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UDM alumnus nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year

Sarah Hirschmann, the 2020 University of Detroit Mercy valedictorian and former women’s soccer goalie, just earned another impressive accolade.  She’s a nominee for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

The award was established in 1991 to recognize graduating female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.  The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will name the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year this fall.

Sarah graduated from Detroit Mercy with a Bachelor of Arts in Literary Arts in Primary Education, specializing in Language Arts with a minor in Leadership, with a 3.97 GPA.  She was a member of the women’s soccer team from 2015-18, a four-year member of the Detroit Mercy Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and a three-time member of the Horizon League Fall and Spring Academic Honor Roll.

Away from athletics, she started a non-profit group, volunteered and played a key role in a number of University events.

In 2015, Sarah started “One Kid At A Time”, a non-profit organization sponsoring the education of two students in Kenya, and distributing funds throughout Detroit.  She also spent two summers with the International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ), teaching children ages 1-16 in Nairobi, Kenya and Faridabad, India.

Locally, Sarah volunteered with Ford Community Corps Partnership, working at Detroit Public Schools with fifth graders and students with behavioral disabilities to improve mathematics and social skills through educational card games.  In addition, she worked with the Zoe Counseling Services of the Detroit Public Libraries, tutoring students in and out of foster care and those who have fallen behind grade level and need extra help.

One of her big efforts on campus saw her take part in the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC), where she helped lead a committee of 20 students to create the conference with Detroit Mercy serving as host for the first-time ever in 2019.  Sarah also was part of the Ignatian Family Teach-In For Justice (IFTJ), a national social justice conference in Washington, D.C., where students gather from around the country to learn about more ways to fight injustice and advocate for themselves and others.

Sarah is indisputably a model scholar-athlete.  Her commitment to excellence in the classroom and on the field is strong and her dedication to her community–both locally and around the world–is unwavering.  It’s an outlook that’s prevalent at the University of Detroit Mercy and Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities.  Purposefully smaller, the colleges and universities pride themselves on helping students follow their own path, engage in the world around them, and find their passion. They emphasize community over crowds and a spirit of togetherness and cohesion.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

 

Aquinas freshman named esports All-American

AQ Esports Header

Real-time strategy, teamwork, mental agility, split-second decision-making – these are some of the skills it takes to succeed in one of the fastest growing athletic programs in the country – esports.

Esports is a massive, global series of video game competitions, that is making serious inroads in the college sports arena.

The Aquinas College esports team just completed its first season and already one team member is making waves. Jon Schneck, an AQ freshman, was named an All-American by the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECD)—one of only eight in the country.

“It was a little bit of a surprise that I would be an All-American because I don’t think of myself that highly,” Schneck said. “But it is great that I got recognized.”

Jon may have been caught off guard by the recognition, but head coach Adam Antor says it is well deserved because of his hard work and knowledge.

“He is kind of like the master knowledge base for the game,” Antor said of Schneck. “He knows more about the game than most other competitors in our program and across the country so he brings the brains and the work ethic.”

Jon competes in League of Legends. It’s a game he said he’s been playing since before he got to Aquinas. Next season, Jon plans to continue his streak. “I am looking forward to just winning in any league I’m going into,” Schneck said. “Building a better team and making sure that we can compete at the highest level against all the other teams.”

The Aquinas College team joins other Michigan private colleges and universities in offering esports. Alma College and Siena Heights University also field excellent competitive esports programs.

Aquinas, Alma and Siena Heights – and all of Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities – share a commitment to helping students succeed by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Coolest College Mascots Aren’t Just at Big Universities

It’s National Mascot Day, where we celebrate the fun, sometimes feathery or furry creatures who entertain us and build team spirit at sporting events.

Lists of top college mascots often begin and end with big public universities (Hello Puddles the Oregon Duck), sometimes with a few curveballs thrown in (pleased to meet you, Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes.)

But it’s not just big public universities that have fun with their sports and mascots. They’re just as beloved at independent colleges and universities as well. Let’s meet some Michigan favorites:

Dutch from Hope College
Dutch
Ruggedly handsome. And what a hat! The mucho macho mascot of Hope College was created during the 2006-07 academic year for the school. Fun fact: His face is loosely modeled after a mailroom employee, Bob Bos. Founded by immigrants from the Netherlands, Hope College became known as the Flying Dutchmen since 1959 when its basketball team took a DC3 to a tournament. The women’s teams are known as the Flying Dutch. Of course.

Tommy Titan from the University of Detroit Mercy
Tommy
Ever try running 3.1 miles in a warrior helmet and bracelets? It’s not easy. But it’s nothing for Tommy Titan, the beloved mascot from the University of Detroit Mercy who for 28 years has had a 5K run named in his honor every November. Top that off with all the excitement of representing #DetroitsCollegeTeam, and life is pretty good for Tommy Titan.

Calvin Knight from Calvin University
Calvin
He stands for chivalry, honor and integrity. Sure. That’s true now. But he originally stood for misunderstanding. Calvin University’s mascot, the Knights, emerged in the late 1920s when a reporter from the Grand Rapids Press heard the school was populated by “Calvinites.” Ugh. Bad pun. We know. Like their counterparts at Hope, Calvin students wanted a real mascot and got one after a Facebook campaign began in the mid-2000s. Calvin Knight debuted in February 2009.

Brit the Briton from Albion College
Brit
Albion College debuted this rugged fellow in the fall of 2011. The first mascot in 176 years at Albion, he was chosen, because he represents the college’s “longstanding tradition of dignity, discovery and professionalism.” He also looks smashing. Brit looks like he and Tommy Titan would be a formidable duo at tug o’ war.

Scotty from Alma College
Scotty
He’s got a mustache that would make Yosemite Sam jealous and Scotty from Alma College is a whole lot easier to cheer for than the “Fighting Presbyterians.” It sounds like a joke, but that was Alma’s mascot until 1931. Hard to believe as it was, but students tired of shouting, “Go Fighting Presbyterians” at football games and the student newspaper launched a three-week contest for a replacement. The winner got $5. Cold hard cash. A few years ago, Scotty got a makeover before homecoming. He’s never looked better!

Buzz the Hornet from Kalamazoo College
Hornet
Power of the press! Kalamazoo College’s mascot got its name from – you guessed it – a newspaper reporter, this time from the Kalamazoo Gazette who said thought the football team was “buzzing around enthusiastically and stinging the opponents.” A mascot was born in 1925. Before then, athletic teams were occasionally called the Orange and Black, or even the Kazooks!

Nelson from Aquinas College
NelsonAquinas College is known as the Saints. Their mascot is Nelson, a Saint Bernard named after the college’s fourth president, Paul Nelson.

Charger from Hillsdale College
Chargers
Hillsdale College students got tired of lacking a true mascot about 10 years ago and chose a horse over contenders such as a lightning bolt to represent their nickname, the Chargers.

Bruiser the Bulldog from Adrian College
BruiserThere are 36 colleges across the nation who have a Bulldog as their mascot and 16 of those schools have live mascots. But not many mascots can say they have a mascot. Bruiser the Bulldog can. Adrian College‘s adorable pup Bruiser soaks up the limelight and tummy rubs at campus events, hockey games and football games. But when the big dog on campus needs a break, a giant foam Bruiser mascot costume springs into action.

Cruzer the Crusader from Madonna University
CruzerMadonna University debuted Cruzer in 2017. Cruzer enjoys cheering the Madonna Crusaders to victory, showing off his dance moves, and shooting hoops.

Haley and Cylde from Olivet College
Comets

Over the years, Olivet College has had several unofficial mascots including a number of dogs and even a sheep. But in 1932, students and faculty were invited to submit names that signified action, speed and mobility – with the eventual winner being the Comets. Clyde the Comet has long been the Olivet mascot; but in 2018, Olivet introduced the first female mascot to ever represent the school – Haley.

Halo the Husky from Siena Heights University
Halo
In 2008, Siena Heights University decided it needed a mascot. The school is known as the Saints. But that didn’t seem so fierce. So students voted on an alternative and came up with Halo the Husky, in part to thumb their nose at the Bulldogs of Adrian College, their cross-town rivals. “It’s kind of a shot at Adrian College, the bulldogs, because huskies are stronger and faster,” the student who submitted the winning suggestion said.

That’s just a start of the differences between big public institutions and Michigan’s top 14 independent colleges and universities, where students forge success by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

SAU Student Uses 3D Printer to Help Fight Coronavirus

SAU 3D Printing

Spring Arbor University freshman electrical engineering student Noah Waldron is using his talents and education to make a difference for those on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. Making use of the 3D printer he created in his first year of the engineering program at SAU, Noah has printed more than 300 plastic headbands, which modify face masks to increase comfort, for the healthcare staff at Henry Ford Allegiance Health.

Noah’s mother works for Henry Ford Allegiance Health. Like many other medical professionals, she and her coworkers feel the pressure of trying to stay safe while caring for patients.

 “My mom brought up an issue of the masks not fitting securely to the face and mentioned how they put a lot of pressure on the ears,” says Noah. “Sending some examples, she asked if I could create a headband that addressed these issues to make the mask-wearing experience more comfortable.”

While other bands are crocheted or sewn and feature buttons around which ear loops can be hooked, the bands Noah makes are unique to his particular interests. Produced on his 3D printer, they are made of black, flexible plastic and feature notches on each end that allow the wearer to personalize the fit of their mask. Noah’s first batch was small, only 10 bands, which his mother quickly handed out. The next batch was much larger, and it wouldn’t be his last. Noah shares that, despite their lengthy printing process (about five hours for nine bands) he plans to keep printing the bands so long as they are needed.

“The staff at the hospital are working hard to keep us safe in the fight against COVID-19,” says Noah. “Printing the headbands is one small way that I can use my skills and resources to give back.”

According to Ron DeLap, Dean of the School of Engineering at SAU, all freshmen in the program are required to build a 3D printer for use during their time in the department. When Noah built his printer, he never expected to use it to fight a worldwide pandemic just months later. That all changed in mid-March when COVID-19 began to shut down all but the most essential services.

“I had no clue I would be helping out in such a major way,” says Noah. “I originally expected to only use the printer for projects and parts we designed in class.”

Noah’s first year of college may not have gone as planned, but he feels he’s making the most of it. “if I can’t be at school, it feels good to be helping my mom and her staff,” he says.

Noah’s committment to making a difference is a mission shared by Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities. Students are encouraged by engaged faculty to find their passion and make an impact by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds. All share an unwaivering commitment to helping students succeed.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Alma Venture Program


Experience is everything.
  And Alma College is committed to making sure you have an opportunity to put what you learn in the classroom to work in a meaningful way.  The College’s Center for Student Opportunity is committed to providing support services and access to practical experiences that enhance your education.  In fact, the Alma Venture gives you the financial support to not just study your field, but experience it firsthand.  As part of the Alma Commitment, the Alma Venture program provides up to $2,500 to offset the cost of your personalized experience.

Where will you Venture?
Your Alma Venture could take place on campus, or on the other side of the world. It could be credit-bearing—or not. The opportunities are endless!

You could travel abroad for an off-campus study program, see what it’s really like to work in your field through an internship, delve deep into a research project or, get hands-on clinical experience. Alma offers other experiential learning possibilities for students interested in leadership and service.

The Alma Venture is another example of Alma College’s unwavering commitment to the success of their students and graduates.  It’s the reason that Plaid Works!

Albion College Announces The ‘Michigan 2020 Promise’ Scholarship Exclusive To The Incoming Fall Class

No one should forgo education as a result of heightened financial duress stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.  That’s why Albion College announced a new and substantial scholarship program – the Michigan 2020 Promise.

This scholarship will assist Michigan families who have college affordability concerns due to COVID-19. Exclusive to graduating high school seniors and transfer students, the Michigan 2020 Promise will cover 100% of tuition and fees for Michigan students’ whose families make under $65,000 annually, after the Michigan Tuition and Federal Pell grants are applied. Families making over $65,000 at minimum will receive $92,000, or as high as $136,000 in Albion College scholarships over the course of 4 years.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has not only denied graduating seniors with the opportunity to walk in a high school graduation ceremony, it has evoked anxiety and concern for the financial and educational future of Michigan families,” said Dr. Mauri Ditzler, President of Albion College.  “Now more than ever, Albion College is committed to making higher learning accessible through this substantial scholarship, waived entrance exams and unrivaled value. Even in the face of uncertainty, Albion provides the hope, help and resources to empower Michigan students and families to reclaim ownership of their educational future, and the power to make quality, life-advancing decisions on their own terms.”

The program is a testament of Albion’s incredibly generous alumni, loyal donors and board of trustees. In fact, the Michigan 2020 Promise was made possible by a single, benevolent donor whose gift inspired the decision to offer the Class of 2020 this support.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, entrance exam testing dates were postponed to the fall. To lessen this undue stress and make the hope of higher education more readily attainable, Albion College will also be waiving ACT and SAT scores as a prerequisite for admissions—exclusive to the fall 2020 incoming class.

The opportunity to apply for a Michigan 2020 Promise scholarship expires on May 1.

Visit albion.edu/MI20promise for more details!

Make Your College Campus Visits, Virtually

While in-person admissions visits at Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, prospective students can still explore these beautiful campuses with the click of a button!

With virtual tours available, you can still get the chance to “walk” the campus, see and feel what life could be like for the next four years. The online tours not only give you a peak into each campus, but many schools even allow you to schedule an online information session with a live admissions counselor!  Get your questions answered and make an informed choice now from the comfort of your home.

Get more information in the links below:

Adrian College Virtual Tour

Albion College | Sign up for a Virtual Experience

Alma College Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Andrews University Virtual Tour  |  Sign up for a Virtual Preview

Aquinas College Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Personal Visit

Calvin University Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Hillsdale College Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Hope College Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Kalamazoo College Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Madonna University Campus Tour Video  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Olivet College Virtual Tour

Siena Heights University Virtual Tour

Spring Arbor University Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

University of Detroit Mercy Virtual Tour  |  Sign up for a Virtual Information Session

UDM accounting students earn #1 ranking for first-time CPA exam pass rates

The first-time pass rate of University of Detroit Mercy accounting graduates who take the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam is the best in the nation, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). NASBA reported the new rankings in the 2018 edition of Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination.

Data released this week by NASBA indicate that Detroit Mercy students and alumni achieved a 95% pass rate and an average test score of 87.5 on the 2018 CPA exam. The University was one of only two institutions in the nation to achieve a pass rate of at least 90%.

The first-time pass rates of Detroit Mercy students have ranked among the best in the United States for three straight years. NASBA’s full report is available at https://www.nasbareport.com/

Joseph G. Eisenhauer, dean of the College of Business Administration, said, “Having the top pass rate in the nation on the CPA exam reflects the excellent academic preparation and personal attention that our Accounting students receive from our outstanding faculty. Our graduates enter the job market ready to succeed as professionals in their chosen careers and the consistency with which we’ve been nationally ranked demonstrates that our quality never waivers.”

Among all 63,088 first-time test-takers, covering institutions of all sizes nationwide, the average pass rate was 57.5%, and the average test score was 72.9.

Holly McCartney, ’17, MBA ’18, who passed all four sections of the CPA exam last year and now works as a financial advisor at Plante Moran, said, “The Accounting Program at University of Detroit Mercy does an incredible job of preparing its students to pass the CPA Exam. The University recognizes the value of the CPA certification, but also how challenging it can be. The professors are dedicated to equipping students with the technical knowledge required to pass the exam and also providing motivation and support along the way.”

Michigan Colleges Alliance Team Wins 2019 Stryker Engineering Challenge

For the past five years, Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA) has fielded a team of four students from its member schools with engineering programs to compete in the annual Stryker Engineering Challenge. For the first time this year, the MCA team won against competing teams from Michigan Technological University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, Purdue University, and University of Notre Dame. The winners of the competition received a $1,000 scholarship (each) and an interview opportunity for a 2020 internship.

The Stryker Engineering Challenge is an overnight challenge where teams are given materials and approximately 12 hours to build a robot vehicle designed to navigate the challenge. Each robot is remote-controlled and tested in a 30-minute competition. During the competition, the robots are challenged to pick up Legos and race through an obstacle course. This year marked the ninth annual challenge with teams representing eleven different schools.

This is the fifth year that MCA has fielded a team. In 2015, the MCA team came in second place, and this year they won. The team was comprised of Devin Garcia & Jeremy Barrett of Andrews University, Denise Roorda of Calvin College, and Joshua Cormier of University of Detroit Mercy. The team took first place with 204 points and Michigan Technological University was a close second place with 203 points.

The students from the Michigan Colleges Alliance team had never worked together before the Stryker Challenge as they each attend different schools. Their victory is a testament to the high-caliber MCA schools and students, and their ability to work collaboratively in new situations.

Michigan Colleges Alliance is very appreciative of Professor Gunnar Lovhoiden, professor of engineering at Andrews University, who has served as the faculty mentor each year for this competition. Each year, he has generously donated his time during spring break to take on this role demonstrating an example of the strong student-faculty relationships valued at MCA schools. “The MCA team worked really well together and maximized their performance by making good design decisions,” he says.

Hyun Kwon, chair of the Andrews University Department of Engineering, adds, “I am so proud of our students. They have proven the ability to successfully compete at such a high level and against much larger schools.”

Private Colleges Team Up with Harvard Business School Online to Create Unique Hybrid Learning Program

Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA) is collaborating with Harvard Business School (HBS) Online to offer students at participating MCA campuses a blended learning program, and an opportunity to earn an HBS Online course credential. In the first phase, nearly 70 students from five MCA member colleges and universities completed the HBS Online’s Sustainable Business Strategy course in the spring.

“When we built this course, one of my hopes was that it could be utilized to educate young people about the important role that business has in tackling some of the challenging issues of our time,” said Harvard Business School Professor Rebecca Henderson . “The students and faculty from the MCA campuses who participated in this pilot are pioneers, and I look forward to seeing how they will apply the learnings from our course in their own communities.”

The participating colleges created a blended learning offering where students registered for the “sustainable business” course led by local faculty and featuring the HBS Online course led by Professor Henderson. Students then applied their learnings through projects with businesses that were facing sustainability challenges, including Wolverine Worldwide, Merrill, Adrian Steel and Thetford Corporation.

“This was by far the most interactive course I have ever taken,” said Mya Oleksiak , a sophomore at Adrian College . “I loved that the modules and field work put me in real-life situations, and the meetings with my professor and classmates tied it all together. It was a privilege to be part of it.”

“This was a huge opportunity to reinforce what I learned as a Sustainable Business major and to take it into the real world,” said Tyson Marsh , a senior at Aquinas College . “The conversations with people in my group, from Bangladesh and Australia , helped me see different ways to apply and approach sustainability, and it is really amazing to be able to help a big global company like Wolverine solve a real sustainability problem.”

“The HBS pilot is a perfect illustration of why MCA has become a national leader in private higher education collaboration,” said MCA President Robert Bartlett . “It embedded content from the most prominent business education brand and a global learning network into existing classes offered by our member campuses. It then connected student classroom experiences to real projects in local communities. This best practice, active pedagogy model has produced tangible outcomes for both students and local businesses throughout the state.”

MCA plans to extend the program with another Sustainable Business Strategy offering in the spring and other HBS Online courses in the future. MCA represents 14 of the top independent colleges and universities in Michigan. Participating colleges included Adrian College, Albion College, Andrews University, Aquinas College, and Spring Arbor University.