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Ask The Professor Live

Enjoy a decades worth of fantastic ATP broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

Episode # 2437

Air date: 5/19/24


It’s the beginning of a summer season of Ask The Professor classic shows.   This week’s episode takes us back to July 2004.  Host Kathy Bush is joined by Professors Matt Mio, Jeffe Boats, Roy Finkenbine and Jerry Curtsinger at Mac’s On Third, in Detroit, Michigan.

Episode # 2436

Air date: 5/12/24


With Professors Matt Mio, Beth Oljar, Stephen Manning, Heather Hill and Dave Chow.

Episode # 2434

Air date: 4/28/24


With Professors Matt Mio, Heather Hill, Stephen Manning, Beth Oljar, Jeffe Boats, Jim Tubbs, Dan Maggio, and Dave Chow.

Episode # 2433

Air date: 4/21/24


Host Matt Mio is joined by Professors Heather Hill, Stephen Manning, Beth Oljar, Mara Livezey, Jim Tubbs, Erin Bell and Dave Chow.

ATP 2433 transcript

Summer tennis lessons available for all at Detroit Mercy

Two UDM students play tennis on the courts outside of the Student Fitness Center.Titans, get ready for an exciting summer with the Motor City Tennis Club!

Join this tennis program on the McNichols Campus from June 17 to August 12 for the Summer Lessons Program, designed for all skill levels. Sessions will be held Mondays and Fridays from 6-8 p.m.

Spaces are limited, so sign-up today and serve up some fun this summer!

The tennis courts are located at 4001 W. McNichols Road in Detroit on the McNichols Campus of University of Detroit Mercy.

Junior Registration.

Adult Registration.

Family Registration.


Professor of History and Department Co-Chair Roy E. Finkenbine gave a talk on “What Caused the Civil War?” to the Michigan Regimental Round Table at the Farmington Community Library.

The talk discussed the many factors attributed to be causes of the Civil War and why slavery was the real cause.

2024 Commencement: Download photos, watch replays and more

Congratulations, Class of 2024!

The world gained new Titans with more than 1,000 University of Detroit Mercy graduates receiving their diplomas across four different Commencement ceremonies May 10-11 inside Calihan Hall on the McNichols Campus.

Watch replays of the ceremonies through the University’s YouTube channel.

Click here for a full array of photos from each of the ceremonies, as well as the Multicultural Graduation and other ceremonies.

For full profiles, programs, replays and more from 2024 Commencement, visit udmercy.edu/commencement.

Titan commitment honored at 2024 Spotlight on Excellence awards
Seven people pose for a photos, three holding lamps, in front of a blue University of Detroit Mercy backdrop, inside of the Student Union.
From left to right with President Donald Taylor: Karla Lewis, Arthur Ko, Megan Novell receive mission awards, and Pam Zarkowski and Diane Praet are honored for their 45 years of service to the University.

Dozens of members of the University of Detroit Mercy community were honored Monday during the 2024 Spotlight on Excellence awards ceremony inside of the Student Union Ballroom on the McNichols Campus.

The University acknowledged the contributions and achievements of the faculty, staff, administrators and retirees during the ceremony.

Among those honored were Administrative Assistant in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Jane Schley for 50 years of service, Provost Pam Zarkowski and Associate Vice President/University Registrar Diane Praet for 45 years of service to the University and dozens more people who are marking 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10-year milestones.

The 2024 Faculty Recognition Awards went to:

  • Faculty Excellence Award — Claudia Bernasconi, Professor, School of Architecture & Community Development
  • Faculty Achievement Award — Nadine Wodwaski, Associate Professor, Nursing, College of Health Professions & McAuley School of Nursing
  • Jesuit Community Faculty Stipend — Rosemary Weatherston, Associate Professor, English Department; Erin Henze, Associate Professor, Psychology Department; Rachel Lee, Assistant Professor, Psychology Department; Sarah Rowe, Assistant Professor, Psychology Department

Earning the 2024 Commitment to Excellence Awards were:

  • Rising Star Award — Dwayne Arnett, Helpdesk Technician, ITS
  • Commitment to Excellence Staff Award — Lalisha Griffin, Administrative Assistant, Biology, College of Engineering & Science
  • Commitment to Excellence Administrator Award — Tyra Dahlerup, Executive Director of Admissions, Admissions & Recruitment

Receiving the 2024 Mission Leadership Awards were:

  • Agere ex Missione Staff Award — Karla Lewis, Administrative Assistant to the Dean, College of Engineering & Science
  • Agere ex Missione Administrator Award — Megan Novell, Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Compliance Specialist, Co-Director of Women’s and Gender Studies
  • Agere ex Missione Faculty Award — Arthur Ko, Associate Professor, College of Health Professions & McAuley School of Nursing

Visit udmercy.edu for a full list of honorees and award winners.

Full photos from Spotlight on Excellence.

Tickets available for PGA Tour’s 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic

A collage of photos featuring people and the private suite at PGA Tour's Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

For the sixth-straight year, the PGA Tour returns to Detroit for the 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic, which will be held June 27-30 at the Detroit Golf Club.

University of Detroit Mercy is offering the Titans and the community several ticketing options for the tournament, including a discounted rate for private suite tickets next to green of hole No. 15.

Suite tickets are only $250 for each day of the tournament, Thursday through Sunday. General admission tickets range from $65-80. Suite tickets include complimentary food and beverages.

A portion of the ticket price is a tax-deductible gift to Detroit Mercy Students Scholarships. Since 2019, UDM’s partnership with the Rocket Mortgage Classic has helped raise more than $45,000 for scholarships.

This year’s field includes defending champion Rickie Fowler, along with Will Zalatoris and Tom Kim, with more commitments yet to be announced.

More information/purchase tickets!

Open pickleball set for Tuesdays, Thursdays in May

Faculty, staff and guests are welcome to open pickleball at the Student Fitness Center every Tuesday and Thursday, 5-6 p.m., during the month of May!

Paddles and balls will be provided for the matches.

For more information please contact Mike Wynn Jr. at wynnmi@udmercy.edu or 313-993-1782.

A graphic featuring a pickleball racket and ball and players. Text reads, Faculty and Staff Open Pickleball, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-6 p.m., paddles and balls provided, Student Fitness Center, wynnmi@udmercy.edu, 313-993-1782.

Summer volunteering opportunities are available with TENN

Looking for volunteer hours over the summer, while also making a different in our community?

Join Detroit Mercy’s Titan Equity Nourish Network in delivering produce to our neighbors and in our garden. Produce deliveries are Monday and Friday, while garden days are throughout the summer.

Sign-up for Monday’s deliveries, which are every other week 12-2 p.m.

Sign-up for Friday’s deliveries, which are every other week 10 a.m. to noon.

Sign-up to help in the garden.

With any questions, please contact Chelsea Manning by email at mannincp@udmercy.edu.

A graphic featuring photos of the Titan Equity Nourish Network, including the produce deliveries and garden. Text reads, Summer Volunteers Needed, Join us in the garden and delivering produce to our neighbors, for more info, email tenn@udmercy.edu.

Earn $40 through Detroit Mercy’s mental health study

Detroit Mercy students, staff and faculty can earn $40 through a mental health study at the University. The Department of Psychology is looking for participants for the study.

To qualify, you must be 18 or older, have experienced a traumatic event and have the ability to complete questionnaires and interview about current mental health symptoms in English. Each in-person appointment will take approximately 60-90 minutes.

Participants will be asked to fill out a few self-report questionnaires relating to traumatic experiences, relationships, emotions and coping. They’ll also be asked to participate in a confidential videotaped clinical interview regarding traumatic experiences.

The study will use the information to help clinicians diagnose trauma-related conditions and design better programs for people who have experienced traumatic events.

Please call 313-993-1486 or email Katelyn Lowe at loweke@udmercy.edu with any questions or to see if you may quality for the study.

New Rocket Mortgage benefit helps home buyers

Detroit Mercy community, homeownership may be closer than you think with ONE+ by Rocket Mortgage, which is a new and affordable low down payment option.

With ONE+, you can put down 1% and Rocket Mortgage will cover the other 2%, giving you all the benefits of a 3% down payment. You can take advantage of even more savings because you don’t have to pay the mortgage insurance, either.

Who is eligible for ONE+?

ONE+ is for first-time home buyers and repeat home buyers who make less than or equal to 80% of the area median income (AMI) of the location they’re buying in. It’s available for purchase loans and can’t be combined with other promotions.

Visit VIP.RocketMortgage.com/DetroitMercy or call 866-378-6088 to get started.

A graphic featuring two people holding boxes. Text reads, Homeownership may only be a 1% down payment away, Homeownership may be closer than you think with ONE+ by Rocket Mortgage, a new affordable low down payment option.

Job opportunity: Work in Office of Admissions this summer

Detroit Mercy’s Office of Admissions has two positions available for the summer: Tour Guides and Welcome Desk Associates.

For more information or to apply, please email Darrius Hicks at hicksdm5@udmercy.edu.

A graphic featuring two students in an office setting. Text reads, Work in Admissions This Summer, We're Hiring Tour Guides and Welcome Desk Associates, To apply, email Darrius Hicks at hicksdm5@udmercy.edu.

Class of ’24: Co-Valedictorian ready to care for world as Pre-Med graduate

MacKenzie Patterson smiles and stands inside St. Ignatius Chapel.

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

MacKenzie Patterson’s life and what she wanted to do with it was transformed when she was 11 years old.

That was when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Patterson witnessed first-hand the great care that doctors provided her mom.

Fast-forward to her senior year at University of Detroit Mercy, and Patterson is on the doorstep of realizing the dream of becoming like the doctor that helped her mom.

Patterson, one of the Class of 2024 Valedictorians, will graduate Saturday with a Biology degree and is preparing for the next step in her educational journey: Medical school.

“I just remember feeling pretty grateful to my mom’s doctor,” Patterson said. “I heard amazing things about her dermatologist and how thorough she was, and the cancer was a really tiny spot. She caught it and took really good care of my mom during the process.

“That’s when I became more interested in medicine and science. I just wanted to become like her and helping patients like my mom and improving overall quality of life.”

Patterson, from a small town outside of Buffalo, N.Y., initially visited the University because of an opportunity to run track and field for the Titans. Before visiting, she was looking at schools close to home and her family but reconsidered after touring UDM.

“Before Detroit Mercy sent me that email, I had never considered running on a Division I track and field team, but after visiting, it forced me to reconsider my college options and open myself up to new opportunities,” Patterson said. “When I toured here, I liked that it was a small campus, small class sizes, professors know you by name, the track and field scholarship and I had the opportunity to be a Pre-Med student.

“That one visit changed my path, and I may even argue, my life.”

Patterson said Detroit Mercy became a second home the moment she stepped onto the McNichols Campus as a freshman. She attended an outdoor Mass hosted by University Ministry during her first week at UDM and she’s been involved with the organization since.

“I just instantly felt welcomed by Ministry, I felt like they were going to be the people I would be spending a lot of time with,” Patterson said. “I met my best friend Hannah there, we sang together at Mass, and that’s a friendship that’s going to be part of my life forever. 

“I feel like in a sense Ministry has become my family away from home.”

Patterson immersed herself in a lot of other activities during her time at Detroit Mercy, too.

In addition to being a track and field student-athlete and involved with University Ministry, Patterson is a member of Gamma Phi Beta, Zeta Nu Chapter and the Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society, as well as the MEDLIFE student organization, which raises money for medicine, education and development projects in underdeveloped countries.

“When I first came here, I didn’t know anybody,” she said. “I feel like the Detroit Mercy community has really become my home; the people have been amazing to be surrounded by. I’ve had a lot of good experiences.”

While she volunteered at a cancer institute and alongside physicians, nurses and other medical professionals in high school to further her interest in health and medicine, Detroit Mercy has offered her the opportunity to fully prepare for a life in the medical field through her academics.

Patterson said that professors such as Michelle Andrzejak, Klaus Friedrich, Greg Grabowski, Jacob Kagey, among others, in the College of Engineering & Science have been integral with their time, support and encouragement.

“Dr. Friedrich met with me almost every day of the week to tutor me, he’d meet with me over Zoom to try and explain something to me,” Patterson said. “I’ve had a lot of amazing professors like that. I feel well-prepared for medical school because the classes are set up in a way where you’re kind of preparing for it.

“The way they teach, it seems synonymous with how med school will be, especially with some of the research assignments they give us to do.”

Beyond the professors, the UDM community impacted Patterson, including Dan Greig and Anna Lawler in Ministry and Si Hendry, S.J., among others.

“There’s been a lot of people here who have believed in me even when I wasn’t sure I could do it, people who have rooted me on throughout my education here,” Patterson said. “There’s a lot of those connections that I’m going to miss when I graduate from here.”

Patterson said she felt the Jesuit and Mercy values and mission throughout her UDM career.

“I liked the individualized care aspect of it,” she said. “It really does show through courses and how staff and faculty conduct themselves, you can tell that our University is really grounded in its mission. We’re trying to actively better our community.”

Patterson started her UDM career during COVID and arrived in Detroit not knowing anyone on campus. She’ll leave with lasting relationships, a degree that prepared her for the next step in her life and the distinction of being a valedictorian.

“The fact that UDM chooses a valedictorian using a ‘whole person’ concept, not solely on academic achievement, lends to the entire experience I’ve had on campus and the person I’ve been molded to become,” she reflected. “Receiving this privilege is a reminder that anything is possible.” 

From early days Patterson, the oldest of four children who grew up in a military household with her dad being deployed multiple times throughout her childhood, was a caretaker helping with her younger siblings.

Her interest in caretaking was then strengthened by watching the care her mom received and volunteering at a cancer center shortly thereafter.

Now, with a college career full of new experiences and an education preparing her for medical school, Patterson is ready to care for the world at large.

“When I decided to attend Detroit Mercy, I had no idea if I was making the right decision, but now I know with certainty that I was meant to be at Detroit Mercy,” she said. “I don’t know if it was luck or fate, but Detroit Mercy saw something in me that I had not yet seen in myself.

“Looking forward, I can only hope to repay that kindness by going out into the world and showing them what a Titan can give.”

— By Adam Bouton. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

Class of ’24: First-Gen, Pre-Law grad felt supported by Detroit Mercy

Jacob Yasso stands smiling inside of the Gardella Honors House with stained glass windows behind him.

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

Jacob Yasso didn’t know if a four-year college was for him.

His high school guidance counselor suggested that he should possibly try the community college route first to see if college was the right call.

That’s when a University of Detroit Mercy Admissions counselor visited his school.

“He looked at my transcript and he said, ‘you’re in.’ I was really kind of shook, I didn’t think that I would get in anywhere,” Yasso said. “All of my friends were applying, touring and putting in applications and I was really behind. I guess I was considered a late applicant, but Detroit Mercy didn’t make me feel like I was late at all.”

Two people stand indoors smiling, one wearing graduation gown and cap and the other wearing a suit.
Jacob Yasso (right), with Genevieve Meyers.

Flash-forward to May 2024 and Yasso confidently says he made the right call in choosing Detroit Mercy. Yasso will be the first in his family to graduate from college when he walks across the Calihan Hall stage May 11 to receive his Political Science, Pre-Law degree.

UDM answered every question Yasso had from the start, helping him fill out his FAFSA, assisting with scholarships and just being there for him.

Matt Fortescue, the UDM Admissions counselor who visited his high school, Henry Ford II in Sterling Heights, also identified Yasso as a candidate to be a tour guide at UDM. Yasso was able to feel at home during his freshman year of 2020-21 — in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — because of his tour guide job.

“Matt recommending me for that position already made me feel like I was at home because he knew me so little, but he saw my potential,” Yasso said.

If he hadn’t felt at home before, he did during the first week of classes, which were held online due to the pandemic. Sitting in a parking lot outside of the Fisher Building on the McNichols Campus, Yasso found out he was the only student who hadn’t taken a quiz in Associate Professor of Political Science Genevieve Meyers’ Basic Government class.

He didn’t even realize there was a quiz. What happened next was a turning point.

“Professor Meyers said, ‘it’s okay, thank you for your honesty and I’ll reopen it for you,’” Yasso reflected. “And I thought, ‘this is going to work out for me the next four years.’

“That’s really when I became more comfortable with my studies, I really started to care about my work and do better and now my grades are much better than they were in high school.”

The caring gesture from Meyers was a theme Yasso saw throughout his time at Detroit Mercy: The supportiveness of many throughout the UDM community, from Financial Aid, Student Life and Admissions to many staff and faculty in the College of Liberal Arts & Education and many more.

That care began the day Fortescue visited his high school.

“Everyone has been so supportive, otherwise I don’t think that I would be here right now.”

Starting as a tour guide, Yasso became involved in much more during his Detroit Mercy tenure, joining the Honors Program, Political Science Student Association, Chaldean American Student Association and Student Alumni Leadership Council, and serving as an ambassador for his college and in Admissions, in addition to many other activities.

Yasso was director of freshman orientation during the summer of 2023 before his senior year. He said it was by far one of the best experiences during college.

Jacob Yasso stands next to a Detroit Mercy backdrop.Academically, Yasso started as a Theatre major but switched to Pre-Law, which he says fits him well. Theatre actually helped get him there.

“Every stage you step on is a stage for justice, no matter what show you’re doing,” he said. “That’s how I got there into law was from theatre. I was always argumentative and my theatre teacher in high school taught us about intersections of theatre in law.” 

He said partaking in the moot courts — even during COVID — only solidified his ambitions of becoming a lawyer one day.

“My first year I had Intro to Law with Victoria Mantzopoulos, and she found a way to let us do a Moot Court online during COVID and she asked me to serve as the judge,” he said. “It was a really fun experience for me even though I was at home. We did at least one-to-two every year.”

Yasso said that his Literature minor also had a big impact on him, especially as he prepares for law school.

“Reading a lot of older literature books with diverse voices, it helps you articulate your ideas and write better, which is great for law school,” he said. “My literature minor is something that I’m proud of.”

He said he felt the Jesuit and Mercy values embedded throughout his course work, and not only in the community service classes each UDM student is required to take.

“These pillars that we have opened up our eyes to new possibilities and I think my career goal may be law school, but a real-life goal is a utilitarianist idea of creating the most happiness for the most amount of people,” he said.

Yasso, who has two older brothers who are also considering college, is following the lead of his parents in the way that he attacks each day.

“I watched them work hard during their lives and be successful and I just try and mimic that, working hard,” he said. “They wanted me to go to college, but if I didn’t, you obviously have to work. It motivates me every day.

“It’s definitely very special for my parents.”

A fixture for nearly four years to hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective students, parents, alumni and many others as a tour guide, leader and face of the University, Yasso is glad he decided to attend UDM even if his first tour of campus was a little terrifying.

“The initial tour was scary, I think most people would be nervous going on a campus tour,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect from a college campus as a first-generation student, I didn’t even know where the Admissions office was.

“But Detroit Mercy definitely helped me figure out my way.”

— By Adam Bouton. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.


College of Health Professors and McAuley School of Nursing Assistant Professor Ashlee Barnes was selected as the winner for the Distinguished Alumni Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence. She was honored May 8 at Oakland University.

The Nightingale Awards honored 10 winners in 10 different nursing categories. The nominees were nominated by peers and supervisors and were recognized as exceptional nursing leaders in their community.


Assistant Director for Educational Development at the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning Erin Bell has published a reflection of her study abroad trip to Cuba with University of Detroit Mercy in Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education.

You can read “Encountering Cuban radical hospitality” here.

Class of ’24: Business grad uses empathy to measure success

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

As a child of immigrants living in upstate New York post 9/11, Nisha Miah saw the effects of racism and financial uncertainty her parents endured, and the toll it took on their mental health.

“As a child I wasn’t supposed to see certain things, and I wasn’t supposed to experience certain emotions, but I did,” she said, recalling those years. “I witnessed things that I knew my friends did not see, because my friends didn’t have to deal with them.”

Miah’s tumultuous upbringing has led her to a deep sense of empathy for people and has shaped who she is today. While exploring colleges, Miah, who goes by Ivy, said, “I was looking for a very specific type of university, one that would cater to my long history of nonprofit work and volunteering.”

A Business Administration major with a minor in Leadership, Miah “wanted my education to actually be utilized in the real world. It didn’t matter whether I studied business, political science, even art; whatever I chose to study, I wanted to be sure the knowledge I gained could be used for some force for good.”

When she read University of Detroit Mercy’s  mission statement and vision during her college search, she knew it was where she needed to be.

“I was led to apply because there were so many niche opportunities that really aligned with what I wanted to do,” she said.

“When I talk to prospective students one on one, I ask them, ‘what is your definition of success?’ Then I tell them to take that definition and completely erase any idea they have of success — whether it be that CEO position, working at Google, making a certain amount of money — and think of success as your own personal development and growth.”

The way Miah sees it, UDM requires students to become a member of the community, which is a good thing.

“I think that that forcefulness is something that opens students’ eyes to a whole new perspective. Here, students gain a sense of humility, understanding their privileges and understanding the concept of empathy, which is critical during the time of university where you’re actually developing that frontal lobe and developing who you are.”

When speaking to prospective students at Visit Day, Miah tells them, “If you want to see the knowledge acquired be a force for good, I truly cannot recommend any other place than right here, because it’s not only encouraged, but each professor I have had ensures that their curriculum has some type of ethical component to it.

“Professors make sure that it’s 1% textbook, 99% projects/real-world simulations, making you do things outside of the classroom that apply those concepts of business to the real world.”

Those real-world simulations have translated into competitions in which Miah has participated throughout her time at UDM.

During her freshman year, she participated in the Michigan Colleges Alliance MC3 competition and devised an educational game to teach financial literacy to low-income Detroit youth.

“I was playing the ‘Sims’ video game at the time and thought it would be a great idea if this was educational, because people of all ages are obsessed with ‘Sims.'” Her team worked the entire year, partnering with a local nonprofit to create a business proposal for “Cashtopia,” a simulated video game in which elementary school students create an avatar that is taught financial literacy through game play. As that avatar grows older, it learns more advanced concepts of financial literacy. Her team won third place overall in the state of Michigan.

Another competition she took part in recently was the International Business Ethics and Sustainability Competition, where she and her team went to Los Angeles and competed against 33 global universities. Miah took first place in the category of 90-second presentation, while her team took second place in the 25-minute presentation category.

When asked what she learned most about her community service work, she’s quick to answer. “Empathy. And acknowledging the importance of humility and the importance of wisdom. These are the three canons that I learned very quickly would dictate my life.”

However, she does not like to call her community service ‘volunteering.’

“This is my job as a human being,” she said. “This is my job as somebody who’s supposed to care for my global community. I would have nothing if it were not for the other members of society. The clothes I wear were sewn by somebody in a country that I will never ever go to. The food I have was made by farmers who are paid 25 cents a day. Everything I have is from the hands of another. So, I don’t see this as volunteering. I see it as my duty as a human citizen of this earth to you, another human citizen.”

Upon graduation, Miah plans to secure a job with a nonprofit while also pursuing her master’s or Ph.D., which she would like to do at UDM. Public speaking is also in her wheelhouse, and she has a passion for it. “I’ve done it my whole life,” she said.

Her hopes and dreams for the future are truly multifaceted and are connected to helping people and her community, which stands at the heart of the UDM mission.

“I would love to be an intellectual and academic one day, somebody who is able to teach others and open their eyes to experiences that are far beyond their own experiences and instill that idea of humility, the importance of wisdom, and the number one thing, empathy,” she said. “I’m hoping to be the person who can impart those positive, powerful tenets for change.”

Her idea of success may not be typical of young people graduating from college.

“It does not look like the ideal: a big house, a nice car,” she said. “My idea of success is having made an impact on the people around me, the people that love me and care for me, and having developed beautiful relationships and connections.”

— By Julie A. Erwin. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

Class of ’24: Far from home, Architecture student looks to tomorrow

Iryna Olkhovetska stands in front of a series of designs and pictures located on the wall inside of the School of Architecture + Community Development.

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

“Starting life anew in a foreign country is not an easy task,” said Iryna Olkhovetska. The native of Lviv in western Ukraine will graduate from University of Detroit Mercy May 11 with a master’s degree in Architecture.

Iryna OlkhovetskaOlkhovetska is a first-generation college student, who made the difficult decision with her family to leave their home in Ukraine and move to the United States in search of a brighter future six years ago. Today, she is proud to be an American citizen. More importantly, she embraces her identity as both a Ukrainian and American and strives to honor her roots while building a future in the land of opportunity.

Upon arriving in the U.S. and joining her parents, Olkhovetska enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to learn a language she had little experience with.

Though apprehensive by what seemed like daunting steps to apply to any university, she chose UDM because of the tight-knit, community-type atmosphere. Before leaving Ukraine, she had completed her bachelor’s degree in Architecture in Ukraine and found that the one year the MCD program required was a great selling point over other universities with traditional two- or three-year master’s degree programs.

“What makes UDM special is the architecture student’s explosion into the field,” she said.  “Students hit the ground running from the outset. On day one of class, students are required to introduce and then defend their thesis/idea on a small, paper-sized poster before an audience of classmates and professors.”

Olkhovetska recalls being terrified at this task of presenting her ideas to people who were basically strangers. She remarks on how astonishing it felt nine months later when she not only presented an elaborate thesis but defended it with poise and confidence.

She is passionate about her thesis, “Paradigm Shift: Rethinking the Notion of Detroit’s Suburban Neighborhoods by Exploring European-Inspired Design Strategies.”

“This topic is very close to my heart as an immigrant who moved to the Detroit suburbs and was struck by the stark differences from the more vibrant, community-oriented neighborhoods I was used to back home,” she said.

She notes that her thesis is “a heartfelt plea for a more human-centric approach to urban planning, one that recognizes the deep impact our built environment has on our quality of life. I want to use my skills and passion to create a better world, one neighborhood at a time.”

In her experience relocating from Ukraine to a Detroit suburb, Olkhovetska said, “I was amazed by the car-centric design, lack of walkability and absence of lively public spaces compared to the mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly communities I grew up with.”

It piqued her curiosity and motivated her to explore European design strategies such as prioritizing walkability with well-connected street grids, neighborhoods centered around lively public squares, parks that foster social interaction and investment in robust public transit networks to reduce car dependency, all of which could potentially transform the quality of life and sustainability of Detroit’s suburban neighborhoods.

“My goal was to show how even auto-centric suburbs could evolve into more inclusive, sustainable, and inspiring places through strategic urban design interventions,” she said.

“If the opportunity presents itself I would love to apply some of these concepts to my work at Fishbeck,” she added.

Fishbeck is a Michigan-based architecture and engineering firm, where she will intern on the healthcare team working on design strategies for hospitals and labs. She landed this opportunity after a mock interview in a professional environment preparation class as part of her curriculum at UDM.  “I’m optimistic that we’re at a paradigm-shifting moment for Detroit-area suburbs, and I am eager to contribute through research and practice.”

Outside of her classwork, Olkhovetska is also an artist who uses her talent to support her war-torn homeland. A group of women from the Ukrainian community in the Detroit area created a nonprofit organization called Ukrainian Girls Help Together, and she has played an active role in the organization.

The group comprises a talented cast skilled in beading, T-shirt printing, and jewelry making as well as communication and networking. Olkhovetska initially added her paintings to the handmade products of group members who sell at various Ukrainian exhibitions and events. Her participation in this group has evolved into teaching art classes and donating her earnings to the group. Girls Help Together supports not only Ukraine’s military but also its orphanages, homes for the elderly, and even animal shelters.

“I am incredibly proud of these girls because, despite our busy lives, we remain committed to our common goal and continue working tirelessly toward it,” she said.

At an early age, Olkhovetska knew her future would involve creativity, and in high school, she developed a clear interest in the exact sciences.

“I believe that my creative soul and precise mind are perfectly suited for a career in architecture, where I can combine my passion for design with my analytical skills,” she said. “Architecture is so fascinating. If it’s new, it’s not boring because I’m learning. I’m exploring something new.”

Her next steps include obtaining her architecture license. She is grateful for the help of her professors who aided her on this journey. She also appreciates the dedication of her adviser, Wladek Fuchs, and program director Claudia Bernasconi, under whose guidance she was able to blend her “creative and technical instincts.”

To prospective UDM students, Olkhovetska offers some advice: “Don’t be afraid to seek help; just ask for it. Part of the distinctiveness of UDM community is not only its professors, but also the students, where everybody helps each other. Communication is key,” she says. “There is nothing you can’t solve together.”

By Julie A. Erwin. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

UDM partners with Kaplan to offer students free test prep for graduate-level admissions and licensing exams

A student studies in front of a book case in the McNichols Campus Library.University of Detroit Mercy announced today that a new partnership with global educational services provider Kaplan is now providing all of its students with free test prep courses for graduate-level admissions exams, including the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT and DAT, and free test prep for professional licensing exams including the bar exam, INBDE, NCLEX-RN exam, and Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. Additionally, students can prepare for a number of business and financial-focused products for free.

The new partnership aims to improve matriculation to graduate and professional schools, improve professional licensing passage rates, and improve employability for UDM graduates.

By investing in Kaplan’s All Access License, colleges and universities can help their students prepare for a variety of high-stakes admissions and licensing exams that they need to score well on to reach their ultimate professional goals — with zero out-of-pocket costs for students. Kaplan has prepared students for standardized tests for more than 85 years, and UDM is Kaplan’s latest All Access partner.

“This partnership supports UDM’s Jesuit and Mercy mission by providing another transformative, student-centered opportunity to prepare for these challenging examinations without the worry of cost for these services,” said Pamela Zarkowski, UDM provost and vice president for academic affairs.“As a result, University of Detroit Mercy students are one step closer to becoming competent, compassionate leaders ready to serve in a vulnerable world.”  

“Kaplan’s All Access comprehensive course offerings are going to deliver a career path-changing experience to University of Detroit Mercy students and we’re proud to work with the school’s administration to make this a reality,” said Kim Canning, vice president of university partnerships, Kaplan.“By becoming an All Access partner, UDM is demonstrating that they are committed to their students’ long-term success and see in them the leaders of tomorrow in a wide variety of industries, from business to law to medicine, and beyond.

“Kaplan’s All Access License breaks down barriers and instead creates pathways for students striving to excel on crucial exams. We can’t wait to have UDM students in our classrooms soon to help them jump start the next phases of their life journeys.”

UDM students who are interested in enrolling in a Kaplan course should contact their academic advisor.

Celebrate seven Jesuits in Metro Detroit making milestone anniversaries, May 18

Photos of seven Fathers, with text at the top reading, 2024 Detroit Jesuit Jubilarians, additional text reading, Fr. Justin Kelly, SJ (70 years in the Society), Fr. Leo Cachat, SJ (70 years in the Society), Fr. Robert Scullin, SJ (60 years in the Society), Fr. Cyril Whitaker, SJ (25 years in the Society), Fr. Robert Flack, SJ (50 Years in the Priesthood), Fr. Patrick Kelly, SJ (25 years in the Priesthood) and Fr. Lorn Snow, SJ (25 years in the Priesthood).Help celebrate seven Jesuits in Metro Detroit who are marking milestone anniversaries of service to the Society of Jesus at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18 inside of the Ballroom of the Student Union.

From parish work to education and care for the vulnerable, these seven men—and the seven ministries serving Metro Detroit—have positively affected countless lives.

The seven being honored are Fr. Justin Kelly, SJ (70 years in the Society), Fr. Leo Cachat, SJ (70 years in the Society), Fr. Robert Scullin, SJ (60 years in the Society), Fr. Cyril Whitaker, SJ (25 years in the Society), Fr. Robert Flack, SJ (50 Years in the Priesthood), Fr. Patrick Kelly, SJ (25 years in the Priesthood) and Fr. Lorn Snow, SJ (25 years in the Priesthood).

Family, friends, parishioners, students, alumni, colleagues, collaborators, and all who have been touched by the gift of Ignatian spirituality are invited to express gratitude to these dedicated men, and to join in honoring the legacy of our seven Jesuit ministries.

The Society of Jesus has been active in Detroit since 1877.

Let’s celebrate “Jesuit Detroit” together this Pentecost weekend!

For more information/register!

Class of ’24: Law grad continues family legacy after leaving HR role

Two people stand outdoors next to University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Riverfront Campus sign.

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

Being a lawyer is in Kevin Lynch’s blood.

His father, mother, a pair of uncles, an aunt and grandfather have all worked as attorneys.

“There actually was sort of this built-in path of going to law school,” Lynch said. “I knew that I had a lot of family members who had done well at it. But I never wanted to choose it just for that reason.”

“If I was going to do it, I wanted to have my own reason to do it.”

That reason was Lynch’s favorite part of his previous career: working with attorneys.

He spent nearly a decade in human resources and worked with outside counsel in his role.

“I always thought that was neat,” Lynch said. “They were leading the show, and I was more in an assisting role in HR. I liked their job and I thought, ‘I want to do that job.’

“So, I ultimately made the decision to go to law school on that basis.”

Three years later, Lynch will graduate from University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Law on May 10. He is set to join Butzel Long in September as an associate in the firm’s labor and employment group.

Lynch chose Detroit Mercy Law for a variety of reasons. He wanted to work in the Detroit area and remain in southeast Michigan, where his family is located. His father, Terrance Lynch ’83, is a Detroit Mercy Law graduate, and he enjoyed the friendly atmosphere from the campus community during a tour.

Having lots of family connections to law was helpful when Lynch made the leap to attend law school.

“I think it gave me confidence that this was a good decision, sort of a tried-and-true one for my family,” he said. “They just had all kinds of advice. I think that’s part of what led me to Detroit Mercy, because I knew my dad had a great career, and he did it through going to Detroit Mercy. I wouldn’t have known that reputation but for him.”

Lynch dedicated his Detroit Mercy Law experience to Law Review, where he served as editor-in-chief the past academic year. He oversaw Law Review’s annual symposium and had an article published in its winter 2024 issue. The article, Beyond Right-to-Work’s Repeal: Examining Other Reforms to Michigan Labor Law, had ties to his days in human resources.

“Law Review was my life for the last couple years, and that was deliberate,” Lynch said. “I didn’t take on anything additional outside of that, just because it’s a huge commitment. It’s humbling how much work is involved with it and you really need to give it your full dedication, I think, to do it right.”

Lynch’s career in human resources consistently intertwined with law.

His first job in the field was at a small employment law firm that did human resources consulting with companies. In that role, he investigated employment disputes.

From there, Lynch took a job in the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation’s (SMART) human resources department as a labor and employment specialist, where he worked with attorneys.

Those interactions piqued his interest, and around two years before starting law school, Lynch said he started thinking about making a move: Go all-in on human resources or study law?

“I ended up taking a transfer within the company to another area of HR, recruiting, and I didn’t like it,” he said. “The idea in taking the role was to explore another area of HR, and it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t meaty enough for me.

“It’s really important getting good people in your company, but after a while, it became pretty routine for me. I like big, complex puzzles, I don’t want to just keep repeating the same thing week in and week out.”

Going to law school after already being established in a career was crucial for his success, he said.

“I needed it. I did not have the discipline coming out of undergrad to be successful in law school,” Lynch said. “It’s tough. Going to law school is the hardest thing I ever did.”

Lynch worked for Butzel Long as a summer associate last year and is happy to be returning to start his career. Working in the firm’s labor and employment group is a full circle moment, he said, after so many years in human resources.

“I actually worked with one of the guys at Butzel when I was in SMART,” he said. “I used to be his client; now, I’m his coworker.”

Lynch feels properly equipped for his next journey as a lawyer. He appreciates the breadth of his law education and enjoys the direct experience he gained at Detroit Mercy Law.

“My favorite moments at Detroit Mercy have been hands-on and clinics,” he said. “We got to do mock trials and try out doing different oral arguments. I was in the Federal Pro Se Clinic, so I got to work with real clients, actually doing some employment law stuff. It wasn’t just that I got to work with clients, but it’s also in the field I’m going into. I got some really good opportunities to do some lawyering.

“Beyond that, the reason I came here is also turning out to be true: It’s set me up for success in Detroit and in Michigan.”

For Lynch, his Detroit Mercy Law experience and all that has come from it has been beyond his wildest dreams.

“I didn’t see it coming,” Lynch said. “I knew I was going to try my hardest to get as much as I could out of this. I’m just so grateful for how it turned out. Really, I just feel lucky.”

— By Ricky Lindsay. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

Call for Commencement volunteers on Saturday, May 11

Titans, if you are available Saturday, May 11, the University could use your help!

The Commencement Planning Committee is looking for dependable students and employees to help make Commencement Day 2024 a special event for graduates and their families. There are many opportunities to volunteer!

Employees who volunteer receive Presidential Hours in exchange for your time, and lunch is provided. This opportunity is available to employees from the School of Law and McNichols campuses. Volunteers are needed at various times May 11 for the following events:

  • Baccalaureate Mass (Student Union Ballroom) — 8:30 a.m.
  • Undergraduate Student Commencement Ceremony — 11:30 a.m.
  • Outdoor Undergraduate Reception (Fountain Area) — Immediately following ceremony
  • Graduate Student Commencement Ceremony (Calihan Hall) — 3:30 p.m.
  • Outdoor Graduate Reception (Fountain Area) — Immediately following ceremony
How do I volunteer?

Check out available slots/times and register to volunteer on our Sign-up Genius. Contact Arneshia Austin, Alysa Jackson or Emily Johnson for additional information.

Volunteer meeting

All volunteers are required to attend a mandatory meeting Tuesday, May 7 at 1 p.m. via Zoom.

Dress Code

Employee volunteers are asked to dress in business casual and/or Detroit Mercy gear. A volunteer name badge will be provided at check-in, which is located in the Athletics Office in Calihan Hall.

Presidential Hours

As a thank you for volunteering, an employee who is not already being pair to work by the University on May 11 will receive Presidential hours to use at an agreed-upon time with your supervisor before December 31, 2024.

THANK YOU for supporting this exciting day for our University community!

Ten people in graduation outfits smile for a photo outdoors underneath a large balloon display.

Join colleagues for A Time to Breathe, May 10

Pause the workday and join fellow Detroit Mercy colleagues for “A Time to Breathe,” on Friday, May 10 from 12-1 p.m. in the Student Union, Room 208.

A Time to Breathe is a time of reflection and sharing and those attending may bring their own lunch if they wish to eat during the gathering.

This opportunity is for all Detroit Mercy staff and faculty to step away from the business of the workday to just take the time to breathe and build community with colleagues.

To register, please email Judy Wernette at wernetjm@udmercy.edu and indicate “A Time to Breathe” in the subject line.

Class of ’24: Helping create a healthier community is her goal

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

Afsana Uddin wears a white coat in a selfie photo.Afsana Uddin has been attending classes at University of Detroit Mercy since 2012.

“I’ve grown up here,” she joked.

This year, she will graduate with a doctorate in Nursing Practice, after having earned a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a graduate degree in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Uddin’s parents emigrated to the United States from Bangladesh and didn’t have a high school education. She is the third of their three children to receive an advanced degree and their first to receive a doctorate. She followed her two sisters to Detroit Mercy, where her nephews are also students.

“There were so many factors as to why I chose Detroit Mercy,” said the native of northwest Detroit. “I liked the closeness, I loved that we’re embedded in the city of Detroit, I like the small campus because we have access to professors and other resources to help us.”

But it was the service learning programs that truly inspired her. Her participation in the Fresh Incentive program helped her see that good health starts long before a person needs a doctor.

“When you work in the community, you get to see and be exposed to things you didn’t know about and that can affect a person’s health,” Uddin said. “And it meant a lot that we were working right in the Fitzgerald neighborhood.”

Fresh Incentives began at Eastern Market and delivered fresh fruits and vegetables to people in Detroit neighborhoods who don’t have ready access to healthy foods. Funding through the Ford Community Corps Foundation paid to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables expand the program to the Fitzgerald neighborhood.

Access to food and education on taking care of your health are the two largest barriers to eating well.

“Going into this, we thought that access to food would be a major deterrent,” Uddin said for a story about the early days of the program. “We are learning that education is a big part of that as well.”

She expanded the work for her doctoral studies, introducing physical activity modules to get people moving. It was the first project where students entered the homes of the people they serve and it was eye-opening to her.

The results were very positive. People lost weight, which led to benefits like lower blood pressure and the ability to exercise more. Working in homes led to connections and students, led by Uddin, expanded goals to decreasing intake of soda and salty snacks. They created a map of the many farmers markets nearby so people knew where to go to get fresh food.

“There were positive outcomes on so many different levels,” she said. “It is a really important program.”

Uddin hopes to introduce the model to the home care company she has worked at for two years.

When not in class as a student, Uddin serves as an adjunct professor in the College of Health Professions.

Her passion for spreading the word about healthy eating to populations that don’t have that history has been a very welcome surprise.

“I originally had no plans about doing something like this,” she said. “But I’m so glad it found me.”

— By Ron Bernas. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

Class of ’24: Dental grad says faith, ‘random angels’ led her way

Eight people, posing for a photo and smiling and some holding up peace signs, stand outside in front of a building.

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

Maria Latorre Sanchez came to Detroit to follow her dream of becoming a dentist. In addition, she found a close-knit community that supported her during the hardest time of her life and helped her to dream bigger.

Latorre Sanchez earned an undergraduate degree in Florida before applying to dental schools. She didn’t know much about Detroit or Detroit Mercy’s School of Dentistry, but the word from friends was positive and a visit here in which current dental students meet potential students helped her make Detroit Mercy her top choice.

Maria Latorre SanchezShe threw herself into her studies and all the extracurriculars that come with Detroit Mercy Dental. She was a member of the Student-Alumni Leadership Council, attended symposia and volunteered with community service. A native of Colombia, Latorre Sanchez has been president of the Hispanic Dental Student Association since 2021 and she directed her outreach through the Ford Community Corps and Student Leadership program on helping the local Hispanic population. She was an ambassador with La Casa Guadalupana, working to reduce language barriers to dental patients.

In her third year, which is when students begin working with patients in the clinic, Latorre Sanchez brought her father from Colombia to the school.

“I wanted to work on my father,” she said. “My family didn’t have a lot of dental care and he had lost most of his teeth. I wanted to be the one to fit him with dentures.”

While visiting Detroit to start the treatment, he told his daughter he was not feeling himself. He was dealing with depression that was brought on and exacerbated by early stages of dementia. She turned to faculty members for advice. Eventually she had to ask her brother to move in with their father, which he willingly did.

“He was the best dad, and my brother was the best son and brother,” she said.

One day, she received a call from her mother, who lived in Florida. She was worried because she hadn’t heard from Latorre Sanchez’s father or brother and could not reach them by phone.

Agonizing hours trying to reach them ended with her aunt breaking into his house in Colombia and finding both dead.

“I left school immediately,” she remembered. “It was terrible, terrible.”

When Latorre Sanchez returned to school two weeks later, she said she was greeted with “the biggest support system ever.”

Faculty and staff would collect her when they found her alone, sobbing, and take her to their offices where they would let her cry or talk or just sit there. They helped her understand the disease of depression. One emailed her a prayer every day.

“My classmates did not leave me for a minute. They guided me through this time, took me to Mass, helped me with the work I missed,” she said. “This went on for a long time.”

And God was watching out for her, she says. “God took my father and brother at this time and only God knows why. But there were random angels all around who helped me out.”

Slowly, through her faith, studies and Detroit Mercy Dental support system, the grief became less raw. She found that she felt great joy helping patients in clinic by fitting them with dentures.

“When you tell a patient they are going to lose all their teeth, it’s like grief,” she said. “They feel they are losing something of themselves. But when you fit them with dentures, they have this smile that is so rewarding. I was never able to provide the dentures for my dad, but I am able to help others.”

A dental student wearing a mask and helmet talks to a patient laying in a medical chair inside of a room.Detroit Mercy provided Latorre Sanchez an opportunity to help the local Hispanic community even more when a faculty member asked her if she would help create a dental clinic at the St. Francis Cabrini Clinic. She jumped at the chance to help the mostly Hispanic patients who would come to the clinic for other healthcare needs.

“They knew that is what I love, so I said yes,” she said.

The logistics of starting a clinic from scratch are daunting, but with help from faculty and lots of volunteers, it opened in 2022. They offered cleanings, extractions and fillings one Saturday a month. Bigger issues would be referred to the Dental Clinic. It has expanded its hours since.

She created a pamphlet so English-speaking dental students learned enough words to conduct a thorough exam with a Spanish-only speaking patient.

“It’s important that both the patients and the clinicians feel comfortable,” she said.

The new graduate is not done with Detroit Mercy Dental yet, though. She is thrilled to have received a three-year periodontal residency. She jokes: “You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

That Latorre Sanchez is able to laugh after such a tragedy she credits to her faith. She shares her story because she hopes other people draw strength from her.

“I see people who get very upset that they didn’t pass a test or something like that and I hope that if telling my story helps others understand that they can get through bad times,” Latorre Sanchez said. “It’s not about what happens to you, it’s about how fast you get up.”

— By Ron Bernas. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.


Detroit Mercy and its No. 52 ranking in 2023 The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse survey was recently featured in Conversations Jesuit Higher Education Magazine.

The article, published on April 24, was penned by Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications Gary Erwin and Vice President of Enrollment Management Debbie Stieffel.

Read the full article.

TENN and HIVE appreciation event, May 2

A flyer featuring the logos for TENN and the HIVE at the top and flowers at the bottom. Text reads, Appreciation Event, Thursday, May 2, 2-4 p.m., Student Union Fountain Lounge, as a thank you to our supports who make TENN and the HIVE possible, please join us for delicious food, fun activities and quality time!Detroit Mercy’s Titan Equity Nourish Network and the HIVE would like to thank supporters with an afternoon of food, activities and fun!

Join the organizations on Thursday, May 2 from 2-4 p.m. in the Fountain Lounge of the Student Union.

Summer hours for URec, Student Fitness Center begins April 29

A graphic for summer hours at the Student Fitness Center. Additional text reads the hours in the days of the week, follow us for updates @DetroitMercyRec, front desk: 313-993-1783.Summer hours for University Recreation and the Student Fitness Center starts Monday, April 29.

The center will be open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. through 8 p.m. each day and will be closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

For more information and updates, please follow @DetroitMercyRec on Instagram or contact the front desk at 313-993-1783.

CCPD boot camp helps seniors transition to their new careers, April 29

Center for Career & Professional Development invites all graduating seniors to attend the Senior Job Search Boot Camp from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, April 29 inside the Student Union, Room 208.

Once finals are over on the McNichols Campus, soon-to-be graduates are encouraged to take the time to fine tune their job search plans. The CCPD wants to help graduates transition from the classroom to their new careers. Lunch will be served after the event.

Graduating seniors will:

  • Gain valuable advice from recruiters
  • Learn how to develop their personal brand
  • Explore the competencies that will make them career ready
  • Create an effective LinkedIn profile
  • Create a job search action plan
  • Get a free professional photo taken (Must pre-register)

This event is designed to imitate the fast-pace of a boot camp, sessions will last 20 minutes each. Participants will have the opportunity to network with professionals from the Detroit Regional Partnership, Superior Industries and Plastipak.

Pre-registration through Handshake.

A green graphic featuring logos for the Center for Career and Professional Development, including additional text: Are you graduating and realize you need a Crash Course in how to find a job? This Bootcamp is for you, Gain valuable advice, take charge of your personal brand, learn to effectively use LinkedIn, Understand the Interview Process, Walk away with your job search action plan, Have your new LinkedIn photo take from a professional photographer, April 29, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Student Union, 208, questions? Careerlink@udmercy.edu, Class of 2024.

Offer feedback for UDM’s 2024 Strategic Plan

A dusk shot of the McNichols entrance of the University of Detroit Mercy.Detroit Mercy community, UDM’s 2024 Strategic Plan is here and the University is offering in-person opportunities for you to provide feedback on the plan and its associated initiatives!

These sessions will provide you with an overview of the planning process, introduce you to the two teams behind the plan — A Beacon of Change and For Titans and Detroit — and offer you the opportunity to ask questions and share feedback.

Opportunities are being provided at the McNichols, Corktown and Riverfront campuses to discuss initiatives in person with members of the Strategic Planning Council at the following dates:

  • Riverfront Campus — April 23, 1:30-5 p.m., Law School Atrium
  • McNichols Campus — April 24, 12-1:30 p.m., Fountain Lounge, Student Union
  • McNichols Campus — April 25, 12-1:30 p.m., Library lobby
  • Corktown Campus — April 26, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Special Functions Room

UDM is encouraging all employees and students to participate in these opportunities to learn about the Strategic Plan. We look forward to your input!

The plan was crafted by the Strategic Planning Council after careful consideration from the University community and key stakeholders. It’s a mission-driven plan that addresses many facets of university life, including students, faculty, administrators, alumni and our wider community.

Provide feedback on Strategic Plan!

Nominate for 2024’s Commitment to Excellence Award through April 29

Nominations are now open for this year’s Commitment to Excellence Awards to recognize outstanding members of our Detroit Mercy community.

Nominations for the 2024 awards will be accepted until midnight on Monday, April 29. All full-time non-exempt staff and administrative-exempt employees of the University are eligible. Detroit Mercy staff, faculty or administrators may nominate any colleague. Award recipients receive a certificate, commemorative gift and a monetary award.

The nominations are based on the following criteria:

  • Nominees consistently perform their work responsibilities professionally and collaboratively and give excellent service to everyone with whom they work and serve;
  • Nominees promote and demonstrate the Mission of the University and the goals of their college, school or department;
  • Nominees take initiative in their work, going above and beyond what is required; and
  • Nominees are dedicated and accomplish their work with a positive attitude.

Recipients will be selected by the end of April and the awards will be presented at the annual Spotlight on Excellence Celebration on Monday, May 13.

Questions may be directed to the Staff and Administrator Development Team at sadt@udmercy.edu.

Nominate for the awards!

Join UDM’s third cohort for Search Advocate Training, April 30, May 1 and May 7-8

Join your colleagues who are advocating for diversity and inclusive excellence in the search process. Get trained to be a Search Advocate on April 30, May 1 and May 7-8 on the McNichols Campus.

Detroit Mercy is offering training for a third cohort, where you’ll learn tips to be better prepared to actively participate in all phases of the search process at UDM. If interested, please register by Friday, April 26.

The full schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, April 30 — 9 a.m. to noon (Engineering, Room 120)
  • Wednesday, May 1 — 9 a.m. to noon (Engineering, Room 120)
  • Tuesday, May 7 — 9 a.m. to noon (Engineering, Room 120)
  • Wednesday, May 8 — 9 a.m. to noon (Engineering, Room 120)

Note that to complete the training, attendance is required at each session. There are also two pre-assignments for the workshop.

Learn strategies to mitigate implicit bias. Be the person on the search committee who ensures that all voices are heard and encourages communication between the committee, candidates and other stakeholders.

With any questions or for more information, please contact Jahzara Mayes by email at otoojm@udmercy.edu.

RSVP for Commencement ceremonies by April 26

Graduating Class of 2024, we are looking forward to celebrating you during commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11!

RSVP (deadline is Friday, April 26) is required to attend the ceremonies. Please visit udmercy.edu/commencement for more information!

The two McNichols Campus ceremonies this year are:

  • Undergraduate (Bachelor) ceremony — 11 a.m.
  • Graduate (Master, Specialist, Doctoral) ceremony — 4 p.m.

Full Commencement info!

Three photos showcase various graduates during 2023 commencement ceremonies inside of Calihan Hall.

Class Gift Committee looking for Class of 2025 members

A logo for the Project Give Back Class Gift, featuring the UDM clock tower.The Class Gift Committee is looking for students graduating in the Class of 2025 to join the committee. Every year, the graduating class chooses something at the University to support through a fundraising effort from their class.

Volunteer committee members will:

  • Attend Class Gift monthly meetings throughout the year
  • Determine a Class Gift project/program to be funded and goal
  • Determine the strategy for reaching the goal
  • Recruit classmates to join as committee volunteers
  • Staff a table at campus events to encourage donations to the Class Gift
  • Collaborate with Annual Giving staff throughout the year
  • Demonstrate personal commitment to the Class Gift project by making your own gift of any amount early in the year
  • Solicit classmates to join you as Class Gift donors

For an application to become a Class Gift Committee member, please contact Jackie Elliott at elliottjm@udmercy.edu.

Martin Park yard sale supports community, June 22-23

A graphic for the New Martin Park District Association, Community Wide Yard Sales, June 22 and June 23, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Join the Titan Equity Nourish Network (TENN) and support the Detroit community while enjoying the yard sale season! The New Martin Park District Association is hosting a neighborhood-wide yard sale Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get to know our neighbors and shop great deals!

The Martin Park community boundaries are from McNichols to Puritan and Livernois to Log Cabin.

2023-24 Fast Facts and Economic Community Impact Report now available

The 2023-24 editions of Fast Facts and the Economic and Community Impact Report are now available:

Fast Facts

Economic and Community Impact Report

A dusk shot of the McNichols entrance of the University of Detroit Mercy.

Senior send-off event celebrates Class of 2024 on April 25

Prospective graduating seniors, it’s time to take a break from studying for the event of the year! UDM will host a Senior Send-off for the Class of 2024 on Thursday, April 25 at 4 p.m.

It’s free for all graduating seniors to attend, but please register in advance!

This new Senior Send-off event, in addition to the upcoming Destress Fest, will give graduating seniors the opportunity to celebrate the end of the 2023-24 school year, bid farewell to your undergraduate journey and celebrate with friends before moving into the new chapters of life!

The event features:

  • Champagne toast with the president
  • Free Class of 2024 champagne glass
  • Free food, featuring an exclusive buffet which chicken and vegan options
  • Dessert bar
  • Mocktail bar — Margaritas and strawberry daiquiris
  • Cash only bar — Beer and wine
  • Graduating cap decorating
  • Photo booth

The event is being hosted by the Student Alumni Leadership Council, Alumni Relations and the Student Life Office. With any questions, please contact Sonya Reyna at reynasv@udmercy.edu.

Register now!

A graphic for the Senior Send-Off event on April 25, 4-6 p.m. The event will be held in the Titan Club and features a Champagne Toast with the President, Graduation Cap Decorating, Dinner and Dessert, Beer/Wine cash bar and mocktails, photo both. At the bottom of the graphic reads, scan the QR code to register or go to Detroit Mercy Live.

DMTC TheatreLab presents: ‘Midterm Crisis’ on April 25

A photo of Jeremy St. Martin sitting at a desk and sipping a drink. Text on the graphic reads, Midterm Crisis, with additional text reading April 25, 2024, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., Reno 164.Midterm Crisis, an original work by UDM student Jeremy St. Martin, is a journey through the life of a Gen X-er’s time in college and the surprising and heartfelt lessons that can still be experienced at any stage of life.

The productions are set for 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25 inside of Reno Hall, Room 164.

Midterm Crisis, directed by Sarah Hawkins Rusk, is a combination of published monologues, original works and storytelling — all of which encompasses topics from the absurdity of technological advancement, to the poignancy of grief.

The performances run 45 minutes with no intermission. Seating is limited.

Celebration of recent CLAE faculty books on April 23

Seven College of Liberal Arts & Education faculty members will showcase their books that have been published in the past year at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 23 in the Fountain Lounge of the Student Union.

The faculty include Assistant Professor of Counseling Tahani Dari, Professor of Counseling Nancy Calleja, Professor of Religious Studies J. Todd Hibbard, Professor of Philosophy Gail Presbey, Associate Professor of History Diane Robinson-Dunn, Professor of English Nicholas Rombes and Professor Daniel Shoemaker.

Each authors will briefly present their books during the event!

All are welcome to join.

Detroit Mercy opens new eye care center at the Novi Campus

Dozens of people stand and listen to a speaker inside of Detroit Mercy's Eye Institute at the Novi Campus.

UDM announces the new Detroit Mercy Eye Institute, located at 41555 West 12 Mile Road in Novi, Mich., which opens to patients on April 30, 2024.

Over the past two years of development work for this new clinic, faculty, staff and University leadership worked together to identify programs and services to meet community needs. For UDM President Donald B. Taylor, this new clinic represents another example of the institution’s Jesuit and Mercy mission in action and opportunity to expand UDM’s health care footprint in southeast Michigan.

“We appreciate the chance to expand our health care services to this region with this clinic,” he said. “I can’t say enough great things about the many people who have contributed to this news today. On behalf of UDM, thank you for your dedication and hard work. And to our future patients, our team of professionals and experts are ready to help you with all of your eye care needs.”

When the Detroit Mercy Eye Institute opens for business, it will offer a full range of comprehensive optometry services. These include

  • Comprehensive eye exams
  • Pediatric eye exams
  • Contact lens exams including multifocal lenses and contacts for astigmatism
  • Optical services including eyeglasses and contacts
  • Dry eye management
  • Red eye management
  • Cataract evaluations
  • Binocular vision exams
  • Low Vision evaluations
  • Lasik co-management

Additionally, the clinic will include a full suite of state-of-the-art equipment and technology to diagnose, monitor, and treat conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic-related eye conditions. The clinic will also serve the community by providing affordable care to uninsured and vulnerable populations with limited access to eyecare, which reflects an important foundational component of UDM’s Jesuit and Mercy mission.

“The Detroit Mercy Eye Institute will provide high-quality comprehensive eye care that incorporates advances and innovations in technology to optimize patient care,” said Robert Onofre, chief clinical officer. “With the launch of this new clinic, we look forward to creating a safe and welcoming environment where all patients will be cared for with compassion and dignity.”

The clinic will carry an assortment of the most popular eye glass frames available today, including Ray Ban, Nike, Gucci, Tiffany, Maui Jim, Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Shinola, Calvin Klein and many other designer lines.

Clinic hours of operation are Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; and every other Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For more information or to book an appointment, please call 248-675-0800.

Women’s and Gender Studies announces 2023-24 writing contest winners

The Women’s and Gender Studies Program is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2023-24 Undergraduate Writing competition.

Out of 23 entrants, 10 students were awarded prizes in three writing categories: Poetry, Personal Essay and Academic Essay.

Congratulations to these winners!

  • First place — Mary Kamal Gagnon
  • Second place — Olivia Vitale
  • Third place — Karly Bryan Feeman
  • First place — Kammie Enriquez
  • Second place — Jenna Saker
  • Third place — Emily Kzyonsek
  • First place — Kammie Enriquez
  • Second place — Katherine Mutschler
  • Third place — Mano Lozano
  • Honorable mention — Genesis Barnes, Erin DeFever
Eight students stand and smile for a photo inside of Lansing-Reilly Hall.
From left to right: Karly Bryan Feeman, Genesis Barnes, Emily Kzyonsek, Kammie Enriquez, Katherine Mutschler, Mary Kamal Gagnon, Mano Lozano.

Late Night Munchies features fun, food and entertainment, April 22

A purple graphic for Late Night Munchies, with additional text reading Everyone is welcome, Monday, April 22, 8-9:30 p.m., Titan Dining Room, featuring some of your favorite snacks, chicken and waffle sliders, potato bar, wings, loaded fries, vegan options, fun activities, caricatures, henna, photo booth.Detroit Mercy’s annual Late Night Munchies event for students prior to the start of finals week is set for 8 p.m. Monday, April 22 in the Titan Dining Room on the McNichols Campus. Finals week is April 23-27.

Late Night Munchies will feature wings, loaded fries, chicken and waffle sliders, hummus, ice cream bar, vegan options and halal chicken.

Free entertainment includes two caricature artists, a henna artists and a photo booth. There is something for everyone, so bring a friend!

UDM hosts U.S. Sen. Peters and National Cyber Director Harry Coker Jr.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters ’84, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and National Cyber Director Harry Coker Jr., visited Detroit Mercy Monday to discuss the importance of preparing and recruiting a strong cybersecurity workforce.

Peters, who earned an MBA from Detroit Mercy, and Coker visited UDM’s Vehicle Cyber Engineering Program to see how students are engaging in critical cybersecurity labs. They also met with government and industry leaders to emphasize the need to develop a strong cyber workforce for Michigan’s defense and automotive industries.

In 2021, UDM received a $1.12-million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to establish the Metro Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute, a regional cybersecurity consortium. It is designed to expand and enhance the cybersecurity engineering workforce through a curriculum developed in consultation with industry partners. It supports upskilling and reskilling for vehicle cybersecurity by prioritizing underrepresented populations, military personnel and veterans. It includes scholarships to encourage students to enter the field. It received nearly $500,000 in additional funding earlier this year.

“I was honored to host National Cyber Director Harry Coker Jr. in Michigan today to meet with innovative students and leaders in cybersecurity to discuss the importance of preparing a strong cybersecurity workforce,” Peters said. “As cybersecurity threats become increasingly common and complex, we must strengthen our defenses at every level — from our manufacturing and defense industries to health care and critical infrastructure. I am grateful to Director Coker for committing his time to meet with Michiganders and I look forward to continuing to work with him to address the many cybersecurity challenges facing our state and our entire nation.”

Coker echoed those sentiments.

“Today in Detroit, we saw not only a hub of innovation but also incredible cyber talent that we so badly need to protect this great nation,” Coker said. “Here in Michigan, there are nearly 10,000 open cybersecurity jobs and almost half of those jobs are in the Detroit area. Building a pipeline of talent to fill these vital positions is imperative to making sure our critical infrastructure and our nation remain secure, a key element of President Biden’s National Cybersecurity Strategy.”

Coker said he was impressed by the “dedicated ecosystem of startups, schools and industry working together to facilitate that talent and I was particularly impressed by the thoughtfulness of the students.”

After meeting the students and seeing the University’s programming, he told Peters, “Thank you for exposing me to what had been a hidden gem, is no longer hidden. We will be back.”

During the visit, Peters and Coker met with UDM students and faculty to hear firsthand how students are being prepared to enter in-demand cybersecurity jobs across Michigan’s automotive and defense sectors. Peters has long recognized the need to help recruit, develop and retain highly skilled cybersecurity professionals and authored legislation that was signed into law to do so for the federal workforce. This law will help federal agencies defend networks and retain qualified cybersecurity employees.

“It was a pleasure to host Senator Peters and Director Coker. We were excited to hear them talk about our initiatives and successes at Detroit Mercy,” said Pamela Zarkowski, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “More importantly, it allowed the Senator and Director to meet with and talk with our students their education and their experiences in cybersecurity.”

Peters and Coker also met with industry and government officials to discuss how the federal government and industry can work collaboratively to address emerging issues related cybersecurity threats, vehicle cybersecurity, workforce development and artificial intelligence. These conversations were organized to provide insight into how the industry is working to protect against cybersecurity threats.

Peters and Coker concluded their visit at Michigan Central Station to tour the new site of an innovation district. The space will be used to train and educate people of all ages for high-skilled cybersecurity jobs. Peters and Coker were joined by project leaders to highlight how this hub will help support a vibrant tech workforce in Michigan.

More than a dozen students and others pose with Gary Peters and Harry Coker Jr. inside of the Engineering Building High Bay, with Vehicle Cyber Engineering on the wall above.

Prepare for finals week with Study Retreat on April 21

A graphic for the Study Retreat, Sunday, April 21, Maxis Spirituality Center, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., All transportation and food provided, questions, email lawleran@udmercy.edu. Also features a Detroit Mercy University Ministry logo.University Ministry is hosting a retreat that allows you to bring your school work with you!

The Study Retreat, set for Sunday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., is a chance to get off campus, study in a quiet and relaxing space and have built-in optional study breaks that provide self-care and spiritual care into your life.

It will be held at Maxis Spirituality Center in Riverview, Mich. All transportation and food will be provided. The retreat will end on campus with dinner provided by University Ministry.

We will have time to share home-cooked meals together and be able to enter into finals prepared and equipped with the tools to take care of our whole persons, as our mission calls us to through cura personalis, which is the “care for the whole person, body, mind and soul.”

There is limited space for this retreat in order to create an ideal study environment for participants.

The last day to register is Wednesday, April 17 at 5 p.m.

With any questions or concerns, please contact University Minister for Faith Formation Anna Lawler at 313-993-1925 or lawleran@udmercy.edu.

Register here!


Phillip Olla, associate professor in the College of Health Professions, served as moderator of a panel at the April 16 MedHealth Summit at Ford Field. The discussion focusing on the use of AI, simulations, virtual and mixed reality and the need for innovative training methods in the healthcare industry.

Pax Christi Michigan state conference to be held at UDM, April 20

A colorful graphic featuring a Pax Christi Michigan logo and words that read, All is Connected, the Sacred Journey of Caring for our Common Home, featuring Lisa Sullivan, Integral Ecology Senior Program Officer for the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.The 42nd annual Pax Christi Michigan State Conference will be held at Detroit Mercy, Saturday, April 20, in the Student Union Ballroom on the McNichols Campus.

There will be a limited number of complimentary registrations available to UDM students and staff.

For more information, please contact Gail Presbey at presbegm@udmercy.edu.

Register for the event.

De-stress Fest offers prizes, food, games and fun on April 18

A collage of photos from previous De-Stress Fests featuring students having fun with games and activities is featured on a graphic for 2024 De-Stress Fest. Additional text reads, April 18, 2024, 4-7 p.m., Student Fitness Center. A logo for University Recreation is in the center.The annual De-stress Fest, set for Thursday, April 18 from 4-7 p.m., is a chance to unwind before finals week at the Student Fitness Center with delicious food, exciting games, prizes and fun with your peers!

All students are welcome to join the festivities.

Learn inclusive teaching practices in laboratory spaces for neurodivergence, April 16

A virtual learning community development event, “Inclusive Teaching Practices in Laboratory Spaces for Neurodivergence,” with Jennifer Leigh and Orielia Egambaram is set for Tuesday, April 16 at 12:45 p.m.

Explore social models for inclusive teaching environments in laboratory spaces and academia. Resources for faculty, staff and students to incorporate in their teaching and curricular design will be shared.

With any questions or for more information, please contact Marwa Abdel Latif at abdellmk@udmercy.edu.

Register now!

UDM to celebrate student, faculty research projects
A head shot photo of Terrell Strayhorn, wearing a suit.
Terrell Strayhorn

Detroit Mercy will recognize the academic work of students, staff and faculty at the 16th annual Celebration of Scholarly Achievement (CSA) on Thursday, April 18 on the McNichols Campus.

This University-wide event will feature traditional research posters, artistic displays, performances, lightning talks, a keynote address by an internationally known speaker and more.

The event begins noon in the Student Union Ballroom with presentations of more than 150 research and creative exhibits including research posters, lightning talks, costume displays, poetry readings, product demonstrations and more. Box lunches will be available.

A reception is planned for 4 p.m. in the Ballroom followed by a 5 p.m. presentation by Terrell Strayhorn titled “Fostering Students’ Sense of Belonging and Success through Undergraduate Research Engagement.”

Drawing on a growing body of empirical evidence and theoretical insights, Strayhorn will highlight how active involvement in research projects, service and creative activities are integral to students achieving their academic goals, building social skills and developing personal identities that foster life-long success.

Strayhorn is a leading authority in the fields of education, psychology and leadership. He has written more than 12 books and hundreds of academic publications. He is a professor of education and psychology and vice provost at Virginia Union University.

His talk is designed to inspire educators and administrators to cultivate an environment where research engagement is a key driver of student belonging, engagement, and success.

All events are free and open to everyone. Registration is required for the keynote speaker.

CSA events are made possibly through the support of Alliance Catholic Credit Union, the Delta Dental Foundation, ReBUILDetroit and RIIS.

For more information, contact the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Activities at 313-993-1469.

Office of Mission Integration lunch and liturgy set for April 17

Detroit Mercy’s Office of Mission Integration will be celebrating their next special monthly liturgy Wednesday, April 17 at noon in the St. Ignatius Chapel.

Fr. Charles Oduke will celebrate the liturgy and preach on a theme related to UDM’s educational mission. There will be a pizza lunch and time to visit with colleagues afterwards in the Commerce and Finance Building, Room 213.

At each monthly liturgy, colleagues will have an opportunity to reflect on a theme central to the University’s Mercy-Jesuit educational mission.

Persons of all religious backgrounds or who are not affiliated with a religious tradition are encouraged to attend.


Department of Performing Arts staff and adjunct professor Sarah Hawkins Rusk directs Detroit Opera Youth Chorus’ production of “The Odyssey” by Ben Moore and Kelley Rourke.

This fully-staged opera for young audiences, based on Homer’s epic tale of a hero’s journey home, performs at the Detroit Opera House on April 20.

Help stock Little Free Pantry, April 17

Help stock the Student Union’s Little Free Pantry by bringing non-perishable items to the Scholarship & Financial Aid Office on Wednesday, April 17.

The Little Free Pantry, located off of the Fountain Lounge by the stairs leading to the Loft and Titan Dining Room, is open to all University community members.

Each donor will receive a raffle ticket to win a Detroit Mercy shirt.


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