University of Detroit Mercy dedicated the Frederick & Suzanne Seibert Center for Innovation & Collaboration last week.
Funded through a generous gift from Frederick and Suzanne Seibert, this center — housed in the Engineering building — is designed to help foster creativity, build community and encourage the next generation of inspired ideas. It will serve as a resource for all Detroit Mercy students and disciplines. With its open floor plan, inviting wall of windows, innovative seating and table configurations, students can work together to conceptualize new inventions, products and ideas, which will help lead to discoveries in science, health, economics, philosophy, business, architecture, engineering and the social sciences, among other disciplines.
Fred Seibert is a 1969 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts & Education and received an MBA from the College of Business Administration in 1973. He is the former president of Preece, Inc., a California-based national defense supplier. His wife, Suzanne, is also a native of Detroit. The two met while he attended Detroit Mercy and had their first date at the fountain on campus.
During his remarks, Seibert expressed how humble he and his wife felt to have this center named after them. He also recognized the growing importance that innovation and collaboration play in today’s professions.
“Innovation and collaboration are more than theoretical concepts,” he said. “With the creation of technology, collaboration has moved from small room meetings to large groups spread throughout the world because of the availability of technology, such as video conferencing. This center will provide students an opportunity to develop their collaboration skills and work together to innovate new ideas and products. My hope is that as students learn of the center and use it, they will hone their innovation and collaboration skills, and work closely with people of many diverse backgrounds to produce products or important ideas.”
Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi discussed the Seibert’s strong interest in helping students succeed through this Center.
“Fred and Suzanne understand how important state-of-the-art facilities are for learning, studying and working collaboratively when we are recruiting prospective students,” he said. “Even more important, these same facilities are critical to retaining students as they begin to develop new projects and products.”
The Seiberts have a long history of providing assistance to Detroit Mercy students. In 2010, they established the Frederick and Suzanne Seibert Endowed Scholarship, which offers important financial support to juniors and seniors. Additionally, several Detroit Mercy students participated in summer co-op experiences at Seibert’s company.
Natalie Hlavaty, a former Seibert Scholarship recipient and 2016 biology graduate currently working at Beaumont Hospital, provided remarks at the center dedication.
“When I was a student, I worked full-time and attended school full-time as well,” she said. “This scholarship played a huge role in helping me complete my degree and gave me the time I needed to focus on my last year. When you’re working full-time and then receive this kind of scholarship support, there are no words to describe how it makes you feel.”
The Seibert gift that made the center possible is part of The Campaign for University of Detroit Mercy. This campaign reached its goal of $100 million at the end of December 2018, a year ahead of schedule. The campaign will end in December of this year. Currently, the campaign still seeks funding to support facilities and the scholarship endowment.
Check out a video of the center here.
For more information about The Campaign for University of Detroit Mercy, please visit www.udmercy.edu/about/giving/