Madonna University News

  • New President

Madonna University names first lay president

February 11, 2015

Livonia, Mich. – Madonna University, which has been led by the Felician Sisters since its founding some 78 years ago, today announced its first lay president, Dr. Michael A. Grandillo.

Grandillo will succeed Sister Rose Marie Kujawa at the helm of the 4,200-student, liberal arts University in Livonia. He will assume the Office of President July 1, 2015, and an inauguration will be planned for the fall.

“I am humbled and honored to be called upon to serve and lead this exceptional University community,” Grandillo said. “I understand and embrace the charism and core values of the Felician Sisters and Madonna University. I am eager to continue building on our successes to ensure Catholic higher education is accessible and affordable at Madonna.”

The Honorable Michael Talbot, Madonna University Board Chair, and member of the Presidential Search Committee, was more than pleased with Grandillo’s selection. “At this historic juncture; when the University is hiring its first lay president, Dr. Grandillo is the perfect leader to take Madonna into the future,” Talbot said. “His breadth of experience across all aspects of university administration, and his deep faith and respect for the Felician/Franciscan mission and tradition will serve him and the Madonna community well.”  

With more than 35 years of higher education, Grandillo brings a wealth of experience in academic leadership, recruitment, enrollment management, public relations and advancement at a number of colleges and universities. During his career, he has participated in or led more than 30 strategic planning projects in higher education, community organizations, and government. Grandillo’s reach wasn’t limited to higher education. He was elected to the Tiffin City Council four times, and served a year and a half as council president. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown recently appointed Grandillo to his commission to screen candidates for federal appointments.

A lifelong Roman Catholic, Michael Grandillo grew up in Dayton, Ohio. He and his wife Nancy raised their children, Vincent and Gina, in Tiffin, Ohio, where they also worked with, supported and enjoyed the compassion of the Sisters of St. Francis. A Heidelberg College alumna, Nancy serves as Board Chair of Terra Community College in Fremont, Ohio. Vincent is a graduate of Hiram College and Gina is a junior at Ohio Northern University.

As a consultant with the Registry for College and University Presidents, Grandillo presently serves as interim vice president at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he leads the Foundation Board, advancement team and public outreach initiatives. Just prior to St. Mary’s, he completed a similar assignment at Bethel College in Indiana. In both situations he restored trust, transparency and teamwork to the institutions.

Prior to his time with the Registry, Grandillo served as president and CEO of Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wis. He honed his presidential leadership and fundraising skills during his 17 years as vice president for development and public affairs at Tiffin University, and another nine years as director of development at Heidelberg College.

His fundraising prowess resulted in five successful capital campaigns, tripling of the endowment at two institutions, and raising more than $80 million dollars. “I am excited to be a part of fostering an enhanced philanthropic vision for Madonna,” he said.

He began his career in admissions at his alma mater, Ohio Northern University, where he received the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. During his tenure as associate dean of admissions at Heidelberg, undergraduate enrollment doubled.

With a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio Northern University, Grandillo attended the University of Dayton to earn a Master of Science in Education. In 2006, he completed a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Higher Education and Italian Renaissance History at the University of Toledo.

His research and scholarly interests are in the areas of philanthropic support of education, university history and public policy, and enhancing the collegiate experience for students and student-athletes. He has presented at numerous conferences, shared his time and talent with a number of community service groups, and as an adjunct professor, he has enjoyed teaching political science.

“Nancy and I share the University’s commitment to academic excellence, and we look forward to engaging students, in the classroom, on campus, and in social settings. We enjoy direct involvement in all aspects of student life and are particularly interested in helping to enhance an atmosphere of community,” Grandillo said.

Sister Rose Marie Kujawa announced her retirement last April. During her 14-year tenure and under her steadfast leadership, retention has improved by eight percent, the University’s first doctoral program (the Doctor of Nursing Practice) was launched, and Madonna became the first independent university in Michigan to be awarded the Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She led more than $40 million in campus improvements, including construction of the school’s first stand-alone building in 40 years, and Livonia’s first LEED Certified building at the Gold Level. Her commitment to academics resulted in the growth of academic programs to 100 undergraduate and 35 graduate offerings, and her dedication to serving others compelled her to establish the Haiti Educational Leadership Program, which graduated its first seven students in May 2014.

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  • Carnegie image

Madonna University Earns National Recognition for Community Service

January 23, 2015

LIVONIA, MICH. – Once again, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Madonna University to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification. Madonna is among just 240 U.S. colleges and universities to be given the designation, and one of 157 schools, only two in Michigan, to be granted renewal of the honor.

Carnegie"We are honored and proud of this recognition. Engagement through service is central to Madonna's mission and identity," said Madonna University President Sr. Rose Marie Kujawa. "Our timeless Franciscan values - respect for all people, reverence for creation, peace and justice and education for truth and service - animate all that we do to prepare graduates to contribute positively in an increasingly interconnected global society."

In order to be selected, colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, first offered in 2006. Participating institutions voluntarily submitted materials describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond.

"Receiving this classification for a second time is an important milestone for Madonna University," said Ernest Nolan, provost and vice president for academic administration. "Our deep commitment to community engagement and public service continues despite the devastating effects of economic recession."

Madonna University’s selection recognizes the institution’s deep commitment to engagement both inside and outside the classroom, demonstrated through numerous programs and projects, including:

  • Academic Service-Learning integrates community service with course content and provides opportunities for students to apply their talents, knowledge, and skills to address community needs and pressing social issues, in partnership with local and global non-profit organizations.
  • Days of Service provide ways for students to engage in community service throughout their education at Madonna University.
  • International Service-Learning involves students in applying their academic knowledge and skills to help address global issues in countries such as China, Costa Rica, and France.
  • 9th Grade Counts! Summer Program is a partnership with The Phoenix Academy, and the Springwells Village Local College Access Network to help equip eighth grade students from southwest Detroit with the skills and resources to succeed in high school. Students participate in academic enrichment activities, and benefit from college readiness programs.
  • College Positive Volunteerism (CPV) helps youth and families plan for college and KnowHow2Go! CPV students have diverse academic interests, including broadcast and cinema arts, criminal justice, dietetics, education, nursing, and social work.
  • Ford MU Community Corps is a unique service-leadership experience supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund. Small teams of students with similar academic interests work together to address community needs. Teams develop and expand service projects in collaboration with a faculty mentor and non-profit organization professionals.
  • Alternative Spring Break programs expose students to complex social and cultural issues through community visits, experiential learning, direct service, group discussion, readings and reflection.

Each year Madonna students, faculty and staff volunteer their time and talents to benefit the community. During the 2013-2014 academic year, 1,878 students contributed 47,463 hours to the community. These numbers represent a financial contribution value of more than $1 million per year.

Madonna University also was named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education, Campus Compact, and the Interfaith Youth Core, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes institutions of higher education that support exemplary community service programs and raise the visibility of effective practices in campus community partnerships. Madonna University has received this distinctive recognition since 2006.


  • Presidential Search

The Search for Madonna University’s Seventh President is Underway

November 19, 2014

The search for Madonna University’s seventh President is underway, with July 1, 2015 as the expected date for the new president to take office. The  Profile  provides information about the University and the qualities and skills required of the next President. The  timeline  provides more information about the search process. Please refer to this website for progress updates, to nominate a candidate, or to share the profile with prospective candidates.

LIVONIA, Mich. - Madonna University President Sister Rose Marie Kujawa, CSSF, announced at the April 23 meeting of the University's Board of Trustees her intention to retire June 30, 2015, following her 14th year as president.

Sr. Rose-Marie Kujawa A University Search Committee, with the help of consultants from Academic Search, Inc., has begun the search for Kujawa's successor, who will be only the seventh president in Madonna University's 78-year history.

The Presidential Profile, along with information about the search committee and the search process can be found at . Nominations can be made via email to

In the past decade, under her steadfast leadership, retention has improved by eight percent, enrollment has increased by ten percent, the University's first doctoral program (the Doctor of Nursing Practice) was launched, Madonna became the first independent university in Michigan to be awarded the Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Graduate School moved to smartly renovated suites, and two new laboratories - Nursing Simulation and Sign Language Studies - were built to enhance student learning through creative uses of technology. Science laboratories have been substantially increased and improved to facilitate more research projects, and the media center now houses the latest high-definition, digital television and radio studios and editing suites.

Kujawa also was instrumental in adding acreage and buildings to the 97-acre campus; creating a top-level Athletic Complex, providing all new "green" windows in the Residence Hall, renovating former science and technology wings, updating the vast majority of classrooms with 21st century technology, and beautifying the grounds with landscaping, sculptures and gardens.

More than $40 million in capital improvements have been made to the Livonia campus during Kujawa's tenure. Other improvements include increases in faculty salaries, expanded scholarships, launch of the First-Year Experience program, more opportunities for service-learning projects, several new academic programs, and innovative outreach programs in Macomb and Southwest Detroit.

A tireless advocate for making a Madonna education accessible to more people, Sister Rose Marie fostered the expansion of study abroad programs and focused increased attention on diversity and programs for underserved populations. She took a hands-on approach to creating distance learning degree programs and partnerships in China, Haiti and the United Arab Emirates. Last summer she joined a group of nursing students and faculty members on a service-learning pilgrimage to Lourdes France.

Her plans for retirement include a sabbatical, writing an update to her book "Madonna Milestones" and supporting the work of the Felician Sisters in Kenya, and South America.

Prior to her presidency, Sister Rose Marie served 17 years as academic vice president during which she led the college's transition to a university, and six years as Provincial Secretary of the Felician Sisters. She earned her bachelor's degree at Madonna University, in 1966, and taught high school and college mathematics. She received her master's and Ph.D. from Wayne State University. Kujawa has been extremely active in Livonia and surrounding communities, serving on the Livonia Chamber Board, working with the Rotary Club and the Livonia Symphony. A trustee and executive board member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Michigan Catholic Conference, she also served on several other higher education and health-related boards.

  • Employee Grad Tuition Scholarship Recipients

Employee Grad Tuition Scholarship Recipients Are All Smiles!

November 3, 2014

Each Fall and Winter semester the GRADUATE School offers employee graduate tuition scholarships. The Employee Graduate Tuition Scholarship is a great employee benefit to support our Madonna University employees who are advancing their education.

Madonna University employees are eligible to apply for a scholarship after one year of full-time or 2 years of part-time employment. Scholarship announcements and application forms are distributed via “everybody” email September and March 1st, with applications being due October 1st for winter semester funding and April 1st for fall semester funding.  

Congratulations Fall 2014 employee scholarship recipients!!

Follow this link to tweet your congratulations.