Friday, October 01, 2004

UDM Inaugural Gala.

Just got back from a wonderful evening at the Detroit Opera House celebrating the inauguration of Father Gerry Stockhausen, S.J. as the new president of the University of Detroit Mercy. The inaugural gala was a fancy black-tie affair (I was told to wear clerics, a new experience for me), with excellent food (rack of lamb, Chilean sea bass), live music, open bar, the whole shebang. I enjoyed wonderful dinner conversation with the people at my table, a combination of UDM alumni, faculty and staff (with some fitting in multiple categories). I got to sit next to Father Herm Muller (who I've mentioned before), still sharp at 95 and - as a longtime UDM professor - a friend and mentor to many at the gala. Herm also enjoys the fairly unique distinction of being able to say he's been a member of three different Jesuit provinces. When he entered the Missouri Province in 1928, it covered the whole Midwest. A week into Herm's novitiate, Missouri was divided up and Herm was made a member of the new Chicago Province. In 1955, Chicago itself was split and Herm became a member of the new Detroit Province. This should give you an idea of what an incredible life Herm has led - he's a remarkable man, and a great Jesuit.

The evening also gave me a healthy appreciation for UDM's service to Detroit. Three decades ago, as Detroit struggled with social unrest and urban decay, there was serious talk that the university might follow many other institutions in leaving the city. True to the Jesuit mission of meeting the greatest and most urgent needs of the Church and the larger community, UDM stayed in Detroit. Speaking with the people at my table and with others at the gala, I could see the vital impact that UDM has had within its community, and I felt proud of all the Jesuits have done to make that impact possible. In short, an enjoyable and inspiring evening. AMDG.


At October 02, 2004 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like your kind of party. Did you wear the black suit? Any pictures? - Mom

At October 02, 2004 7:36 PM, Blogger Joseph Koczera, S.J. said...

Mom -
Yes, I wore the black suit with clerical shirt. No photos, I'm afraid, as we neglected to bring the camera.


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