Detroit Mercy is pleased to honor the winners of the 2020 annual Vivere ex Missione Award, which is typically presented each year during commencement exercises to graduating students who best exemplify the mission of Detroit Mercy. This year’s winners are Dohna A. Dudley (College of Business Administration undergraduate student), Vania I. Noguez (College of Business Administration graduate student), Veronica Beltran (School of Law) and Bilal M. Ibrahim (School of Dentistry).
Established in 2009, the Vivere ex Missione Award — Latin for “To Live Out the Mission” — is presented annually to graduating students who best exemplify the mission of Detroit Mercy. In addition, this award calls attention to exceptional individuals who demonstrate competence at a high level of excellence while also serving as witness to the University’s mission based on larger commitments in their lives. Each nomination provides examples of how nominees meet the award criteria and demonstrate exceptional integration of Detroit Mercy’s mission in all aspects of their life at the University.
“We congratulate and are extremely proud of our 2020 Vivere ex Missione awardees, all of whom are very deserving of recognition for how they live and express the mission of University of Detroit Mercy,” said President Antoine M. Garibaldi.
2020 annual Vivere ex Missione Award Winners
Dohna A. Dudley – McNichols Undergraduate Student, 5-Year Bachelor/MBA, College of Business Administration
For Dohna Dudley, leadership is defined as “the creation and implementation of solutions to benefit society as a whole.” By definition then, Dudley leads in two important ways – as a servant and by example.
While busy pursuing degrees in Criminal Justice and Business Administration, she saw the way food insecurity affected others on campus and decided to do something about it. In what may become a lasting legacy, Dudley created The HIVE, a student-led center dedicated to improving the lives of all Detroit Mercy students. At the center of The HIVE is a student food pantry on the McNichols Campus that is available to students from all three campuses. In January and February this year, it provided students with more than 3,300 pounds of food and she found ways to keep meeting this important need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The HIVE also fosters student unity by serving as a place where students can gather to discuss concerns and worries in an open, caring atmosphere.
In her four years, Dudley has worked for the College of Liberal Arts & Education, Campus Kitchen and Residence Life; founded and led an organization called Brown Women of Detroit Mercy; helped plan on-campus celebrations honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy; and completed internships at Quicken Loans, Bedrock Detroit and General Motors. She is the very model of a servant leader and an example to all.
It is for these and many more reasons that University of Detroit Mercy is pleased to present its undergraduate 2020 Vivere ex Missione Award to Dohna Dudley.
Vania I. Noguez – McNichols Graduate Student, 5-Year MBA, College of Business Administration
In her five years at University of Detroit Mercy, Vania Noguez has served in many roles.
While a student in the 5-Year MBA program, she has been a resident advisor, a participant in University Ministry social justice mission trips, an orientation leader, a fierce social advocate both on- and off-campus, including working with refugees and asylum seekers in El Paso, Tex. to bring comfort and aid, and as a writing consultant at The Writing Center. She embraces new opportunities to serve because she understands that she will grow and learn as she helps others.
As an employee with the University’s Writing Center, she has helped countless students build their intellectual and academic skills, through patience and compassion. She helped organize a letter writing advocacy event in support of DACA recipients. Noquez has brought together University Ministry, local nonprofits, students, staff and faculty to write letters in support of the government program, which was in danger of being eliminated. She was also instrumental in planning a multi-faceted anti-stereotyping event through The Writing Center that identified the injustices brought about through negative descriptions of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. After months of work, the event was unfortunately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vania I. Noquez is the embodiment of the type of student Detroit Mercy strives to develop. It is for these reasons and many others that the University presents its 2020 Vivere ex Missione award for a graduate student to her.
Veronica Beltran – Vivere ex Missione, School of Law
Veronica Beltran’s social media profile includes this quote from Pope Francis: “A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” Her actions every day are guided by these words.
As a staff member at Detroit Mercy Law’s Immigration Law Clinic, Beltran supports the professors and students as they help people seeking asylum in the United States. Her work with immigrants continues as an executive board member of the Hispanic and Latino Law Student Association. She also volunteers and recruits other students to volunteer at immigrant and refugee legal clinics in Detroit.
Beltran calls out and stands up to injustice, volunteering her time to help clients at the expungement clinic hosted at the Michigan Supreme Court and Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Court.
She is extremely proud of her heritage and created Conversacion con Café, a coffee hour where students could gather to practice their Spanish with others in the law school, and performs traditional Mexican dances with the Ballet Folklorico de Detroit.
She often can be found giving help to anyone who asks and always with a friendly smile.
For these reasons and many others, Detroit Mercy Law is proud to present its School of Law 2020 Vivere ex Missione Award to her.
Bilal M. Ibrahim – Vivere ex Missione, School of Dentistry
Two Saturdays a month, The Malta Medical and Dental Clinic that operates out of St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Detroit provides a full range of free dental services to underserved and underprivileged populations in Detroit. This service began, expanded and continues to be overseen by Bilal Ibrahim who saw a need and worked to address it.
Dental Outreach and Community Service, or D.O.C.S., began in the winter of 2017, after a year of raising funds to set up the clinic, organize a student board and put all the pieces in place to offer this service. The response, not to mention the need, was overwhelming and after just a few months, Ibrahim expanded D.O.C.S. to allow first- and second-year dental students to work in the clinic. Soon after, pre-dental students were included to introduce them to the field in a low-pressure environment. D.O.C.S. now includes more than 200 paid dental students and more than 10 faculty volunteers and has become one of the largest and most active organizations at Detroit Mercy Dental. Ibrahim has raised more than $15,000 to cover the expenses of the clinic and to ensure it continues after he graduates. Most importantly, the dental needs of more than 100 patients have been addressed, free of charge.
He is also very dedicated to his studies. In addition to tutoring other students, he received the highest score in the history of Detroit Mercy Dental on the Comprehensive Basic Science Examination, which he took as part of his application for an internship with the oral surgery program at Ohio State University.
For these reasons and many others, Detroit Mercy is proud to present the School of Dentistry 2020 Vivere ex Missione Award to him.