Class of 2021 Alumni Spirit Awards: Eric J. Hespenheide ’75 — business and community leader

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy chooses an alumnus of each of its Colleges or Schools to honor as someone who has excelled in his or her profession, demonstrated outstanding leadership in work and devoted himself or herself in service to the larger community. Award recipients reflect the University’s mission of excellence and service and bring pride to their alma mater.

This year, the University will celebrate seven honorees at a special ceremony Friday, Oct. 1 at the Fillmore Hotel Detroit. We will introduce the award winners on this blog before the event. If you are interested in attending the event, you can purchase tickets at

For 2021, the College of Business Administration will honor Eric J. Hespenheide, retired partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, and current chair of the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) board of directors.

His 36-year-career with Deloitte & Touche has taken him to posts in China, Australia and The Netherlands. He served as a global leader of Deloitte Touche member firms’ sustainability group and represented the firm in various forums such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and GRI. He is a former chair and current member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Sustainability Assurance and Advisory Task Force. Hespenheide is frequently asked to speak and write on the topic of sustainability at international conferences and events. He is a past trustee of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Research Foundation and has served on numerous IIA committees over the years. In 2016, he was named to the IIA’s Hall of Distinguished Audit Professionals. He serves on the Board of Advisors for Detroit Mercy’s College of Business Administration and the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the Louisiana State University business school.

Hespenheide is a longtime supporter of various cerebral palsy-related organizations including serving on the board for United Cerebral Palsy Association, UCP of Metro Detroit and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. He was awarded the UCPA’s National Volunteer of the Year for his work with the Detroit affiliate. He has also supported the United Way of Southeast Michigan for nearly four decades.

The six other men being honored with Hespenheide this year are

Check back to see their stories.

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