The Monroe Advocate featured a small ad on Christmas Day, 1845 soliciting students to enroll in a new academy for educating girls in the Catholic faith. The former Frenchtown settlement named for President James Monroe in southeast Michigan was in the throes of a terribly harsh winter, rendering villagers house-bound. It was all they could do to keep their yule logs burning while preparing the traditional goose or turkey for their Christmas feasts.
The headline that appeared on the second page read: “Young Ladies’ Academy. Under the Direction of the Sisters of Providence” followed by a prospectus of the new school, founded for the purpose of educating the daughters of French-speaking families. It was the beginning of a new model from the soon-to-be renamed Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), a congregation of women who devised a standard of Catholic education which, over the course of the next 80 years, would evolve and grow to include Marygrove College in Detroit.
Marygrove College receives NEA grant to support
2013 Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series
Detroit, MI, Dec. 10, 2012—National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that Marygrove College is one of 153 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant. Marygrove is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support the 2013 Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series. Since its inception 24 years ago, the series has emphasized the importance of African American literature and fulfilled the community’s desire to hear nationally recognized African-American writers discuss their work before a diverse audience. Marygrove celebrates the 25th anniversary of the series in 2013 by featuring National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes, author of four collections of poetry (Muscular Music, Hip Logic, Wind in a Box, and Lighthead). Each installment of this distinctive series has four components: a class session conducted by the author for students from Marygrove College and Detroit area high schools, a VIP reception and dinner honoring the author, two writing contests, and the Lillian and Don Bauder Lecture—a reading open to the public. Hundreds of people—community leaders, students, and lovers of literature—from the metro area participate in each year’s event. New this year is a fifth component: an art exhibit which expands awareness of the selected series authors and their influence on social and cultural environments.
“Salute her towers,
Her gleaming towers,
Ever aspiring to the sky…
It was a beautiful day in early June, 1929 at the newly renovated St. Mary’s Academy in Monroe. A thin ribbon of black smoke was discovered against the crisp blue sky, wafting from the east attic windows. The cast-iron gong was promptly sounded as the fire quickly grew out of control.
The Detroit News reported “300 girl students were at recess when the fire was discovered” and ran extras of the story as crowds gathered to watch the blaze. In the classic account, No Greater Service by Sister Rosalita Kelly (1892-1964), she details how Mother Domitilla Donohue (1863-1930) reminded the shaken congregation that “Buildings… could be restored, but the precious life of a child, never.” Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) and their devoted community were devastated by the fire that gutted their beloved academy, “…mercilessly destroying the work of years.”
College ensures that finances will not be a barrier to graduation
DETROIT, Nov.13, 2012 – Marygrove College is among only a handful of private colleges in Michigan that is taking action to support its students affected by new Pell Grant restrictions that went into effect in July, 2012. The College has committed to ensuring that ability to pay will not prevent students affected by the Pell Grant changes from graduating on time. A key part of this commitment comes from a generous matching gift pledge from new Marygrove Board of Trustees appointee and alumna Nan McDonough Geschke ’64, who has pledged to match, dollar for dollar, all alumni donations during Marygrove’s annual fall appeal.
The Pell Grant restrictions imposed by policymakers in Washington effectively “pulled the rug out” from students who, through no fault of their own, lost funding that they were depending on to complete their college education. New restrictions have increased the household income requirement, scales back the number of funded semesters and disproportionately affects lower income students. In fact, 150 Marygrove students were directly affected and were faced with putting their college dreams on hold because of an inability to pay. The College estimates it will cost between $1M and $1.5M over the next two years to carry out its mission to support these students. To this end, Marygrove has developed a funding strategy to help close the financial aid gap for students who will exhaust their Pell grant funding before completion of their degree. Through this strategy, Marygrove commits to fund the loss of Pell grants for up to the equivalent of two full time academic years, contingent upon students developing a degree completion Plan of Work with their academic advisor.
Unrelenting means not giving in. Not letting up. “Unrelenting” is a dance number choreographed by Marygrove College Dance alumna Zandria Lucas, ‘12 and recently performed on campus for visiting Fellows from the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance (KFLA) Forum 2012. Nine minutes of captivating movement told a story set to the lyrics “Will I?” from the Broadway musical, RENT. Nine minutes of perpetual motion penetrated the hearts and minds of its riveted audience.
“Will I lose my dignity?…Will I lose my tomorrow?” The athleticism and strenuous requirements of the dance are second only to the unfolding story of community that was enacted—a story familiar to anyone who has ever had a conflict in life and sought to resolve it with the help of others— only to come out of it feeling exhilarated, proud and resilient. [Resilience.]
There were moments when the spectators in the studio were overcome with emotion. Beauty can do that. But the tears that day were a profound reaction to a message that was more like a whisper, eluding the ears and the brain and leaping straight to the heart. Even after several months, the dancers said they weep at times, too. It is a platform that is hard to put into words, because it really transcends them. [Transcendence.]
Throughout the performance, Marygrove Dance Company Manager and Dance Recruitment Counselor Jonathon Cash watched intently from the back. He says Unrelenting is a work that is so difficult, many dancers simply do not have the physical strength to perform it. A recent Marygrove graduate himself, Cash currently scours the country for urban dance students willing and able to make their marks on this fine, established dance company.
Known for their poignancy, Marygrove’s Dance programs never disappoint. As the students’ bodies were rising and falling to their knees—rising and falling, it begged the question: how many times has Detroit risen from the ashes? “Unrelenting” peels back layers of triumphs and challenges, exposing what it’s like to build community, revealing what it takes to be an urban college. And like Detroit, Marygrove is transforming. [Transformation.]
Marygrove College is living proof that the city of Detroit is so much more than its often-reported headlines of failing schools and lost opportunities. As hosts of a Community Session on Urban Leadership for the national Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance (KFLA) on Friday, Oct. 12, the College is helping to rewrite the story about what is strong in Detroit; like the will of its people or the resolve of its long-standing institutions to provide access to quality education.
Roughly six years of thoughtful planning and hard work has come to fruition this year for Marygrove with an exciting award of $1.5 million in funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, one of the country’s leading philanthropic institutions. The grant is supporting the College’s Urban Leadership Vision in the form of a program called Building Our Leadership in Detroit (BOLD). The program is designed to transform the way students develop as leaders at Marygrove College.
Executed through the College’s Office of Urban Leadership, BOLD seeks to partner with national experts such as the KFLA to build ongoing community outreach programs. The grant will be used over the course of three years for programming and additional staff, to ultimately help position Marygrove as a qualified center for urban study and leadership. The phased program will eventually mandate a signature, four-year iterative academic experience for ALL students, regardless of major.
“As an institution serving the community of Detroit, I believe that we have a responsibility to capitalize on our location and improve outcomes for students and families,” says Dr. David J. Fike, Marygrove College President. “With the support of KFLA, BOLD will enable the College to sustain a long-term commitment to enhance urban leaders, and produce meaningful community change.”
Terrance Hayes will read and sign copies of his work at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 19 in Madame Cadillac Hall on the Marygrove College campus, 8425 West McNichols Road. The event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.
Two out of the six Elizabeth A. Seton Awards given this year were received by women who began their life’s journey at Marygrove College in Detroit. Nancy A. Geschke,’64 and her husband, Charles M. Geschke and Lorraine A. Ozar, ‘68 were honored Oct. 1 at the Annual St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. It is the highest honor given by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA).
One Saint. Two Distinguished Alums. Three C’s.
Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) is popularly known in this country as a patron saint of Catholic education. She was born in late eighteenth century America, a time when the original thirteen colonies were not tolerant of Catholicism, or Popery, a then commonly used pejorative. Life was hard. Saint Elizabeth Seton was only 46 when she died, but was able to accomplish more in those short years for American Catholic education than most could do in a lifetime.
Elizabeth was born in the colony of New York to a prominent Episcopalian family. After enduring more than her share of typical hardships of the day— including severe illness, the deaths of many loved ones and abject poverty— she sought comfort in the Roman Catholic faith and converted in 1805 at the age of 31. Several friends and family members rejected her.
(and Others in the Helping Professions)
These dynamic, highly interactive seminars will address the specific needs of helping professionals working with addiction issues in short, half-day forums that will earn 3 CEU hours towards the Michigan Certification Board of Addiction Professionals.
Marygrove College and The Carr Center partner to present
Dramafest: The Second Stage
DETROIT, August 31, 2012—Marygrove College along with the The Carr Center, are pleased to present Dramafest: The Second Stage on Saturday, September 8, at 8:00 p.m. in the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Arts Center. The event, located at 311 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit, 48226, is free and open to the public.
The Second Stage provides an opportunity for playwrights who participated in Marygrove’s Fifth Annual Spring Dramafest to further develop and present their work for a second reading in the community. This event will feature Dance Away, a Choreopoem from the 2012 Audience Choice Award recipient, Charday Ward.