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University of Detroit Mercy expands with a campus in Novi

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Michigan's largest Catholic university,University of Detroit Mercy, is opening a campus in Novi that will include graduate and health education programs and new continuing educational offerings in health care and related fields including dental. 

Officials announced Tuesday that the new campus — a 40,000-square-foot building to be located at the intersection of 12 Mile and Meadowbrook —is one of several developments at the college that was founded in Detroit by Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes eight months after Detroit Mercy,which is also sponsored by the Religious Sisters of Mercy, announced in February an expansive renovation project of its main campus on McNichols after it completed its largest fundraising campaign in the University’s history and exceeded its $100 million goal by $15 million.

UDM President Antoine M. Garibaldi believes the new campus offers another example of the institution’s future beyond the pandemic as it continues to invest in its main campus in Detroit, and expand educational opportunities in the suburbs.

“Detroit Mercy's acquisition of this new campus will allow the university to expand academic programs in the health professions and other fields in which we are strong and that are in demand," he said.

"In addition to this campus’ proximity to several medical centers, Detroit Mercy will now be able to expand its 14 decades-long and Detroit-based Jesuit and Mercy education to a larger population in the metropolitan area while simultaneously building on our three campuses in the city of Detroit.”

The new campus, to be housed at what was once for-profit South University, is ready to be occupied with its classrooms, lounges, modern equipment, parking and proximity to numerous medical centers in the area.

Discussions are still underway as to when classes will begin but possibly as soon as January. 

"This is coincidental," Garibaldi said. "For our 143-year history at the University of Detroit, we have always been in the city of Detroit since 1877."

The exceptions are the programs in the dental school, which include clinical sites providing dental care at ten locations throughout the state. UDM also offered classes in liberal arts and business in Clarkston at a facility that is now the Colombiere Conference & Retreat Center.

"When this facility popped up on our radar screen, it was something we really had to think about ... because we have thought about expanding our programs," said Garibaldi.

The new campus comes as UDM is working on a multi-year renovation project slated to begin in mid-November with an expansion of the student union, followed by the eventual demolition of the University’s Fisher Administration Center and Reno Hall. UDM also opened its upgraded School of Dentistry’s entrance in August, which features a three-story glass atrium and four stained glass panels from the chapel built in 1941 on Mercy College of Detroit’s campus. 

UDM consolidated with Mercy College of Detroit in 1990. It has 83,000 living alumni, half of whom live in Michigan. The rest live in every state in the nation and 65 countries throughout the world. 

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com