Madonna University News

  • Urban Garden

Madonna Students “Turnip” Children’s Nutrition Knowledge with Urban Garden

June 30, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – With the help of Madonna University students, young gardeners plant and care for vegetables, try new foods, and even learn such life skills as teamwork. In other words, it’s a garden that can’t be “beet.”

Madonna dietetics students plant, weed and water alongside elementary-school children in the Children’s Urban Garden, at the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center, in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood. The project has been ongoing for the last several years as a part of Madonna professor Laura Freeland Kull’s Community Nutrition service-learning class.

An element of the six-week Children’s Summer Program, the Children’s Urban Garden involves students who have just finished first through fifth grade. It’s designed to help them retain the information they learned the previous school year and give them a head start on what they will be taught the next academic year. They also play games, take field trips and participate in other activities.

Kull explained that her Community Nutrition class requires the students spend at least five hours planting and maintaining the Children’s Urban Garden at three locations during the semester, which encourages them to experience multiple aspects of community nutrition. The 18 students in the class work in the garden on a rotation to make sure the vegetables are cared for throughout the semester.

Kull said that while her students engage the children in discussions about which veggie is their favorite, they are pleasantly surprised to learn how many children actually like vegetables. “Generally, they have a really fun time,” she said. The children watch their vegetables grow during the summer program and eventually take some home to their families.

In its three beds the Children’s Garden sprouts a bean teepee – an excellent playing and hiding spot for young children – plus rows of tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, leafy greens, hot and bell peppers, cucumbers, broccoli and even a little corn.

Eva Essex, children’s program coordinator at St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center, said without the Madonna University students, the garden wouldn’t be nearly as big or well-maintained. Working in the garden is both fun and educational for the children, as they learn how to plant and care for the vegetables and patiently watch them grow. And when their parents come to pick them up at the end of the day, the kids are excited to show off their hard work.

Some of the youngsters are leery of tasting vegetables at first, but “tasting produce fresh out of the garden is a great experience for them,” Essex said. “Learning how to grow their own food has a huge impact on the kids. There is so much excitement when they arrive for the after school program, asking, ‘Are we going outside to the garden today?’ They even enjoy doing the weeding.”

David Camilleri, a pre-dietetics student in his third year of classes at Madonna University, said they also played games with the kids. For example, in the nutrition relay, the child draws a card with the picture of a food item on it, and they must run to the appropriate bucket of fruit, vegetable, protein, dairy or grain, to match the picture to the correct food group.

To familiarize the children with the various vegetables, there are signs throughout the garden that identify each veggie and the vitamins it contains, to encourage them to try it. On Camilleri’s first day of volunteering, a child asked him what was in his salad; it was a green pepper. “These kids are 9, 10 years old and don’t know what a green pepper looks like,” he said.

Camilleri, 26, from Livonia, said although some of the kids were skittish about working in the dirt and finding worms, he tried to make it fun for them by making a game out of who could find the first worm and then explaining how worms help the soil. The Madonna students would get the children to practice math skills by counting seeds or measuring how far apart or deep to plant them.

Not only are community gardens extremely important, but when children dig-in they are more likely to enjoy gardening and eating the vegetables for the rest of their lives. “It’s such a simple thing that can make a big difference,” he said.

Research supports this: While children’s gardens expose young students to different vegetables, they might also improve other life skills. One study, Growing Minds: The Effects of a One-year School Garden Program on Six Constructs of Life Skills of Elementary School Children (, published in the July-September 2005 issue of Hort Technology, the journal for the American Society for Horticultural Science, showed that school garden programs improved students’ skills of working as part of a team.


  • Campaign50M

Madonna University Capital Campaign Exceeds $50 Million Goal

June 25, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University President Sister Rose Marie Kujawa announced to the Board of Trustees, Wednesday, June 24, that the Leading the Way Capital Campaign had reached a successful conclusion by achieving gifts and pledges of $56 million. Surpassing the $50 million campaign goal by more than 10 percent is significant Kujawa told the trustees. “We could not have exceeded what was a very ambitious goal, without gifts of all sizes. It was a broad base of support that enabled us to set University fundraising records during the most difficult of economic times,” she said. “I extend my most heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to this major milestone.”

According to Kujawa’s report, more than 9,000 donors supported the Campaign and over 35,500 gifts were recorded. The University community also met the $1.5 million challenge grant awarded by The Kresge Foundation – the largest in Madonna’s history.

Andrea Nodge, vice president for advancement at Madonna, attributes the campaign’s fruitful closure to the dedication, vision and service of the Felician Sisters, who have shaped the University since its founding in 1937. “The Sisters fostered a culture of giving within the campus community,” Nodge said. “The enthusiastic support of the Campaign demonstrated by students, faculty and staff really resonated with donors, who also gave generously to take Madonna University to new heights.”

The Leading the Way Campaign resulted in numerous campus enhancements and academic initiatives, including:

  • construction of the Franciscan Center for Science and Media; the first Gold Level LEED-certified “green” building in Livonia
  • establishment of a Center for Catholic Studies and Interfaith Dialogue
  • renovations to classrooms, student service offices, the Graduate School, and alumni recognition areas
  • addition of state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation and Sign Language Labs
  • doubling the number of endowed and annual scholarships
  • significant enhancements to the Athletic Complex, i.e., new bleachers in the Activities Center, a new artificial turf soccer field, renovation of the softball field which also sports artificial turf at the Athletic Complex, and the addition of a press box, concession stand and locker rooms at Madonna baseball’s Ilitch Ball Park
  • launch of the first doctoral program in nursing

“This Campaign offered a joyous opportunity to work with so many who care deeply for Madonna University, its students and its future,”said Kujawa, who retires June 30, following 14 years as the University’s leader. “Together we have laid the financial foundation that will impact our students for years to come.”

About Madonna: Liberal arts education, career preparation and service-learning have been the hallmarks of Madonna University for 78 years. In addition to the beautiful main campus, conveniently located at I-96 and Levan Road in Livonia, Madonna offers academic programs in Gaylord, Macomb, Southwest Detroit, and online in China, United Arab Emirates and Haiti. Michigan’s most affordable, independent, Catholic, liberal arts university, Madonna offers more than 100 undergraduate and 30-plus graduate programs in the colleges of arts and humanities, science and mathematics, social sciences, education, and nursing and health, as well as the School of Business and the Graduate School.

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  • WCCCD Articulation Agreement

Madonna University Signs Agreement as Seventh Partner of Wayne County Community College District

June 16, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – While it’s not uncommon for students to transfer credits from a two-year college to a four-year college to earn a bachelor’s degree, in many cases they have to attend classes at the four-year college. Thanks to agreements signed June 15 by leaders of Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) and Madonna University, WCCCD students will be able to complete a bachelor’s degree, in aging studies or business administration, from Madonna University, and do so right at the WCCCD campus in Belleville. These articulation agreements make credit transfer seamless and eliminate any questions as to which courses apply to the higher degree.

Beginning fall semester, WCCCD students may apply an Associate of Arts with Certificate in Gerontology to a Bachelor of Science in Aging Studies from Madonna, or an Associate of Applied Science or Associate of Arts in Business Administration to a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Human Resource Management. Both programs will be offered at the Mary Ellen Stempfle University Center – West, in Belleville.

Madonna President Sister Rose Marie Kujawa, Ph.D., said one of the core values of the Felician Sisters, who founded the University, is respect for the dignity of all people, including honoring each other’s values – drawing a parallel between the two educational institutions working together. “We will make every effort to make sure these are enriching experiences for WCCCD students as they continue in their educational progress.”

“We don’t educate just one student at a time,” she said. “We educate a family; we educate a neighborhood.”

Curtis Ivery, Ph.D., Chancellor of WCCCD, acknowledged that the partnership would benefit students and their education. “Thank you for this honor, privilege and opportunity,” he said. “We have such respect for Madonna. You’ve been just a real beacon of what’s right about higher education.”

This agreement makes Madonna University the seventh WCCCD university partner.

About Madonna University
Liberal arts, career preparation and service learning are the hallmarks of a Madonna University education. For more than 75 years, Madonna University in Livonia, Mich. has been preparing students for careers in criminal justice, nursing, education, business, social work, science, and the arts, through more than 100 majors and minors. The University has been offering the aging studies program, one of only a few in the state, for 40 years. Likewise, the School of Business, a candidate for accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, also has been delivering academic excellence in business education for 40 years. Madonna’s Graduate School offers master’s, doctoral and certificate programs in 30-plus areas of study.

About Wayne County Community College District
Wayne County Community College District is on a mission to serve local communities and become the best community college in Michigan. Established in 1967 by the Legislature of the State of Michigan, it grew from borrowing space in local classrooms to multiple campuses across Wayne County. Because of the diversity of its service areas, WCCCD places a strong emphasis on occupational and career programs, and traditional college and university transfer programs, including those within the liberal arts discipline.


  • Mott Community College

Madonna and Mott College Sign Agreements for four bachelor's degree programs

June 9, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University President Sr. Rose Marie Kujawa traveled to Mott Community College (MCC) in Flint, June 5, where she and President Beverly Walker-Griffea signed articulation agreements that will offer seamless transfer of credits from MCC to Madonna University for four academic programs.

In her remarks to the faculty and administrators who witnessed the signing, Kujawa noted that, the values practiced at Madonna – respect for the dignity of all people and service – also are reflected at Mott. “This partnership is a wonderful demonstration of how private and public institutions can work together to strengthen our communities,” Kujawa said.

Madonna Provost and Vice President for Academic Administration Ernest Nolan told the group, “This is the start of a growing partnership, with possibilities for offering students access to bachelor’s degrees in other programs.”

Articulation agreements provide students additional options toward achieving their academic goals. Each agreement includes an academic plan of study, that when followed by a student at MCC, results in a seamless transfer of credits to Madonna University, where they can complete their bachelor’s degree. Common articulation agreements include 2 + 2 programs, whereby students complete two years of coursework at MCC and two years at a four-year school, or 3 + 1 programs, that involve three years at MCC and one year at a four-year institution.

“Signing these articulation agreements with Madonna University supports MCC's mission to provide our students with educational opportunities that cultivate the successful achievement of their academic goals,” said Dr. Walker-Griffea.

The four agreements include the direct transfer of: an MCC Associate in Applied Science degree in Media Arts and Entertainment to a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast and Cinema Arts at Madonna University; an MCC Associate in Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice to a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Madonna University; an MCC Associate in Science degree to a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science from Madonna University; and an MCC Associate in Arts to a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Madonna University.

The agreement signing includes a reverse transfer element that enables students to receive their associate degree from MCC with credits earned while working toward their bachelor's degree at Madonna. For example a student with 15 credits from MCC, and 35 to 45 credits from Madonna may qualify to reverse transfer their Madonna credits earn an associate degree in science or art from MCC.

About Mott Community College
Mott Community College offers more than 100 academic and occupational programs focused on preparing students for a successful future through university transfer agreements, and high-demand two year degree programs or one year certification programs. A rigorous academic curriculum, affordable tuition, an open door policy and flexible scheduling make MCC the right choice for academic success.

About Madonna University
Liberal arts, career preparation and service learning are the hallmarks of a Madonna University ( education. For more than 75 years, Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan has been preparing students for careers in criminal justice, nursing, education, business, social work, science, and the arts, through more than 100 other majors and minors. More than 70 police chiefs and directors of public safety, in Michigan and other states, are graduates of Madonna University’s criminal justice program, which was launched in 1972. Madonna’s Graduate School offers master’s, doctoral and certificate programs in 30-plus areas of study.