
    Zatkoff Seals & Packings
    Farmington Hills, Mich.