Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Award ~ Friday, April 22, 2016, 6 p.m.
UDM grads share expertise during CLAE Alumni Week
The College of Liberal Arts & Education held its Alumni Week, March 14-18. Highlights included several in-class alumni engagement presentations and a keynote alumni panel on March 17 addressing "The Value & Versatility of a Liberal Arts Degree."
The classroom sessions offered an opportunity for UDM students to obtain career guidance and hear lessons-learned from alumni experienced in their professions. Presentations encompassed communications studies, philosophy, political science, psychology, social work and museum studies academic areas.
Alumni sharing their expertise in the classroom with UDM students this year were:
- Kevin DiSalle '14 (economics & philosophy)
- Meade Goedert '06 (social work)
- Angela Jaroszewski '10 (communication studies)
- Thomas Page '71, '76 (industrial/organizational psychology)
- Bill Pringle '12 (history)
- Greg Russell '78 (communication studies)
- Nick Sinacori '72 (communication studies)
- Mikhail Youdin '08 (political Science & economics)
Page also participated in the panel discussion and was joined by:
- Bob Sadler '88 (communication studies)
- Kathleen Walker '08 (education)
- Molly Redigan '10, '15 (English)
Alumni Week is an annual event sponsored by the CLAE Alumni Council.
The Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Awards is an annual event, held in April, established to recognize the University’s distinguished graduates, from each of its colleges and schools, who have excelled in their chosen profession, demonstrated outstanding leadership in their work, and benefited the wider community through their support. Award recipients reflect the University’s mission of excellence and service and bring pride to their alma mater.
Click here for view the photo gallery from the April 2015 event.
CLAE Alumni Welcome UDM International Students
While attending college as an international student is exciting, it can also be challenging. Looking to replace worry with a warm welcome, the CLAE Alumni Council and the UDM International Services Office (ISO) partnered to create a unique event to celebrate Detroit and the “great things” about college life at University of Detroit Mercy in a way that transcended generations and countries.
Three ingredients were needed: location, international students and alumni.
Bob Sadler, ’88 and a communications study major, is director of marketing and sales for the Detroit Historical Society. He had arranged the location and provided a group tour of the Detroit Historical Museum in Midtown.
Weihong Sun, director of the UDM International Services Office, spread the word to UDM’s international students and arranged for transportation.
“We had students from the College of Liberal Arts and Education and the College of Engineering & Science participate,” said Sun. “We are very grateful for CLAE alumni’s generous support so that the following students could benefit from this event: Hasan Asaibi, Ziad Elhajjaji, Kuang-chen Hsueh, Zhan Li, Musaud Mbark and Ibrahim Mohammed.”
And representing disciplines including communications studies, sociology, religious studies and political science UDM alums Robert Rogowski,'77; Harriette Ehnis, '58 (Mercy Nursing); Mary Ann Dinan, '58; Jamie Dylenski,'98; and Suzanne McMillan, '58, championed the welcome.
“Our goal was to introduce ourselves to UDM’s international students and provide a welcoming atmosphere as ambassadors of Detroit and the University,” said Dylenski. “We want to assist and encourage diversity in our student population through our sincere welcome. We hope to offer more events like this in 2016.”
Photos courtesy of Weihong Sun, director of the UDM International Services Office.
University of Detroit Mercy's College of Liberal Arts & Education sponsored its second annual Alumni Week, March 16 – 20, 2015. Thank you to all of our alums who participated
- Al Ward of Broadside Press spoke to Associate Prof. Michael Barry’s Study of Poetry (ENL 1310) class at 6:40 p.m. in Briggs 005.
- Bob Sadler, director of marketing & sales for the Detroit Historical Society, speaks to Prof. Vivian Dicks’ CST 4990 Capstone Seminar class at 9:55 a.m. in Briggs #27.
- Lanetia Norris of Self Help Addiction Rehabilitation, Inc. (SHAR) spoke to Associate Prof. Aloha Van Camp’s Social Welfare Policy (SWK 3100) class at 11:30 a.m. in CF #212.
- Greg Russell, former Detroit radio personality, TV reporter and current host of “Movie Show Plus” on WMYD-TV 20, spoke to Associate Prof. Jason Roche’s Audio Production (CST 2110) class at 11 a.m. in Briggs #117.
- Nick Sinacori, 1972 CST graduate, author and president of the Village of Fairview Historical Society, spoke to Associate Prof. Jason Roche’s Documentary Film Production (CST 4120) class at 1 p.m. in Briggs #117.
- Bill Pringle, a curatorial assistant at the Detroit Historical Society, and Gerald Smith, senior manager of government affairs for Comcast and the first African American member of UDM’s Phi Alpha Theta chapter, spoke to history majors and Phi Alpha Theta members at 2 p.m. in Briggs #340.
- Mort Meisner, a former Detroit TV news executive who now represents and places broadcast talent as owner of Mort Meisner Associates, spoke to Associate Prof. Jason Roche’s Visual Communications (CST 1120) class at 9 a.m. in Briggs #117.
- Nicole Schumack Marcot, 6-8 grade English teacher, Westside Christian Academy spoke to Associate Prof. Michael Barry’s History of English class (ENL 1310) at noon in Briggs #023.
Doing Great Things
Alumni from UDM's College of Liberal Arts & Education have many notable achievements. Just a few are listed here:• Michael Martinez, ’12, Reporter, Detroit News
• Patrick Parsons, '98, Information Technologies Consultant, Deloitte & Touche
• David Sampson, ’96, CEO of Mariners Inn
• Keegan-Michael Key, ’93, Actor, Comedy Central, Key & Peel Show
• Ryan Irwin, '90, District Sales Manager, Dun & Bradstreet Corporation
• Amy Merrill Salowitz, '89, National Advertising Manager, Domino's Pizza
• Bob Sadler, ’88, Public Relations, Detroit Historical Society
• Alison Payne, '85, News Anchor, WGN-TV, Chicago
• Terry Tyler, '78, Former Detroit Pistons Basketball Player
• Isiah McKinnon, ’75, ’78, Deputy Mayor, City of Detroit
• John Smyntek, '72, Editor, Special Features, Knight Ridder Inc.
• Thomas Page, ’71, ’76, Community Activist
• Michael Cavanagh, LA '62, LW '66, Justice, Michigan Supreme Court
• Neal Shine, '62, Retired Publisher, Detroit Free Press
• Rick Sylvain, ’69, Publicity and Public Relations, Walt Disney World Resort, Florida
• Ed McNamara, '59, Wayne County Executive
• Elmore "Dutch" Leonard, '50, Author/Screenplay writer
• Jerome Horwitz, LA '42, GR '44, Scientist (discovered AZT)
Spiritus: The University of Detroit Mercy Magazine highlights UDM's past, present and future with a collection of feature articles, news, and alumni updates. All University alumni receive a complimentary printed copy of Spiritus twice per year. Class Notes and In Memoriam are also updated throughout the year on the Alumni Community.
Are you an alumnus? Not receiving your copy? News about alumni to share?Click here and update your contact information.
Since 2009, the College of Liberal Arts & Education has formally honored the the civic and professional achievements of individuals who also have given of their valuable time and resources to the College and the University in many different ways. Photos honoring these individuals hang on a wall of honor in the main hallway of the Jane and Walter Briggs Building.
Biography coming soon!
Brian D. Cloyd ’73, ’76
Vice President, Global Corporate Relations, Steelcase, Inc.
College of Liberal Arts & Education
During his 36-year career with Steelcase Inc., the Grand Rapids-based global leader in the office furniture industry, Brian D. Cloyd ’73, ’76 has distinguished himself as a corporate leader and champion of positive personal, community and corporate relations.
In his current position as vice president of Global Corporate Relations, he is responsible for coordinating Steelcase efforts in the areas of diversity, government relations and public policy, corporate relations, community giving and volunteer programs. He also works with the environmental team to support Steelcase’s sustainability strategies.
Since joining the firm in 1978, he has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility, starting in the human resources area and being appointed vice president in 2006. Previously, he was employed by the City of Grand Rapids as a job training supervisor for economically disadvantaged people.
A native of St. Louis, Cloyd attended the University of Detroit earning his bachelor’s degree in history in 1973 and his master’s degree in political science, with an emphasis on public administration in 1976.
Cloyd generously shares his time and expertise through his participation on numerous boards and community organizations. He currently serves as chair of the Boards of the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park and the Grand Rapids University Preparatory Association. He is also a member of the UDM Board of Trustees and the Dean’s Advisory Board for the UDM College of Liberal Arts & Education.
A strong believer in the value of education, Cloyd recognizes the accomplishments of several of his relatives who earned college degrees in the 1930s and 40s, which, as he states, “was no small undertaking for an African American.” He especially admires his dad, a doctor who was educated at Xavier University, for imparting the values of fairness and leadership through his adage, “When a door is cracked, you kick it open and make sure as many people as possible follow you through it.”
Mrs. Bradley N. Crawford ’65, is a caring, sharing person, who is making a wonderful difference in the lives of others. She comes from a family of 13 biological siblings, plus one adoptive sibling, and a home where her mother taught her that the value of good fortune is having the ability to care and share with humility.
Crawford acquired a bachelor’s degree from the University of Buffalo, a master’s degree from the University of Detroit, and an M.S.W. from Wayne State University.
Her career included working as a social worker, juvenile court probation officer, supervisor of Children Services in Oakland County, trainer of Wayne County staff social workers, supervisor for three juvenile youth centers (in Detroit, Highland Park, and Inkster, Mich.), and as a Wayne County Department of Social Services (DSS) Daycare Services Trainer for all county offices. As the only daycare trainer, Crawford was assigned the special task of identifying and solving problems Wayne County DSS had with foster parents and the institution’s inability to sustain long-term care for hard-to-place children who were returned to the agency and resided in the main office with no sanitation, eating, or sleeping arrangements. After interviewing youth and providers, she was able to develop a plan for short-term contracts that led to rotation agreements among providers for stability, continuity of friends, schools, churches, etc., and this plan became a role model for other state foster care placement services. The model significantly reduced the number of youth who providers returned to the social services agency.
Crawford sat on the Board of the Child Care Coordinating Council of Wayne County for 15 years. Her organizational memberships include being a life member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha, the NAACP, and the Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, Inc. She is also active in the Alumni Association of the University of Buffalo.
Since 1997, Crawford has donated more than two hundred thousand dollars in scholarships to a number of colleges, universities, organizations and neighborhood black youth. Her desire is to help poor black youth who are interested in higher education and willing to give back, and preparing themselves to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, using marketable skills that will allow them to be highly competitive in a global arena.
Crawford is an active church member, served on the board of her church, and established a church scholarship program in 2001. Since 1997 she has been a volunteer for the local Salvation Army. She is also a community activist for the underprivileged. She is actively involved with the Buffalo Urban League Scholarship Program and is interested in cultural enrichment opportunities via public library and historical museum programs. She is an active book club member, loves to alpine ski, to dance (including square dancing), to listen to poetry sessions, to listen to jazz, and enjoys attending the opera and the theatre.
Crawford continues to give and has recently established at the University of Detroit Mercy the Beulah Alexander Memorial Scholarship in memory of her mother. The scholarship provides $5,000 annually for one African American student studying in the College of Liberal Arts & Education for four years. In hopes that the gift of education continues, Crawford has asked that each recipient make a personal pledge to try to provide financial assistance to others who desire a college degree when the recipient is able to do so.
Noreen Keating has a long history of non-profit involvement, primarily in service to the disadvantaged in southeast Michigan. This service has consisted of volunteer activities, employment, and now a consulting business. This included volunteering at Barat Human Services as board president, and on the board of the league of Catholic Women (now Matrix Human Services).
She has also served as a board member of Federal Home Loan Bank Housing Council; Skyline Camp; St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Board of Trustees, and president of the hospital’s Foundation Board, City Year Detroit, Hospice of Michigan; and Leadership Oakland among others.
Presently, she is serving on the board of Care House: The Child Abuse and Neglect Council of Oakland, Centro Multicultural La Familia, and the Advisory Council for the School of Liberal Arts and Education.
Noreen has a bachelor’s degree in social work from UDM and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from UDM. She also received a fellowship to the Harvard Non- Profit Executive Training at the Business School.
As the executive director and president of Lighthouse of Oakland County, Noreen moved the program from an agency with a $150,000 annual budget and two part-time staff to an $8 million budget, 90 staff and a state of the art 30,000 square foot services location in Pontiac, with various satellite services.
Lighthouse earned the 376th Point of Light Award from President George H.W. Bush; has been named Crain’s Non- Profit of the Year; United Community Services Program of the Year; and Noreen was named executive director of the year by UCS.
Senator Debbie Stabenow nominated Noreen for the Mitsubishi Unsung Heroine Award, which Noreen received in a Washington, D.C. ceremony, with the senator in attendance. The Detroit News named her a Michiganian of the Year; and she’s received awards and citations from the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, Focus: HOPE, the Birmingham Eccentric and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
When Elmore’s family settled in the Detroit area around 1934, two major influences occurred that would show up in many of Elmore’s works. Gangsters such as Bonnie and Clyde were making national headlines, as were the Detroit Tigers baseball team. In the early 1930’s, Bonnie and Clyde were on their rampage, and were killed in May 1934. The Tigers made it to the World Series in 1934. Elmore turned these events into lifelong fascinations with both sports and guns.
Elmore graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1943. He entered the University of Detroit in 1946 following 30 months in the Navy during World War II. After being away from home Elmore decided to stay in Detroit and continue to take advantage of a Jesuit education. He signed up at U of D to major in English; He always loved to read and did have the hope of writing fiction someday. He graduated in 1950 with a PhB degree in English, a minor in Philosophy, and the next year at 25 sold his first story to a magazine.
Elmore or “Dutch” as he is sometimes called, got his first big break in the fiction market during the 1950’s, while working at a Detroit advertising agency he got up every morning and wrote before going to work. He wrote western stories. In 1969, he published his first crime novel, The Big Bounce, and began selling screenplays to Hollywood (more than 30 of his novels and stories have been turned into movies). It wasn’t until the 1980’s though that Elmore finally broke through: In 1984, LaBrava won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, and the next year Glitz hit the New York Times bestseller list, where 17 of his books have also found a home.
Elmore Leonard has been called “the Dickens of Detroit” because of his intimate portraits of people from the city. He has been commended by critics for his gritty realism and strong dialogue.
Charles E. Lucas ’59, is a native Detroiter who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Detroit and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Wayne State University. His work in the fields of shock, trauma, acute care surgery, and sepsis is extensive. Together with his longtime business partner Dr. Ledgerwood, they have written more than 350 articles in surgical literature, most of which have included residents from the Detroit area in their many important discoveries in the field of surgery. Lucas performed the first randomized prospective study in trauma, and his work includes one of the most-cited articles in the surgical literature. One of his studies led to improved patient care in shock and injury, as well as significantly decreasing the costs of patient care.
Lucas was recently celebrated and recognized by Wayne State University School of Medicine as an innovator, and was awarded the Trailblazer Award which recognizes alumni and faculty who have forged paths through previously unexplored territory to become pioneers in their field of medicine and medical research.
From 1967 through 1980, when the old Detroit General Hospital (DGH) closed, Lucas was primarily centered at DGH for his clinical activities, teaching, and research. Following the closure of DGH in 1980, he moved to the Detroit Medical Center, where he became actively involved in the new Detroit Receiving Hospital, the Harper University Hospital, the Hutzel Hospital, and since 1980, the new Karmanos Cancer Hospital.
Lucas is a member of many local, national, and international professional organizations in which he frequently has served as an officer. He continues to be deeply committed to medical student and resident education. His research efforts have resulted in over 400 peer articles, books, and book chapters.
Lucas has a family legacy with the University of Detroit Mercy. He and two of his brothers all attended U of D. His brother Bill taught Math at U of D while he received his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan and Lucas and his brother Bob were both three-year pre-med students. Bob also went on to become a doctor.
Lucas and his wife, Suzanne, live in Detroit's Palmer Woods area and together raised five children and are now enjoying being grandparents. In his leisure time, Lucas enjoys tennis and a lot of reading—and he loves writing. Now, in his work as a doctor and researcher, editing or writing is a significant part of what he does.
Lucas has been a long-time supporter of UDM and has been a member of the President’s Cabinet giving club for more than 22 years.
Scholarships have always been an important interest to Jean and her family. Jean’s parents started a scholarship program in their name at Canisius College (Buffalo, NY) and she continues to support the scholarship program. Jean established an endowed scholarship at UDM as well. The Jean Maday Scholarship Fund supports two students in the College of Liberal Arts and Education.
Jean was involved in professional organizations: Michigan Student Financial Aid Association; Midwest Student Financial Association; the National Student Financial Aid Association; Jean was a member of ACT (American College Test) Michigan Advisory Committee and the College Board Michigan Advisory Committee. And Jean was awarded by the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association, the President's award in 1985 and in 1997 the Distinguished Service Award.
In 1975 Jean became co-owner of Maple Syrup Supplies, Inc. and later in 1983 became sole owner. Jean sold the business in 2009. For over six years Jean has served on the Michigan Maple Syrup Association Board of Directors holding the positions of Vice-President, Secretary and President. In 2006 Jean received their recognition with a lifetime Honorary Membership. Jean also served as a delegate from Michigan to the North American Maple Syrup Council for several years and then as delegate to the International Maple Syrup Institute.
Peter Neydon ’65, has a sense of ownership and pride in the education taking place in the classrooms and labs, the action on the basketball court and sports fields, and the socializing among students on the University of Detroit Mercy’s McNichols Campus. He says it brings back fond memories of the time when he was a student at U of D in the mid-1960s and also elicits a proud family history.
Neydon had a difficult childhood. His father died when he was 11. He was the oldest of five children, and his mother went to work as a teacher. Help arrived for Neydon in the form of a four-year scholarship from the Knights of Equity, an Irish fraternal organization that his great-grandfather had belonged to. It provided scholarships to children and descendants of members, a fact discovered by his grandmother. Without those funds, he would have had to work full time to save up enough for tuition.
It made perfect sense for Neydon to attend U of D. With the strong family legacy that began with Neydon’s grandfather, Charley Bruce, and five of Neydon’s uncles, one of which played varsity basketball with Titan legend Bob Calihan, all being U of D graduates as well. Neydon’s grandfather was the captain of the University’s first basketball team in 1906-07 and later became the graduate manager of Athletics, akin to today’s athletic director. Neydon’s grandfather was U of D through and through. He got his degree there and had a rigorous, classic liberal arts education. Neydon says that Bruce’s career began the “golden age of college sports.” One of Bruce’s heralded moves was to hire Gus Dorais as the football coach. As a Notre Dame quarterback, Dorais had popularized the forward pass, throwing to the illustrious Knute Rockne, who later became a legendary Notre Dame coach.
While at U of D, Neydon met Sheila McCann, who was attending Marygrove College. Both Sheila and Neydon graduated in 1965—he with a degree in political science, she with a degree in child psychology. They married soon after, and she taught briefly before the couple had their three children. They have been married for 44, years and their family now includes five grandchildren.
Working hard has always come naturally for Neydon, who held jobs at an A & P supermarket, J. L. Hudson at Northland, and in the trucking business. His career path was established as a college student when he worked at Central Transport. At first, he kept books on the vehicles that were repaired, and filled potholes in the truck yard so the vehicles didn’t break an axle. He later was in charge of the tire center and dispatched trucks. That experience as a jack-of-all-trades in trucking would serve him well throughout his career.
After graduating, Neydon worked for Interstate System, another trucking company, for 17 years. During that time, he held a variety of positions and became vice president of national account sales. While living on Detroit’s east side, he would occasionally come back to the McNichols Campus to watch a sporting event or to hear a guest lecturer. His career further advanced when he became the vice president of Sales at USF Holland in 1984. Later, he was appointed president and CEO of the company, one of the nation’s largest trucking firms.
Neydon credits U of D with providing an education that enabled him to communicate well with his co-workers and later with the people that he supervised. He says that he became interested in a lot of things—politics, history, current events, and philosophy—that he wouldn’t have paid much attention to if he hadn’t gone to college. He also said that the liberal arts education imparted at U of D increased his confidence and desire to learn.
The Neydon’s philanthropy includes being major contributors to UDM for over a decade, including being members of the President’s Cabinet Giving Club for more than seven years. It also extends to the Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland, where they provide an annual college scholarship through the Neydon Scholarship for Children of Widows. He sees it as a way to “pay it forward,” so that future and current students can benefit from a scholarship just as he had.
Gerry O’Grady-Pershing ’55, has devoted her life, and her energies, to the field of education and to making her community a better place.
O’Grady-Pershing earned a B.S. in Education from the University of Detroit. As a student, she was in the chorus, Psychology Club, Gamma Phi Sigma sorority, and Pan-Hellenic Council and served as president for the latter two organizations. She also holds a master’s from the University of Michigan and has taken several additional classes at various universities in Michigan as well as the University of Mexico.
O’Grady-Pershing is first and foremost an educator: She initially taught in the Detroit Public Schools, including every grade from one through six; she also served in positions as reading coordinator, practical life skills specialist (developing a program for the elementary and middle schools), and home-school specialist. Over the years she has been active in many professional organizations.
When her alma mater called, O’Grady-Pershing took a leave of absence from the Detroit Public Schools and came back as an instructor. She taught at the University of Detroit for one year in Methods of Language Arts and Social Studies for juniors and supervised student teachers in their senior year. This enabled another faculty member to take time off to complete doctoral work. She also continued to serve U of D in other ways, becoming the second vice president of the University of Detroit Alumni Council.
After retirement, she joined the League of Women Voters – Oakland Chapter and served as a poll worker for local elections. She also served on the Farmington/Farmington Hills Commission on Aging and the Consumer Protection Committee. She has held various offices (including president) in various professional, social, and alumni associations and the Metropolitan Detroit Reading Council and Catholic Alumni Club of Detroit.
O’Grady-Pershing married Ralph Pershing in 1978, who was widowed with two children, Lisa and Sean, who are now grown and have given Gerry and Ralph two grandchildren.
Still very active as an educator, O’Grady-Pershing is a presenter of the B.A.B.E.S. (Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies) program given in all the schools in the Farmington/Farmington Hills area. She says this continues her love of teaching and work with young children.
Active in her church, she is a lector and active committee member at the Church of the Holy Family. She also participates in the Accent on Women Book Discussion Club.
O’Grady-Pershing’s many contributions have not gone unnoticed. In 1970, she received the U of D Alumni Tower Award in recognition of her outstanding service and loyalty to the University of Detroit and the Alumni Association. In 1969, she was included in The Outstanding Young Women of America.
O’Grady-Pershing has been a member of UDM’s President’s Cabinet giving level for more than 14 years and has been a UDM donor for more than 32 years. She has established—in loving memory of her parents, Matt and Mary O’Grady—an endowed scholarship that provides financial assistance for students who demonstrate both financial need and academic merit.
During the Patterson administration, Oakland County government has earned respect from Wall Street for its solid tax base and sound financial policies by attaining and maintaining a coveted AAA bond rating, which only 34 of our nation’s 3,200 counties have received.
Patterson founded Automation Alley in 1998, southeast Michigan’s premier high-tech consortium. Automation Alley has received the President’s “E” Award for excellence in exporting, presented personally by President George W. Bush during a White House ceremony.
His Employee Suggestion Program has generated more than $5 million worth of taxpayer savings since 1993 while his Casual Day Program has distributed nearly half a million dollars to local charities over the past 16 years. Mr. Patterson founded Arts, Beats & Eats in 1998. The event, ranks as one of the top 10 Art Fairs in America.
Mr. Patterson also established the Brooksie Way Half Marathon and 5K Race which attracts thousands of participants. The race is named in honor of his son, Brooks Stuart Patterson, who was killed in a snowmobiling accident.
In the 1980’s Mr. Patterson established The Rainbow Connection which grants wishes to terminally ill children.
Mr. Patterson has earned numerous awards and honors including:
- The Michigan Chamber of Commerce Annual Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership for spearheading a successful statewide petition drive to repeal the Single Business Tax and for exemplary service as a local government official;
- named by Government Technology Magazine as one of the Top 25 individuals in America in 2006 for “pushing the boundaries of government as usual.”
- 2007 Rotary Foundation of Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow;
- Bloomfield Hills Rotary Foundation 2007 Distinguished Community Leader Award.
- Two Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters one from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant (2009) and another from Kettering University in Flint (2006);
- 2005 Visionary Award from the Michigan Department of Information Technology for leadership support of technology initiatives.
Bishop Ramirez ’68, was born in Bay City, Texas, on Sept. 12, 1936. The second of two sons, he was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 10, 1966 in Houston, Texas. He is a member of the Congregation of St. Basil. On Oct. 18, 1982, he became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces, N.M. Next year, he will celebrate three decades in that role.
Before coming to the University of Detroit in 1967, he received his B.A. from the University of St. Thomas, in Houston, Texas, in 1959 and attended St. Basil’s Seminary in Toronto, Canada, from 1963 to 1965 and the Seminario Conciliar in Mexico City, Mexico, from 1965 to 1966. He graduated from U of D in 1968 with his M.A. in Religious Studies. From 1973 to 1974 he studied at the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, Philippines. He has received honorary doctorates from Neumann College in Wichita, Kan.; the University of St. Michael’s College, in Toronto, Canada; and Siena Heights University, in Adrian, Mich.
Bishop Ramirez served the Church in a variety of roles and places before ascending to the bishopric. This included an appointment at St. Mary’s Church in Owen Sound, Canada, in 1967; chaplain of University Students/Centro Cultural Aragon, Mexico City, Mexico, from 1968 to 1970; with the Family Religious Education Project in Tehuacan, Puebla, Mexico, from 1970 to 1976; and as executive vice president at the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas, from 1976 to 1981. He was named Titular Bishop of Vatarba and Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio on Oct. 27, 1981 by Pope John Paul II and was ordained to the Episcopacy on Dec. 6, 1981 in San Antonio by Archbishop Patricio F. Flores.
Bishop Ramirez has served and continues to serve on a number of committees within the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and its successor body, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is currently a member of the USCCB International Justice and Peace Committee, the USCCB Domestic Social Development Committee, and the USCCB Subcommittee on Hispanic Liturgy. He previously chaired the NCCB Committee on the Church in Latin America, the NCCB Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and the USCCB Subcommittee for Hispanic Liturgy. He also served as a member of the USCCB Committee on Migration and Refugee Services, the NCCB Committee on the Liturgy, and as Consultant to the USCCB Committee on Hispanic Affairs.
He has contributed to the Church as a member of the Catholic Church Extension Society Advisory Board and the Committee on the Catholic Common Ground Initiative, and served as Episcopal Advisor to the Institute for Hispanic Liturgy and Episcopal Moderator of the Asociación Nacional de Sacerdotes Hispanos. Elected delegate from the U.S. to the Synod for America in 1997, he was also appointed as a representative from the U.S. to the Fifth General Conference of Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida, Brazil. He has served as member of the New Mexico Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, and as Commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Clearly, Bishop Ramirez has done, and continues to do, much for the Church in the world.
Robert J. Scullin, S.J. ’68, was born the third of four children to James Andrew Scullin and Margaret Mary Mills in Detroit, Mich. in 1946. He has two older sisters, Judy Skelley in Saginaw, Mich., and Nancy Janness in Dallas, Texas. A younger brother, Michael, died in 2008. He was educated by the Sisters of Charity (Cincinnati) at the Shrine of the Little Flower Elementary School and by the Jesuits at the University of Detroit High School.
Fr. Scullin entered the novitiate of the Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus in 1964. His Jesuit formation included undergraduate studies at the University of Detroit, (B.A., English) philosophy and theology studies at Bellarmine School of Theology in North Aurora, Ill., and theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. Prior to ordination, he served for one year as pastoral assistant at Gesu Parish in Cleveland, Ohio; he then taught high school English at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio. Other internships include two quarters of clinical pastoral education and three summers in community organizing work on the Near West Side of Cleveland.
Following ordination, Fr. Scullin spent a number of months learning Spanish at the Maryknoll Language School (Instituto de Idiomas) in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He served for one year in the Office for Hispanic Affairs of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He served at two different times in University Ministry at the University of Detroit in 1981 and from 1986 to 1988. Fr. Scullin has served in Hispanic and African American parishes in Cleveland, Port Huron, New York City, and Columbus. From 1989 to 1990, he worked as interim director of a multi-service neighborhood center, St. Malachi Center in Cleveland.
As an associate director of the National Jesuit Office for Social Ministry of the Jesuit Conference, Fr. Scullin was a principal organizer of a national conference for Jesuits and lay partners “Faith Doing Justice” in Detroit in 1991; this conference was hosted by the University of Detroit Mercy. He pronounced final vows in the Society of Jesus in 1993. Following the completion of a Doctor of Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago in 2000, Fr. Scullin was appointed provincial of the Detroit Province by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, the superior general of the Society of Jesus. His thesis—Engaging Hearts and Minds: Ignatian Spirituality and Students Reflecting on Service—has proven useful in a number of volunteer service settings. As Provincial, Fr. Scullin helped make resources available both for both a Catholic Studies Program and for work in Mission and Identity at UDM. During his tenure as provincial, he engaged both Jesuits and lay partners in a national strategic planning process aimed at strengthening the wide range of Jesuit-sponsored institutions and ministries.
As Provincial, Fr. Scullin participated in an international Jesuit gathering, the 35th General Congregation in 2008 that elected Fr. Adolfo Nícolas as Superior General of the Society of Jesus. In the summer of 2009, with the approval of Provincial Father Timothy Kesicki, S.J., Archbishop Allen Vigneron appointed Fr. Scullin, pastor of Gesu Catholic Church and School. In 2011, the Archbishop appointed him also parish administrator of Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church on Jefferson Avenue.
Fr. Scullin continues to be extremely grateful for the wonderful and challenging undergraduate education he received at the University of Detroit. As a Jesuit seminarian, he had superb faculty both on the McNichols Campus and at Colombiere College, which for a time was the Clarkston Campus of the University. It was a heady, exciting time on the campus as student protest activity emerged and the University deepened its commitment to the city and to minority student populations. In 1968, Fr. Scullin was pleased to work in the project Aim High that preceded and laid the groundwork for Project 100—one of the University’s finest initiatives in reaching out to capable students in need of additional mentoring and support in their undergraduate studies.
At Fr. Scullin’s invitation, Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach visited University of Detroit Mercy in 2006 and remarked upon the many initiatives of the schools and colleges of the University to bring together the many, diverse populations of the region: “The University’s campuses provide an opportunity for people to come together to live, to work, to play, and to praise the Lord for the ineffable beauty of human life.” Fr. Scullin continues to be grateful for the ongoing commitment of the University of Detroit Mercy to the City of Detroit and all of Southeast Michigan.
As pastor of Gesu Church and School and administrator of Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Parish, Fr. Scullin hopes to strengthen the mutually beneficial relationship between the University and the two parishes.
He is delighted to find himself back where he began—alongside the University where his love for urban ministry and his literary and religious imagination grew in the remarkable undergraduate education he received at the University. The love of literature in different languages—deepened at UDM—has found expression in Fr. Scullin’s song-writing, both in the form of contemporary hymns, and in topical songs inspired by the struggle of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island in the past century to contemporary immigrants seeking sanctuary and opportunity in our nation today.
“Education lays the foundation for success” is a tenet of Frederick (Fred) M. Seibert ’69, ’73, a successful CEO who received his high school diploma from University of Detroit High School (now University of DetroitJesuit 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 University of Detroit, and they married in 1969. Financially challenged as newlyweds, Seibert received a loan from his University of Detroit fraternity to complete his Liberal Arts degree in 1970. He returned to the University to earn an M.B.A. in 1973 while working full time at Ford Motor Company.
He credits his education and good decisions with helping him advance in the workplace. 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 a materials planning manager in Milan, Michigan. In 1981, Seibert received an offer to work for Smith Oil Tool Company as director of International Planning and Manufacturing in California.
Three years later, Seibert joined Preece Inc., and worked his way to become president in 1991. Founded in 1961, Preece Inc. began 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’s fluid and pneumatic-related components are used extensively in defense programs and the commercial aerospace market.
Longtime supporters of the University, the Seiberts established an endowed fund in 2010, the “Frederick and Suzanne Seibert Scholarship,” to assist junior- and senior-level students in good academic standing with financial need. The Seiberts reside in Coto de Caza, California.
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He enrolled at the University of Detroit, later joking that his father told him he could attend any college he wanted as long as he could take the streetcar to get there and be home every night for dinner. His senior year at U of D he was named managing editor The Varsity News. He graduated in 1952 with a degree in journalism.
Neal went on to graduate school at U of D to pursue a master’s degree in sociology but had to discontinue his studies when he was drafted into the Army in 1953, shortly after his marriage to Phyllis Knowles.
He was discharged from the service in 1955 and returned to his job as a copyboy at the Detroit Free Press, a position he first had as a junior at U of D in 1950. He earned $3.55 a day, but would have done it for free.
At the end of 1955 he was promoted to reporter at the Free Press. In 1963 Neal was named assistant city editor and became city editor in 1965. His staff won the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 1967 riots in Detroit.
In 1971 Neal was promoted to managing editor and was made senior managing editor in 1982, the same year he began writing three columns a week for the paper.
He retired from the Free Press in 1989 to become professor of journalism at Oakland University. By that time he had already spent 25 years teaching part-time at the University of Detroit, Wayne State, Michigan State and Oakland.
On April 9, 1990, nine months after his retirement, Knight Ridder, then parent company of the Free Press, asked him to return to the paper as publisher. He retired from that position on Dec. 31, 1995, after more than 45 years at the paper.
During his years as publisher he was heavily involved in the life of the community, serving on the boards of more than 35 civic and community organizations. He has received more than three dozen awards for his work in the community, in addition to numerous journalistic awards.
Neal has honorary doctorates from the University of Detroit Mercy, the University of Michigan, Central Michigan University, Siena Heights College and Cleary College.
In 2000, the Journalism School at Michigan State University established the Neal Shine Fund for Ethics in Journalism with an initial grant from the Detroit Free Press of $100,000. Also in 2000, he was named recipient of the Carl Schurz Award from the German-American Heritage Foundation, International, for using journalism to help foster understanding in a diverse society.
Neal returned to Oakland University in 1996 where he continued to teach journalism until his retirement in September 2005.
In 2006, the University of Detroit Mercy, dedicated “The Neal Shine Media Center” in the Briggs Building
Neal and Phyllis raised six children and became grandparents to 18. He entered eternal life on April 3, 2007.
Ron’s dad actually wanted him to be an architect and as an incentive bought Ron a parcel of land on Jefferson for his son to design and build his first house on but after a year in the architecture program at U of D, Ron told his dad that he wanted to study journalism. Ron became the editor of the campus Varsity News at U of D at a time when one of the columnists was a young L. Brooks Patterson. Ron started his journalism career at the Varsity News and has continued to support and give back by chairing the 50th Anniversary of the Varsity News in 1965 and co-chaired the VN Committee to establish the Neal Shine Media Center in 2007-2008.
Ron has served on several UDM Athletic Boards, including 40 years on the Board to Directors for the Titan Club and chairing the annual Basketball Banquet and Season Ticket Campaigns. Ron was also the 2005 recipient of Norbert J. Huetter, SJ for the Jesuit principles of man and women serving others
Using his creativity and communication skills as an event planner, Thayer has organized a myriad of activities including The National Governors Association’s summer conference in Traverse City and a party grossing $1 million for 5000 people on the streets of Greektown. Ron has also served as the Chair of the Development Board for Angel’s Place; the Boards of Directors of Nazareth College, Sienna Heights College, Fr. Clement kern Foundation, and John Dewan Scholarship Foundation. In addition, he was one of seven individuals appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Board of Directors of the Student Loan Association (Sallie Mae), a $45 billion company.
Ron continues his career and is a consultant to several firms including Continental Dining Services in Sterling Heights, Compass Group & Morrison Management Specialist, GoodNews Ink, Brogan & Partners, and Pangborn Design.
His proudest achievement was suggesting and writing the proposal to establish the annual membership support for the U of D President’s Cabinet Fund which was established in 1968. The purpose of the President’s Cabinet fund is to support with full tuition and board, 4-year Insignis Scholarships for 8-10 students who are in the top of their high school graduating class. It also funds ½ tuition for Presidential Scholarships.
Ron Thayer has been a friend and supporter to the University for over 40 years and has given an annual gift everyone of those years.
Michael Ware ’67, has had an outstanding 35-year career in the energy business. Over the past 12 years, he has focused on investments in renewable energy. He is the founder and managing director of Advance Capital Markets, Inc., a private investment and advisory firm with a very successful track record in the energy and power industries. Ware has served as an advisor to private equity funds, international energy firms, independent power companies, electric utilities, as well as a number of other successful entrepreneurial enterprises.
Ware holds a B.A. degree from the University of Detroit in Political Science and graduated Magna Cum Laude. He also holds an M.A. degree from Ohio State University, where he was a fellow at the Mershon Center for National Security Studies. Ware came to U of D as a freshman on the Varsity Football team and played the last season the University had intercollegiate football.
As a U of D student, he was an active leader within the student body. He was commander of the ROTC Thunderbird Drill Team, served as president of the Inter Residence Hall Government, wrote for the Varsity News, and was a photographer for the Tower yearbook. When Ware graduated in 1967, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He served as a Captain in the USAF from 1968 to 1972 and he worked for the Office of Special Investigations supervising a world-wide system of information collection relevant to counter-intelligence.
From 1974 to 1980, Ware was CEO of Energy Decisions Inc., an energy-consulting firm, which served U.S. and international clients. This followed a year at the Federal Energy Office, where he was part of the team that implemented the U.S. government’s response to the 1973 oil embargo.
Ware recently stepped down as managing director at Good Energies (GEI). He served as a financial advisor to Good Energies since 2002 and managed many of GEI’s venture capital and project investments in North America. This entailed sourcing the investment opportunity, managing the deal team through closing, and monitoring the investment after closing. Ware managed three successful exits for GEI.
Ware has arranged financing for wind, solar, hydro, biofuel, biomass and geothermal projects and has guided several companies from start-up, through venture financing, and later growth stages including the IPO process. Prior to founding Advance Capital Markets, he was CEO of Reliance Energy Services, a subsidiary of a $3 billion investment company.
Ware has served on the boards of nine GEI portfolio companies, is on the board of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and is on the NREL Venture Capital Advisory Committee. He has also served on the boards of several NASDAQ and New York Stock Exchange-listed companies.
Thirty-five years ago, Ware and his wife Mary were married in the Chapel at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He belongs to St. Bridget’s of Ireland Church in Clarke County, Va., and was an active member of the committee that designed, financed and built this church in 2002.
Ware is also an avid outdoorsman and conservationist. He is currently restoring 200 acres of land in Clark County, Va.—adjacent to the Appalachian Trail—to natural habitat. This tract was once scheduled for development of 18 homes.
Whether in his business career, his church, or his community, Ware impresses those around him as a natural leader.
Growing up in Detroit’s “Old West Side” his multifaceted life developed from inspiration obtained from nurturing parents and an inner spark to succeed and make his mark. His father, who was a metallurgical engineer at Ford Motor Company, taught him the benefit of education and the rewards it could bring; his mother a classic homemaker laid a pattern for his appreciation for comfortable and gracious living. Not afraid of hard work, Jim labored in many jobs as he wended his way towards three degrees from Wayne State University after graduating from Northwestern High School.
This dynamic and complex man launched into a life path that encompasses classroom teacher, and counselor in the Detroit Public Schools, serving as administrator at the Wayne State University and in culmination of his academic career, serving as Provost for the University of Detroit. Dr. Woodruff served as Interim President to the University of Detroit for over six months while Father Malcom Carron recuperated from an illness in 1972.
His business acumen, not unrecognized, caused him to be selected for the Board of Directors at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan where he served for over 30 years, and served as Chairman of the Board for eight years. And those talents led to greater things to come.
In 1978, following a training period under dear friend Nate Conyers, Jim opened the first of three successful automobile dealerships, Woodruff Oldsmobile in Detroit. Capping off his career that had already produced a doctorate in Education, a period as a successful teacher, a college president, Jim concluded his prestigious career as President of Expressway Ford in Clio, Michigan.
Of his many accomplishments, the most cherished were the Distinguished Alumni Award from Wayne State University; Anthony Wayne Award for Leadership – College of Education, Wayne State University; Longest serving Board Member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; and being honored by the University of Michigan for founding the Project 100 Program which resulted in over 400 underprivileged young students earning college degrees. In the first class of Project 100 students who started at U of D in 1968, 42 students graduated in four years and 69 graduated within five years. These are students, who when you talk to them today say, “this program saved my life” and “UofD’s Project 100 gave me an education that I never would have gotten without it.”
This gentleman, Dr. James Woodruff, who was a gentle man, led a life of dignity, style, grace and achievement.
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