More than 350 alumni and other supporters of University of Detroit Mercy attended the annual President’s Christmas Party on Dec. 7. The event included a moving speech by current Nursing student Elizabeth Yager. She praised the generosity of the donors in the room and talked of her love for the University. We are reprinting it here because we thought you’d like to hear what one of our students had to say about how donor support helps the University that is changing her life.
The first time I heard of the University of Detroit Mercy I was a freshman in high school. My older brother was touring and applying to colleges and he decided he was going to attend the University of Detroit Mercy. Immediately, I decided I was going to go to college anywhere but there…well here I am. My name is Elizabeth Yager, and I am currently a junior in the Nursing program here at the University of Detroit Mercy.
The second time I heard of the University of Detroit Mercy I was a sophomore in high school. I was playing softball, and being recruited by many different colleges. I visited and toured many universities, but none compared to the University of Detroit Mercy. What set the University of Detroit Mercy apart was the ability to study Nursing and be a student-athlete at the same time, the alumni athletic-academic scholarships, the small campus and close-knit community, the small class sizes and student-faculty ratio, and the desire of everyone — students, staff, faculty, and alumni — to make our campus and the community of Detroit a better place.
As a softball recruit, I was always told to choose a university I would be happy attending if for some reason I was injured and could no longer play softball. This seemed crazy to me. I had been playing softball since I was five years old so, of course, I was going to play four years of my college career. Unfortunately, after two seasons of playing for the University of Detroit Mercy Softball team I sustained a career-ending back injury. Luckily, I chose a University that I am more than happy to continue attending even though my athletic career has ended.
Throughout the two years of my athletic career, I was a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, named to the All-Horizon League freshman team, a member of the Athletic Directors honor roll and the Horizon League honor roll every semester. As a student-athlete, I was the recipient of the Dave DeBusschere Scholarship given to a select few student-athletes based on academic, athletic and leadership achievements. This scholarship has been and will continue to be used to cover my nursing books, nursing clinical fees and NCLEX study tools.
In addition to being involved in athletics and spending entirely too much time in the library studying, I have been involved in many other things here at Detroit Mercy that has made me a better friend, a better person and a better future nurse. I am the student leader and president of ChemoCare, a non-profit organization that educates children in our community about how pediatric cancer and hospitalization, in general, affects and isolates children their own age. Our organization has these children decorate covers for chemotherapy infusion bags, which we then deliver to the local hospitals — letting the patients in these hospitals know that the children in their community care about them and support them. In addition to ChemoCare being a student org, I have also led a Ford Community Corps Partnership between ChemoCare, Beaumont Royal Oak and the McAuley School of Nursing. Throughout my time here at Detroit Mercy, I have also been involved in the Christian student organization Cru — helping lead a Bible study, one-on-one mentoring students in their faith and spreading opportunities to reach students on this campus as well as throughout our community. I am currently enrolled in the Leadership Minor and the Emerging Leaders Program.
My favorite thing about the University of Detroit Mercy is the desire of the students, staff, faculty and alumni to help — to help better our campus and to help better our surrounding community, the city of Detroit. I have seen the creation of new student organizations, improvement of existing organizations, FCCP partnerships, 30-minute alumni mentor sessions, peer education and mentoring support programs, and countless community outreach and service programs or events. I have witnessed students come up with ideas to better our campus or our community. There is no shortage of faculty or alumni willing to support them and make their idea become a reality.
I am blessed to have had the influences of alumni from the University of Detroit as well as the University of Detroit Mercy throughout my life. My grandfather, father, uncles, and now my older brother have all graduated from this University. Each one of them has impacted my life profoundly, and this University has impacted each one of them, making them the men and the leaders they are today. And for the last three years I have been blessed by the opportunity each one of you provide for this University and all of the students here to learn and grow, and to help serve each other and the community of Detroit.
Have you made a gift to Detroit Mercy this year? There’s still time to make a difference. All donations are used to ensure students like Elizabeth receive a strong, education in the Jesuit and Mercy traditions. Visit udmercy.edu/donate to make an online donation. For more photos of the President’s Christmas Party, visit our Alumni Network Facebook page.