Madonna University News

  • Nolan Awards 2015

Madonna Arts and Humanities Graduates Honored

April 30, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – Ten Madonna University students graduating from the College of Arts and Humanities were recently presented with the Ernest I. Nolan Awards for Excellence in the Humanities recognizing their academic achievement.

Madonna faculty and advisors selected award recipients based on the students’ accomplishments, overall academic achievement, and demonstrated excellence in their major. Students graduating from the College of Arts and Humanities with honors, high honors and highest honors, also were recognized at the event.

The following award recipients are pictured in the attached photo, L-R:

Graduate Nolan Award honorees:

  • Laurie Kay Aren (Westland), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry
  • Frank Harrison (Southfield), Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

Undergraduate Nolan Award honorees:

  • Lisa Thomson-Baker (Dearborn), Visual Arts Education
  • Rachael Kallis (Howell), Sign Language Studies
  • Kathryn Rand (Farmington Hills), Fine Arts
  • Hannah Glodich (Plymouth), Graphic Design
  • Karleigh Creighton (Farmington Hills), Journalism & Public Relations
  • Christopher Ryan Merbler (Canton), Broadcast & Cinema Arts

Not pictured:

  • Gwendolyn Higgins (Grand Rapids), Communication Studies
  • Laura Rea (Livonia), English

Madonna University president Sister Rose Marie Kujawa, congratulated the students as well as their families and assured them they will be truly well-prepared for the future. She also encouraged them to remember the Madonna University value of service to others as they enter life after college.

Kathleen Edelmayer, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, encouraged students to be true to themselves and to embrace love, laughter and life. “It’s love and laughter that really help us get through life,” she said.

She said that in addition to the knowledge and experience needed for their careers, their Madonna education also gives them compassion for and a willingness to serve others. “We give you those foundations – they will help you build your dreams,” she said.

The award is named after Madonna University’s provost and vice president of academic affairs and professor of English. It was created in 1995 to recognize the academic achievements of students in the Humanities and is given to a select number of graduating seniors as a testament to their outstanding performance in the field of fine arts. This year’s awards were presented to students April 28, in Madonna University’s Kresge Hall, followed by a reception.


  • National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Awards

Student Videos Take Top Awards

April 27, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – The work of two talented Broadcast and Cinema Arts students was honored recently by the Michigan chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Junior Miranda Ferguson, of Ortonville, and graduating senior Darryn Montgomery, of Westland, received Michigan Regional Student Production Awards. Of the 40 nominations this year, 10 Madonna students received 12.

“We have a lot of talented students and very fine teachers from the industry,” said Chuck Derry, associate professor and director of the Madonna’s broadcast and cinema arts program. “We are very happy for the recognition our students received from the Academy as both nominees and awardees.”

Ferguson garnered three awards: for a public service announcement “Good Girl Come Back”, for a sign language music video “Wings,” and an editing award for “Wings”.

In the writing category, Montgomery took home the award for his movie script “Gangster Report,” the 2014 student capstone full-length feature film.

“It isn't just me that deserves the awards,” said Ferguson. “Without God I wouldn’t even be at college, let alone almost finishing,” said Ferguson. “I certainly would have given up long ago without His grace guiding me. My family, friends and coworkers have assisted me, too.”

Montgomery said he was “humbled” to be recognized with the award, “I want to thank the 2014 Capstone in Film Production class for all their hard work and dedication. That award belongs to the class.”

Madonna President Sr. Rose Marie Kujawa wrote in a campus-wide email, “We offer sincere congratulations to our students who captured enough awards to tie for first place in the statewide NATAS competition. This is extraordinary. Of course, we also congratulate their teacher and mentor Chuck Derry as well as the other faculty members who guided these students to these high standards.”

Awards were given at the Detroit Public Television studios in Wixom on April 18.

The Michigan Regional Student Production Awards for excellence ( promote best practices to university/college and high school students, and are intended to be an incentive for the pursuit of excellence in television journalism. They focus public attention on outstanding achievements in television produced by students.

NATAS is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and related media and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry, best known for the coveted Emmy® Award. The Michigan Chapter supports future broadcast and media producers by recognizing the talent and efforts of high school and college students in our region with Student Production Awards.

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  • Crystal Gala 2015

Madonna Gala Highlights Mission and Students

April 24, 2015

The Crystal Madonna Gala sparkled April 23, as alumni, benefactors, Felician Sisters and friends of Madonna University came together to raise funds for scholarships.

Decorated in shimmery gold, with splashes of blue, the ballroom was filled with some 350 guests. Emcee for the evening was Cheryl Chodun, broadcast and cinema arts instructor and former Channel 7 Action news reporter.

Highlights of the evening included a musical performance by Madonna students Viviana Garabello and Darian Bird. Garabello’s strong opera voice was accompanied by Bird’s magical piano performance. They were joined by some 25 student volunteers who shared their Madonna experiences with guests during dinner.

Board Chair Judge Michael Talbot brought into focus the event theme with an invocation that highlighted the Franciscan value: Respect for the dignity of all people.

After a delicious dinner, Rev. Raymond Hammond, founder of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church inspired the crowd with stories of how “education matters. As it turns out,” he said. “Education in our day and time is not a luxury. It is a necessity.”

He shared how a Madonna education had made the difference in the lives of a Detroit mother and her sons. Rev. Hammond closed with this impassioned plea, “I pray that tonight you will generously and sacrificially give to this outpost of God’s grace called Madonna University – that you will give not only until it hurts, but until it really helps another generation of God’s children to fill the gap between their potential and their opportunity.”

Mike Schmidt of the Ford Motor Company Fund joined Sr. Rose Marie Kujawa in presenting the 2015 Crystal Madonna Award to the Lions Clubs of Michigan, in recognition of their extraordinary respect for, and service to, those who are deaf or blind, as well as their huge commitment to scholarships for higher education,” said Kujawa.

A special tribute to Sister Rose Marie was made by Andrea Nodge, vice president for advancement, as Sister will retire at the end of June. When presenting Sister with a dozen roses, Nodge quoted Dr. Seuss, ‘Don’t cry because it is over,’ said Nodge. ‘Smile because it happened.’

In keeping with the theme: the audience was treated to a music video to John Lennon’s song, Imagine, which featured students and alumni living out the Franciscan values. After which, the raffle prize winners were drawn by sport management major D’Marco Redd.

In his benediction, Monsignor Todd Lajiness, rector and president of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, asked “God’s continued blessings on our Madonna family and friends as we live out our Franciscan values and work to make the world a better place.”


  • Kappa Delti Pi

Madonna students collect books to promote literacy among children

April 20, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University education honor society Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) members gathered more than a thousand books and put together 40 care packages for needy children in the community as part of the society’s Literacy Alive! challenge.

The Madonna students filled colorful pillowcases with toys, small games and a personalized note for children staying at the First Step domestic violence shelter in Wayne. The care package initiative is part of Kappa Delta Pi’s Project DREAM – Developing, Reading, Engaging and Memories. During the Milk and Cookies Read-in, May 2, KDP members will read to the children, help them make a craft and give each of them a care package.

The Project DREAM care packages were made possible through KDP student fundraisers, as well as grants totaling $1,000 received through Kohl’s Department Store Associates in Action program at the Canton store. In addition to financial support, five Kohl’s employees volunteered three hours to help KDP members write the notes and put together the packages.

In addition to new books donated by Kohl’s, Madonna University Kappa Delta Pi members collected gently used books, and will give more than 1,000 books to students at Gompers Elementary School in Detroit.

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