On Dec. 14, Detroit Mercy celebrated the institution’s record-breaking $100-million campaign and began a new phase of growth for the next decade with a strong momentum.
Detroit Mercy’s Build a Boundless Future: The Campaign for University of Detroit Mercy has exceeded the goal and surpassed $111 million in commitments, with a few weeks left before its conclusion on Dec. 31, 2019.
Build a Boundless Future: The Campaign for University of Detroit Mercy began in the spring of 2012 shortly after the inauguration of Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D., as Detroit Mercy’s 25th and first lay president. After completing a campaign feasibility study, the University set an ambitious goal of $100 million despite recommendations from consultants to set a goal half of this amount. However, Garibaldi believed that the $100-million goal was attainable based on his early interactions with trustees and alumni who expressed how their Jesuit and Mercy education significantly contributed to their personal and professional success.
“Alumni of this 142-year old Jesuit- and Mercy-sponsored University were passionate about their value-added education and experiences and gave me strong indications that they wanted to give back now so current and future students could have those same opportunities,” Garibaldi said.
“Three-fourths of the contributions to this record-breaking campaign came from alumni and friends of University of Detroit, Mercy College of Detroit and University of Detroit Mercy, which is an extraordinary expression of appreciation to their alma mater,” he added. “They are not only pleased with the University’s national rankings, growth and community engagement, but they are also energized by its plans for future expansion.”
Some of the high points of the Build a Boundless Future Campaign include:
• The campaign received gifts of $1 million or more from 31 donors.
• $69 million of campaign contributions came from Detroit Mercy alumni.
• Detroit Mercy’s endowment exceeds $70 million, an increase of 165% since June 2011 when it was almost $26 million.
The University has also raised significant funds toward the following campaign priorities:
• More than $40.1 million was raised toward the Student Financial Aid campaign priority goal of $40 million.
• More than $45.5 million was raised toward the Faculty and Program Support campaign priority goal of $25 million.
• More than $13.6 million was raised toward the Capital Improvements campaign priority goal of $25 million.
• More than $11.6 million was raised toward the Ongoing General Support campaign priority goal of $10 million.
Over the last five years, Detroit Mercy has instituted many changes that have reinvigorated the University’s three campuses, increased enrollment and brought the institution national recognition. For example, between 2014-2018, the University had four consecutive years of growth in new student enrollment at a time when Michigan’s high school population continues to shrink. In November 2017, the University reset undergraduate tuition from $41,000 to $28,000, a ground-breaking initiative that continues to attract high-quality students and gives Detroit Mercy a competitive advantage over other institutions in the area. Two years later, in spring 2019, the University reset graduate tuition for the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Community Development and graduate programs in Architecture, Nursing and Engineering. Professionals in the metropolitan area have responded favorably and immediately to the tuition reset of Detroit Mercy’s high-quality, nationally ranked graduate programs.
In 2015, Garibaldi also began the University of Detroit Mercy Catholic Education Grant, which was designed to attract more Catholic high school students from the Archdiocese of Detroit as well as keep students in Catholic schools from the elementary grades through high school. After five years, more than 470 students from the Archdiocese of Detroit Catholic Schools have enrolled at Detroit Mercy and the University has awarded more than $2.7 million in scholarships to these students.
Additionally, Detroit Mercy continues to earn recognition as one of the best universities in the country. For 18 consecutive years, the University has achieved top tier rankings for Midwest Best Regional Universities in the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” edition. In 2020, Detroit Mercy was elevated in classification and ranked among the top 200 national universities in the United States. The University also earned the following ranks in the National Universities category:
• Best Value Schools, National Universities — #45.
• Best School for Veterans, National Universities — #133.
For 2020, The Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) 2020 Times Higher Education (THE) also ranked Detroit Mercy among the top 20% of all U.S. universities and the highest-ranking private institution in Michigan. In recent weeks, the University also learned that the first-time pass rate of Detroit Mercy accounting graduates who take the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam is the best in the nation, as reported by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
The University has also enhanced and strengthened its commitment to the community and Detroit’s ongoing neighborhood development. This year, Detroit Mercy and The Kresge Foundation opened Neighborhood HomeBase, a storefront community space in the Livernois-McNichols area that provides residents with meeting and gathering spaces, while connecting them with neighborhood organizations, nonprofits and city government. Neighborhood HomeBase is anchored by the offices of the Live6 Alliance, which was co-founded by Detroit Mercy and The Kresge Foundation in September 2015, and the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC), a unit of the University’s School of Architecture, which led the design of the new building in collaboration with residents and future tenants. Coupled with an annual donation from Detroit Mercy, The Kresge Foundation has invested several million dollars of programmatic support, as well as funding for the design, renovation and furnishing of Neighborhood HomeBase.
“This campaign has confirmed the appreciation our more than 80,000 alumni have for the education they received. While many said that they had been busy in their professions for decades, they admitted that their alma mater was always on their mind. As they shared fond memories of professors and administrators who instilled in them that their future was boundless, it was easy for them to make a gift that will help future students enjoy the rich rewards of a Mercy and Jesuit education,” Garibaldi concluded.