We are having an eventful year in 2014 -2015. I’m sure you have heard our biggest news for the year: Our new dean, Phyllis L. Crocker, joined us on July 1, 2014. Dean Crocker hails from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, where she was a professor of law and served as interim dean and associate dean for Academic Affairs. We are thrilled to have her lead UDM Law!
Another piece of news which is making us proud is our ranking for clinical experiences. UDM Law placed 18th in a ranking conducted by The National Jurist magazine of all law schools in the United States offering clinical opportunities for students, as reported in the magazine's sister publication, preLaw. Our clinic program began in 1965 with the founding of the Urban Law Clinic. We now offer several clinics, each addressing a distinct area of the law. We pride ourselves on having a program that meets the increasing and evolving needs of the citizens of metropolitan Detroit as well as military veterans across the country.
We have celebrated a great slate of events this year, including the September 23 Red Mass with Justice Michael Cavanagh leading the Renewal of the Lawyers Oath of Commitment. Justice Cavanagh is a triple threat, being a graduate of U of D High, U of D as an undergraduate, and U of D School of Law. The School organized a special tribute to him in recognition of his retirement from the Supreme Court effective January 1, 2015, and his daughter, Megan Cavanagh, and Dean Crocker provided wonderful remarks before he gave his own to a great crowd which included many of his judicial colleagues and family members as well as alumni, faculty, administrators, staff, students, and many attorneys from the Catholic Lawyers Society and the State Bar of Michigan who are not UDM grads but treasure the tradition of our Red Mass as much as we do.
On November 15, the annual Reunion was held on the School of Law campus. Special recognition was given to Justice Brian Zahra of the Michigan Supreme Court, who is the 2014 UDM Spirit of Achievement honoree. Alumni from classes going as far back as 1949 attended, and I couldn't help but notice that the crowd was full of many new faces of recent graduates as well as alumni I haven't seen at School events before. The buzz was not only about how cool the atrium and cafeteria looked for the party - transformed into a lounge atmosphere - but how amazing the entire building renovation was. An astonishing number of alumni have not been to campus since Dowling Hall was renovated to such an extreme that a rededication was warranted in November of 2011. The Reunion was held on campus this fall to try to rectify this problem. It was a great success! If you weren't able to attend, please make a real effort this academic year to visit campus. You'll be very happy that you did.
We have exciting events in 2015, so mark your calendars for the annual McElroy Lecture on Law and Religion on March 4 at 5:00 p.m. at the School of Law; the 5K Race for Justice on March 29 at 10:00 a.m. in Windsor; and the Voice for Justice Auction on April 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Stroh River Place in Detroit. And don't forget the Chili Cook-off at UDM's McNichols Campus as part of the Homecoming festivities on Sunday, January 17, from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. My wife and I will be cooking on behalf of the School of Law, so PLEASE COME AND VOTE!
I look forward to seeing you at alumni events throughout the year. Please remember to support the School of Law with a gift by June 30 and to recommend prospective students. Thank you very much.
Mark A. Wisniewski (’90)
President, UDM Law Alumni Association