Just one week into what would become his nearly two-decade tenure as President of Marygrove College, Dr. John E. Shay, or “Jack,” as most of us call him, was asked what had originally attracted him to a small, liberal arts college in the Midwest. His answer perhaps mirrors the reasons many of us have found ourselves at Marygrove.
Marygrove was small. Intimate. It took care to cultivate relationships with its students. These things, he said in a 1980 interview, were precisely what made the college “an increasing asset.” These were the things that separated us from the “bureaucratization” found at so many other institutions.
While larger, state-funded institutions may have seen Marygrove as what Dr. Shay called, “a very small frog in a very large pond,” he knew that our independence was what enabled us to “make judgments based on educational goals not politics and state budgets.” Other distinguishing features were Marygrove’s commitment to the liberal arts, and perhaps most importantly, our refusal to compromise our Catholic roots. These things, Dr. Shay believed, were what would ensure the success of Marygrove College.
So when he was faced with fiscal challenges, he made cuts, rekindled relationships with many of the college’s supporters, and increased fundraising efforts. When presented with the proposed merger that would join Marygrove College with the University of Detroit and Mercy College of Detroit, Dr. Shay proudly announced the decision to keep Marygrove College independent. And so we remain.
Marygrove has certainly changed since Dr. Shay assumed the office of President of Marygrove College in 1980—yet, thanks to his leadership, it is also very much the same.
From 1980 to 1997, Dr. Shay honored our core commitments and in fact played a large role in helping the college reaffirm them. During the post-Vatican II period, many Catholic colleges—especially those with a largely secular student body—began asking themselves what it meant to be a Catholic institution. Should its messaging reflect the student body, even if a large portion of it was not Catholic? Would it have to soften its Gospel roots in order to secure enrollment growth? These were questions that Marygrove, like other Catholic institutions, were forced to grapple with. For Dr. Shay, however, there was little question as to what form our message would take.
Fundamental to Marygrove’s future, he believed, was a strong commitment to its Catholic roots. “It is more than our heritage,” he would say in a 1997 interview as he reflected back on the earlier part of his tenure. “It is a substantial part of the essence of this institution that is vital to our future as well as to our past. Were we not a Catholic college with a core set of values and a clear sense of mission, I don’t believe we could sustain community support for a liberal arts college in the City of Detroit,” he said.
Dr. Shay believed that Marygrove’s commitment to the Catholic mission could not be diluted for other reasons: the college’s history of social justice rooted in its religious nature, and Marygrove’s relationship to the IHM Congregation. Commitment to the Catholic mission would also be the impetus for Shay’s collaboration with faculty, staff, students, the IHM Sisters, alumni, friends and trustees to craft and finally adopt the college’s formal mission statement in 1983.
Despite his loyalty to tradition, Dr. Shay never stopped nurturing innovative ideas. Nor did it stop him from, as one of his colleagues put it, crossing the “grand canyon that usually separates college administration and faculty,” or from understanding that “strong administrators invite criticism and accept it with grace.”
And his ability to unite did not end with the faculty at Marygrove: It also extended to the College’s faithful supporters, the IHM Congregation and sponsors, and reached the Board of Trustees which began to reflect more truly the Detroit community.
None of us will quickly forget Dr. Shay’s disarming humor and the way he often used it to bridge gaps and bring people together in spite of their differences. Professor of English, Frank D. Rashid, has noted that, “In arguments, he disarms you with humor, and he’s infuriatingly good at taking a punch. In a calamity, all arguments forgotten, Jack stands at your side, his strong hand on your shoulder, steadying you until you can stand on your own.”
Dr. Shay may have had an inimitable wit, but he also had wisdom. The fact that Marygrove enjoyed fifteen years of balanced budgets, a successful capital campaign, implementation of the Master in the Art of Teaching program, and the launching of the 21st Century Initiative —a fund-raising effort designed to position the College for the new millennium—was not luck. Nor was it luck that he was able to implement a successful Five-Year Salary plan which raised faculty salaries, or that he established the Office of Enrollment Services and Retention, and saw significant increases in student retention.
In the inaugural address that followed his formal installation as President, Dr. Shay described his vision of Marygrove College: He saw it as a model Catholic institution; one that would serve the people of Detroit, of all races and creeds; one that would “be guided by spiritual and human values,” and “administered by people who care deeply about preserving its heritage.”
Thirty-three years after Dr. Shay arrived on our campus, his vision remains our own—and just as we remain rooted firmly in the city of Detroit, so will we remain firmly rooted in the values Dr. Shay modeled during his time with us.
Born in Rochester, New York and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Dr. Shay graduated from the University of Florida in 1955. Following four years of military service as a naval aviator he received his Master of Arts Degree from Columbia University. In 1960 he became Assistant Director of Student Activities at Harpur College (SUNY). In the fall of 1964 he became Dean of Men at Marshall University, during which time he was promoted to Dean of Student Affairs and awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
His service in higher education administration continued at The College of the Holy Cross between 1967 and 1971, where he first served as Dean of Students and then as Vice President for Student Affairs. Prior to becoming President of Marygrove, where he served from 1980 to 1997, he was Vice President for Student Affairs and Adjunct Professor of Education at the University of Rhode Island.
Dr. Shay is survived by his wife Patricia, daughter Maria and sons David and John.
Event to feature award winning poet Terrance Hayes, art exhibition honoring past authors
DETROIT, April 12, 2013 — To commemorate its twenty-fifth year of bringing nationally-known authors to its campus for a public lecture and seminar, Marygrove's English and Modern Languages Department is pleased to announce that award-winning poet Terrance Hayes, will be the featured guest at its Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series (CAALS) event to be held on Friday, April 19, 2013 on the Marygrove College campus. Mr. Hayes will also host a master class for Detroit area high school students and teachers beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the Marygrove College Theatre.
Marygrove College would like to congratulate and recognize all undergraduate students who have demonstrated academic excellence and outstanding leadership in 2013. For a complete listing of awards and recipients, browse the full 2013 Honors Convocation program below.
Marygrove College is the proud recipient of a new scholarship for students who demonstrate exceptional dedication to advancing our community and enhancing our surrounding neighborhood through leadership—the kind of leadership that is founded in the mission of the institution. The Quigley- Doherty Family Endowed Scholarship will be presented at the Honors Convocation on March 24 in honor of Mary Catherine and David J. Doherty by their five children. Throughout their 48-year marriage, the couple dedicated their lives to service to others, and shared their faith and belief in community with all who knew them.
After almost a decade of caring for their parents, Kathleen Doherty and her four brothers, Mike, Jim, John and Joe, spent a great deal of time cleaning out the family home to prepare it for sale. Kathleen couldn’t help but reminisce about the exceptional upbringing she and her four brothers were fortunate to receive.
Evidence of that fact was found throughout the home, in virtually every room: old photographs, letters, and mementos brought back memories and thoughts of childhood games, birthday parties, graduations and family weddings that will be filed away in her mind forever. One of the most curious things she discovered, over and over again, were keys—many, many keys in all shapes and sizes—neatly tucked in the backs of drawers and in cupboards.
Marygrove College Students to Receive Michigan Campus Compact Award for Dedication to Community Service
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Renee Zientek
Marygrove College Students to Receive Michigan Campus Compact Award for Dedication to Community Service
LANSING, MI – Michigan Campus Compact (MiCC) is pleased to announce that two students from Marygrove College will be awarded for their dedication and commitment to community service during the 17th annual Outstanding Student Service Awards Celebration, April 13, 2013, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Mich.
Each year, MiCC awards students from member colleges and universities across the state for their outstanding commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Three types of awards are given: the Outstanding Community Impact Award, the Commitment to Service Award and the Heart and Soul Award. This year, more than 450 students from 33 member campuses will receive awards.
Angel Count and Melody Farr will receive the Heart and Soul Award. This award is given to students to recognize their time, effort and personal commitment to their communities through service.
MiCC will honor all award recipients at an awards brunch on April 13, 2013, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Michigan Campus Compact is a coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education. MiCC promotes the education and commitment of Michigan college students to be civically engaged citizens, through creating and expanding academic, co-curricular and campus-wide opportunities for community service, service-learning and civic engagement. For more information, please visit www.micampuscompact.org.
DETROIT, March 6, 2013 — The Department of English and Modern Languages at Marygrove College has just completed the judging for the third year of the Mary Helen Washington Writing Award Contest, offered in conjunction with its Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series (CAALS). Named after nationally-renowned scholar, editor, essayist, and teacher Dr. Mary Helen Washington, and supported through the generosity of series sponsors Lillian and Don Bauder, this annual contest asks students to write essays in response to the works of the CAALS guest artist. This year’s students were asked to write essays or poems in response to the works of this year's guest artist, National Book Award-winning poet Terrance Hayes.
Registration is going on now for fourteen new classes offering graduate credit
DETROIT, Jan. 24, 2013 – Marygrove College today announced the addition of an exciting new complement of continuing education graduate recertification courses for teachers in cooperation with Learner’s Edge, Inc. (LEI). The expanded course selection offers dynamic topics that are timely and relevant for educators, such as autism, bullying and addressing multiple intelligences.
The partnership promises to provide interesting, affordable, applicable and rigorous courses for classroom teachers, school administrators, school counselors, speech therapists, school nurses and other education professionals. These courses are designed to expand the knowledge base of professionals, enhance classroom instruction and ultimately increase student achievement, which is a foundational goal shared by both Marygrove and LEI.
Campus memorial service will be held in the Sacred Heart Chapel in Marygrove’s Liberal Arts Building on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at 4:30 pm.
Last March, Dr. Chae-Pyong (J.P.) Song began his presentation at the Marygrove Academic Symposium with these words: “One way or the other we all cross borders; border-crossings entail arrivals and departures. But we all cross borders differently, so, we don’t experience arrivals and departures in the same way.”
Even in the last moments before he crossed his final border, J.P. taught us how to resist both physical and philosophical lines of demarcation; how to defy our own borders—just as he had throughout his life.
Today we are all grappling with his crossing in different ways, but those of us fortunate enough to have known him as a mentor, colleague and friend no doubt arrive at a similar destination: J.P. was a rare intellectual who found, and taught others to find, beauty and possibility in a world wrought with uncertainty.
After leaving Hwayang-myon, Yeosu, Korea in 1989, Dr. Song earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, concentrating on postcolonial Anglophone literature. He was coordinator of Marygrove’s Master of Arts in English program from 2007 through 2011 and has been a part of the department of English since 2001.
If we, no matter where we come from, could imagine others, and if we could place ourselves into the place of others, in other words, if we could exercise our empathetic imagination more willingly, the world could be a better place.
Dr. Chae-Pyong Song
In addition to being a master teacher of 20th century English literature, postcolonial literature, globalization and literary theory, J.P. has translated over 200 literary works by Korean poets, many of which appear on his website, Korean Poetry in Translation. His work has also been published in The Korea Times, New Writing from Korea, Metamorphoses: Journal of Literary Translation, WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, and Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature and Culture. Recently he, along with his friend and collaborator Dr. Anne Rashid, won the 40th Korean Literature Translation Awards for translating Kim Hye-soon's poems.
Have you heard the news about Belle Isle? According to some Detroit high school science students, zombies have threatened to take it over, and only through their intensive lab experiments will it survive! At least that’s the storyline in their specially-created comic book fantasy, “Battle for Belle Isle,” 40 pages of educational curiosity and high jinx, courtesy of the Third 90 Network—a Michigan Colleges Foundation (MCF) program that pairs member colleges like Marygrove with urban high school students for hands-on learning in environmental science.
Their latest venture: partnering with the Belle Isle Conservancy to conduct environmental research in and around the Blue Heron Lagoon. Students are half-way through a year-long program that focuses primarily on water quality testing. Could their results hold the key to the island’s future? Maybe. But their findings are certain to teach them a bundle about the island’s ecosystem, and a whole lot more about themselves— and the way they like to learn.
The Institute for Arts Infused Education at Marygrove is helping to put a creative spin on this already innovative learning model, by teaching students to report their findings in a frame-by-frame comic book format, using colorful illustrations and thought bubbles to animate their lab reports. The results were compiled in a published keepsake comic book. And everyone involved had something to contribute.
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
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
- Dr. Fike interviewed on First Shift with Tony Trupiano
- Paving the way through brick and mortar and love: In thanksgiving of Marygrove women.
- Marygrove College helps students affected by new Pell Grant legislation
- Building our Leadership in Detroit. Tell the story. Tell the truth. Be Unrelenting.
- Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance Joins Forces with Marygrove Friday, Oct. 12.
- Terrance Hayes 2013
- Two of Marygrove’s Distinguished Alums Receive High Honor in Catholic Education.
- Applied Professional Education Seminars
- Dramafest: The Second Stage