Fifty years ago: Lourdes Shrine/Gardella Honors House built and dedicated

University of Detroit Mercy students today know this building as the Gardella Honors House, but the original name of the structure was known as Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine. It was donated by Mr. and Mrs. George A. Gardella, Sr., president of Food Associates of Michigan Inc. Construction was supposed to start in January of 1963, but did not begin until March because of a delay in shipping the marble from Italy for the side walls of the structure. After mass in Gesu Church, parents, graduates and faculty, marched in procession to the new edifice for a dedication ceremony June 13, 1963. The graduates would receive their degrees later that day.

Fr. Celestin J. Steiner, S.J. (speaking), U-D chancellor, Mr. and Mrs. George A. Gardella (seated in front row at left)

A bit of hockey history at University of Detroit Mercy

Hockey squad March 1929: Left to right, Coach Boeringer, Leo Shubnell, Vincent Keyes, Jerry Donovan, Jack Sparling, C. Scott Howard, Chrlaes Massacek, John Nader, Bernard O'Neill, John Maley, Mgr.

Now that the Detroit Red Wings are back in action, here are a few notes about the University of Detroit Mercy hockey team. Not long after the move to the McNichols campus from the Jefferson campus, in addition to the football and basketball teams, they fielded a hockey team. Though hockey was a club sport, the Titans played regular college teams. In the 1970-71 season they tied with Dayton for first place in the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association.

The following year, however, there was a major budget cut from $7,000 to$3,500. The team could no longer play an intercollegiate schedule and could not have the U-D on its uniform or use the name “Titan” If the university had no connection with the actual running of the team it would not be responsible if the”club” got into any altercations while playing with the league.

For a while the UD students formed a hockey team and were called the Rainbow Team and were members of the Southwest Hockey League.(Varsity News, January 25, 1974) I do not find any pictures of the team, but my guess is that they were called the Rainbow Team because they could not officially represent UD, so their uniforms were anything but uniform. I have not gone through enough Varsity News to find out how long the Rainbow Team survived.

The current version of the hockey club began in 2009. Since they are a “club” they still cannot use the Titan name or logo, but as you can see from this photo from the 2012 Varsity News-hockey is once again a part of the UDM sport teams. Hmmmmmmmmmm, maybe instead of a putting in the Olympic size pool at the Student Fitness Center, how about a hockey rink!

Pat Higo, Archives and Special Collections Librarian

Buckminster Fuller and World Game at University of Detroit 1970

“the most important fact about spaceship earth: an instruction book didn’t come with it.” R. Buckminster Fuller

The World Game was an educational exercise in planning a more equitable and efficient  distribution of the worlds resources among all people. It was conceived and designed by Buckminster Fuller, who served as a visiting professor at U. of D.  for a year in the School of Architecture. Students could could earn up to eight credits as a graduate or undergraduate in the biology, sociology and education departments. At U. of D. the students centered their efforts in solving pollution and urban problems facing the universe. As part of a freshman semester project, U. of D. architecture students constructed a geodesic dome which was then turned into a World Game center.

Students used research materials that Buckminster Fuller had been gathering for 50 years.  The players accessed the World Resource Inventory at a computerized facility at the Edwardsville campus of Southern Illinois University. It included information from geography, meteorology, minerology, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and ecology. (You have to remember-there was no such thing as the internet to use at this time)

Buckminster Fuller answers a student’s question on the implications of design.

In spite of the initial enthusiasm for the program, it did not survive after the first year at the University of Detroit. Plans to have a summer course failed-no students signed up. In addition to financial problems, there was a debate over the academic value of the course. When the World Game course was cancelled in 1971,  it was moved to Duns Scotus, a very small college of about 60 students, run for primarily Franciscan brothers and priests. The geodesic dome was demolished.

From Wikipedia: In 2001, a for-profit educational company named o.s. Earth, Inc. purchased the principal assets of the World Game Institute and has been offering a Global Simulation Workshop that is a ‘direct descendant of Buckminster Fuller’s famous World Game.

“Be sure you have a comfortable cup of tea” Catherine McAuley

As I was searching around the web looking for special days in January, I came across a page that had January as “Hot Tea Month“. It reminded me of a quote that  Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Religious Sisters of Mercy (RSM), said to one of her sisters on her deathbed: “Be sure you have a comfortable cup of tea for them when I am gone.” Since then a tea cup has become the symbol of Mercy hospitality.

From those early days in 1830′s in Ireland, the Sisters of Mercy spread their mission to help the poor, sick and unschooled throughout the world. The first Sisters of Mercy arrived in the United States from Ireland in 1843 and soon established hospitals and schools from coast to coast.

From about 1934 there has been a Mercy College of Nursing in the Detroit area which was originally based in a multi-story building on East Grand Boulevard, across the street from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Even though there were some debates and conflicts with other nearby Catholic Colleges when the Nursing School decided to build a new motherhouse, novitiate and college, Mother Carmelita persevered and found 40 acres for sale on Outer Drive and Southfield. Mercy College of Detroit opened in its newly constructed building one year later on September 8, 1941.

In 1990 Mercy College of Detroit would consolidate with the University of Detroit to become the University of Detroit Mercy. The land for the Outer Drive Campus was later sold to be a campus for Wayne County Community College

On that note: its January in Michigan-I’m going to make myself comfortable with a cup of tea.


Snow scenes at the University of Detroit Mercy

Well we got our white Christmas in 2012. There was not much snow last January, but looks like this year we may have a few more snowflakes to shovel. Whether or not global warming will produce much snow on campus this year, here are a few snow memories from the past of Mercy College of Detroit and the University of Detroit:

A Christmas Concert by the University of Detroit Madrigal Singers

The Madrigal Dinners (1964-1966) were sponsored by the University of Detroit Chorus and the Student Union. Members of the Chorus in full medieval costume, welcomed the diners at the door of the student union decorated in middle English ‘Great Hall’ trappings.

Guests are called to the table by heralds playing fanfares and a processional of tasseled trumpets, which also hail the arrival of each course on the menu.

The traditional Yuletide meal of Old England consisted of traditional roast sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding, wassail, and flaming pudding.

A recording of the Songs by the University of Detroit Madrigal Singers is available on CD at the library.

Registering for class-before computers!

Once upon a time, before online registration was available, thousands of university students had to fill out all kinds of forms and stand in line to register for a class. Sometime in the early 1960′s they moved from the long form to keypunch cards.

There was some organization to the chaos of registration. Students were given specific dates when they could register depending on your last name, day or evening student, graduate or undergraduate level. So for example here is what the schedule would look like:

There was of course the possibility that by the time you got to register, the course would be full or the time you wanted to take to class was no longer available. Somehow things got worked out so the student could graduate in a timely manner.

Football at Mercy College of Detroit

Did you know Mercy College of Detroit had a football team? It was only around from 1967 to 1971, but there was a team! Ok- so it was a flag football team, no helmets or padding as part of the uniform-but still it was a football team!

Mercy College of Detroit Football Team 1968Left to right, bottom row: Mark Livingston, Leo Compliment, Tom Eansor, Bob Perry, Stu Griswold, Alex Bardoni, Ed Williams.Top row: Bill Leddy, John Hammang, Mike Peitrzyk, Jay Deering, Mick McCabe, George Marchinkowski

The teams they played: Detroit College of Business, Midwestern Baptist, Detroit Institute of Technology, Shaw College (formerly Michigan Lutheran College), and Detroit Bible College. Their first game was with the University of Detroit Bulkers on September 22, 1966, which they lost 26 to 0. As far as I can tell the last scheduled game was November 13, 1971 against Midwestern Baptist College but I can find no news reports of the final score if it was played at all. The previous scheduled game with Detroit Institute of Technology was not played because D.I.T. did not show up for the game until 35 minutes after the scheduled kick-off time and Mercy was awarded a forfeit.

All the home games were played  at Peterson Field at the corner of Greenfield and Curtis. Not counting the first game with the U of D Bulkers, the Mercy College Crusaders had a record of 19 wins and 12 losses (pending whatever happened to the last scheduled game).

The Flag Football Program came to an end for a number of reasons as cited by the  1970-71 Athletic Annual Report: ” injuries which occur (because proper padding and helmets are prohibited by the league), a lack of qualified referee assignments and a lack of commitment on the part of the other colleges who run their programs in a slip-shod manner.”

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