Spirit Awards to honor seven alumni leaders

Spirit Awards words

University of Detroit Mercy has selected seven groundbreakers and innovators as honorees in the 2020 Spirit of Detroit Mercy Alumni Achievement Awards.

“These alumni represent everything that is great about University of Detroit Mercy,” said Alumni Relations Director Peggy Pattison. “They are leaders in their field and in their community and have truly made an impact on their field and their communities.”

The members of the Class of 2020 Spirit Award winners are:

Cliff Cook ’69, ’70 — College of Engineering & Science Cook is retired senior vice president for Supply, Distribution and Planning for Marathon Oil Company. He worked there from 1969 to 2012, with the exception of four years he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

Joseph Coriaty ’78 — School of Architecture Coriaty’s body of work at the California-based Frederick Fisher & Partners has earned national and international awards. He is a board member of the School of Architecture and the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles.

Hank G. Durkin II ’73 — College of Liberal Arts & Education After starting his career in as an editor and systems manager at the Charlotte Observer in 1976, Durkin moved to Microsoft where he worked for 20 years. He is a member of the Detroit Mercy Alumni Association Board.

Eric J. Hespenheide ’75 — College of Business Administration Hespenheide is chairman of Global Reporting Initiative in Amsterdam. He is retired from Deloitte & Touche L.L.P. where he worked from 1977-2013.

Ven Johnson ’86 — School of Law A prominent Detroit attorney, Johnson is also active in service to the legal field. His interest in philanthropy is vast, adding financial support to organizations such as Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and Detroit Mercy Law.

Richard J. Persiani, D.D.S. ’73 — School of Dentistry A specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery, prosthodontics and general dentistry, he is also a former professor at Detroit Mercy Dental. For many years, Persiani has provided dental services to people in remote areas of Asia.

Derk F. Pronger ’94 — College of Health Professions Since 2017, Pronger has been a regent of the Michigan and northwest Ohio campuses of the American College of Healthcare Executives in Traverse City. He is also the COO of Beaumont Farmington Hills.

These seven men will be honored at a special event on Friday, April 24. For more information, visit udmercy.edu/awards.

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