Madonna University News

Brandon Ash

Madonna Graduate Student Wins Award at State Conference

November 9, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University graduate student Brandon Ash took home a student award from a professional conference he attended earlier this month. 

Ash, 29, a graduate student in Madonna’s Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program, was named co-winner of the Fall 2016 American College Personnel Association-Michigan (ACPA MI) Graduate Student Case Study Competition. Students and student affairs professionals from across the state of Michigan attended the annual conference to gain new ideas that could improve learning opportunities for college students outside the classroom. Ash was among the Madonna University team of HESA graduate students and students affairs staff and administrators who attended. 

According to Ash, the case study competition was open to any graduate student in a higher education program, or in the field of higher education and/or student affairs who attended the conference. He was partnered with Breeanna Cannon of Eastern Michigan University, and they were charged with creating a solution for a hypothetical situation that could occur at a college or university. 

In less than 24 hours -- between 4 p.m. the first day of the conference until noon the second day – the pair came up with a five-minute presentation on how and why they would discipline residence hall assistants who had thrown a party involving alcohol. Using skills and knowledge gained in their respective programs, they determined that the assistants should be fired not only to uphold school policy, but also to set precedent for other resident assistants and students. “The judges were pleased with how we presented our argument,” Ash said. “I definitely enjoyed it.” 

In addition to the case study competition, the conference gave students a chance to learn more about the field of student affairs and to network with higher education professionals. In addition to attending sessions on retention and student success, Ash went to a session on building a campus life community -- “something I want to help build at the institution where I pursue my career,” he said. Eventually he would like to work in academic or career advising. 

Ash, who completed his undergraduate degree at Southern University in Baton Rouge, works for the residence hall at Madonna University which sponsored his attendance at the conference. Originally from Louisiana, he chose Madonna University for its graduate HESA program and because he has family living in the area. 

About ACPA-Michigan

A state division of the American College Personnel Association, ACPA-MI provides comprehensive professional development for college student educators, including networking, research and publishing. Members represent a wide array of student and academic affairs functions, including academic advising, residence life, career services student activities and multicultural services. They hail from more than 40 different colleges across the state; including two- and four-year, as well as private and public schools. 


human traffic nico

Madonna Human Trafficking Event Features Filipino American

October 27, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University recently hosted a human trafficking awareness program that featured Nico Maceda, a Filipino-American who was a victim of forced labor human trafficking. The event was part of the University’s Mission and Heritage week, and it focused on one of Madonna’s Franciscan core values:  respect for the dignity of all people.

Before Maceda spoke to the group of faculty, students, staff and guests, Connie Tingson-Gatuz, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs and mission integration, read a letter from Dr. Jose Evangelista, Philippine Honorary Consulate General of Detroit and a Livonia physician, who was unable to attend the event, which occurred during Filipino History Month, because he was in the Philippines. Evangelista commended the University for hosting the event which he referred to as a call for action and said, “We must translate this call into concrete actions in the same way that Nico’s rescuers did for him. Programs like this bring light to dispel the darkness that descends upon our world today.” 

Often overcome by emotions, Maceda shared his story of being lured to the United States with the promise of high-paying employment so that he could move his family here. What he encountered in the hospitality industry in Mississippi, were deplorable working and living conditions. Oftentimes he was supervised by armed men, and the agency that brought him to America took most of his pay. 

Maceda told of how he escaped and fled to Washington D.C. in hopes of getting help from the Embassy. While at a clinic there, he met a woman who told him about Polaris, an agency that helps victims of human trafficking. Through Polaris he met attorney Suellyn Scarnecchia, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School and Human Trafficking Clinic who provided legal services to help get his family to the U.S., as well as assistance with legal proceedings against the company engaging in human trafficking. 

At the end of his presentation, Maceda received a standing ovation. During the question and answer period, Maceda was moved to tears again, when he met Scarnecchia in person, for the first time. 

Background:  Tingson-Gatuz and Madonna President Michael Grandillo, Ph.D. met Maceda while at a conference in Washington, D.C. He was their waiter at dinner, and Tingson-Gatuz, also a Filipino American, learned pieces of his inspirational story each time he came to their table. 

About Madonna:  Liberal arts education, career preparation and service-learning have been the hallmarks of a Madonna University education for 79 years. A Madonna education not only changes the lives of students, but also the lives of those they serve in their careers. 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. 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, and Haiti.  


Patriot Day

Madonna University Honored Veterans on Patriot Day

September 20, 2016

DETROIT, Mich. – Members of the Madonna University family observed Patriot Day by honoring veterans, police and first responders lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

Madonna University and its Center for Students in Transition were among the sponsors for the 5th Annual Patriot Day Observance Ceremony at Piquette Square in Detroit, a community for formerly homeless veterans. The solemn remembrance honored all first responders, veterans and family members who were injured or lost in the terrorist attacks 15 years ago, as well as all military personnel and families lost in the war on terrorism.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig, the event’s keynote speaker, identified “the need to unify our country, to dissolve political correctness and stand with those who lay down their lives every day to serve and protect.” His talk was followed by a “laying of the wreaths,” for those who passed on Sept. 11, the playing of Taps, and then refreshments were served. Donations of bottled water and packaged snacks for the residents were brought by the Madonna University volunteers.

The Madonna University community has an ongoing relationship with Piquette Square, a 150-unit apartment complex in Detroit that provides housing for homeless veterans, and offers comprehensive support services to help them develop self-sufficiency in order to reintegrate into the community.


Steve Largent

Pro Football Hall of Famer Largent Imparts Leadership Know-How

September 15, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University’s Leadership Speaker Series kicked off Thursday morning with an inspiring speech about leadership delivered by Pro Football Hall of Fame member and former U.S. Congressman Steve Largent.

“We need leaders who lead by personal example,” he told a crowd of approximately 150 business leaders, Madonna supporters and alumni. “People follow what you do, not what you say.” 

Largent, from Tulsa, Okla., graduated from the University of Tulsa. In 1989, he retired from professional football after 14 seasons as a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995; among his accomplishments were being the first receiver ever with 100+ touchdown receptions and holding all NFL receiving records upon retirement. He also served in Congress as a U.S. Representative for Oklahoma.

Drawing from his life experiences on and off the field, Largent shared his thoughts about what makes a strong leader – calling to mind the character, integrity and work ethic needed to be successful at the top.

“Humble people are able to accomplish more when they set aside their ego,” he said. “I was able to accomplish more because of my faith in Christ.” To the student-athletes present, Largent advised, “It's really important to figure out, early on, who you are and what you stand for, and then live by your beliefs.” 

Additional speakers are scheduled for Dec. 8, Feb. 9 and June 8. To become a member of the Leadership Speaker Series please contact John Doyle, director of development at 734-432-5737 or

# # #