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President's Cabinet Medallion



Through wisdom and foresight, the Sisters of Mercy and the Society of Jesus have made a tremendous impact on Catholic higher education in the City of Detroit. In 1877, the Jesuits founded the University of Detroit and in 1941, the Sisters of Mercy founded Mercy College of Detroit. Decades later, these two religious communities joined their individual talents and traditions in a unique partnership to form the University of Detroit Mercy. This year, on behalf of the University of Detroit Mercy, the President’s Cabinet is pleased to recognize the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Regional Community of Detroit and the Society of Jesus, Detroit Province with the President’s Cabinet Medallion for their collaborative sponsorship of the University of Detroit Mercy.
The Society of Jesus, Detroit Province
Founded in 1540 by Spanish nobleman St. Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus is the largest religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. While service to the Church is the primary role of the Jesuits, education has always been important purpose. Initially, the Jesuits focused their educational efforts on the clergy and laity, but it was not long before they began to establish colleges throughout Europe to educate youth as well
The Jesuits’ link to Michigan and the University of Detroit Mercy began in the 1600s. The Society of Jesus had already set up missions in Michigan before the state was founded in 1701. By the mid-1800s, the Jesuits were ready to establish parishes and schools in Detroit. In 1844, the Jesuits assumed leadership of the SS. Peter and Paul Church in Detroit. In 1870, Bishop Caspar Henry Borgess, already a proponent and a product of Jesuit education, made Catholic education a priority in Detroit. In 1877, he founded the Detroit College on Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit, and asked the Society of Jesus to provide the educational leadership for the new institution. Enrollment and facilities expanded, and by 1911 the Detroit College became the newly chartered University of Detroit. As a result of continued growth, the University of Detroit moved from Jefferson to its new location at Six Mile and Livernois.
From the University’s inception, the Jesuits emphasized an educational tradition that began with St. Ignatius Loyola more than 400 years ago. This tradition is characterized by a passion for quality; a board liberal education; a person-oriented education; the promotion of ethical values and justice; and a religious dimension.
Currently, 25 of the Detroit Province’s 205 Jesuits are affiliated with the University of Detroit Mercy. The Detroit Province, located near the McNichols Campus on Seven Mile Road, is one of 10 Jesuit provinces in the United States, through which 4,500 Jesuits work and reside.
In addition to educational institutions and parishes, Jesuits work in areas that directly address the needs of the suffering, oppressed and powerless. As community organizers, prison chaplains, health care and housing experts, Jesuits confront the social problems of the day. Detroit Jesuits are also active in special programs such as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and Boys Hope.
Award was presented at the Twenty-Ninth Annual President's Cabinet Dinner, October 11, 1996.

University of Detroit Mercy

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