University mourns the passing of Fr. Gerry Albright, S.J.

Albright in his office, smiling

UDM’s longtime professor of Biology Fr. R. Gerard Albright, S.J., died Sept. 22 at the Colombiere Jesuit Community in Clarkston, Mich. He was 97 and had been with the University for more than 60 years. 

“In the course of this year, the Detroit Jesuit Community now mourns the death of a third Jesuit who served at the University of Detroit Mercy,” said Fr. J. Thomas McClain, S.J., superior of the Jesuit Community in Detroit. “Like our other Jesuit brothers, Gerry gave long years of commitment to the intellectual and spiritual life of this University. For both students and colleagues, using Jesus as his model, he was attentive to each, always calling for excellence so that they may use their talents for the good of others. Gerry’s quiet presence and dedication will be remembered gratefully.” 

Head shot of Fr. AlbrightBorn April 1, 1926, Fr. Albright graduated from University of Detroit Jesuit High School and entered the Society of Jesus at Milford, Ohio, in 1944. He was ordained to the priesthood at West Baden, Ind., on June 18, 1958. 

He earned an AB in Latin, a licentiate in Sacred Theology from Loyola University Chicago, and a master of Arts and doctorate in Biology from the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola Chicago. 

From 1960 to 2020 when he retired, Fr. Albright served at the University of Detroit and Detroit Mercy as a professor of Biology, chair of the Biology Department several times, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education and superior and dean of the Jesuit Philosophy Program. 

In the Fall 2008 issue of Company magazine, Fr. Albright reflected on his then 50 years of service. 

“Lending a hand to our students as they prepare for and face the ups and downs of life is itself a wonderful and worthwhile enterprise,” he was quoted as saying. “But to help them more intimately bring God into the picture is of key importance, and by far the greater challenge for me. Looking back over the decades, as well as ahead toward whatever is to come; I view this as the essence of what my call from God to life as a Jesuit is really all about.”  

This marks the third loss of a longtime Jesuit at Detroit Mercy in a year. On Oct. 27, 2022, Fr. Raphael Shen, S.J., who taught economics for 45 years, and on Nov. 8, 2022, Fr. Gerald F. Cavanagh, S.J., longtime professor in the College of Business Administration, passed away. 

On the occasion of his 50th year of service, Detroit Mercy created the Rev. R. Gerard Albright, S.J. Scholarship, established by alumni, faculty and friends to provide support for Biology majors in the College of Engineering & Science at Detroit Mercy. Click here to give a gift in honor of Fr. Albright. 

A wake will be held Sunday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. and the funeral Mass for Fr. Albright will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2. Both events are at the Colombiere Center, 9075 Big Lake Road, Clarkston, MI 48346. 

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