Madonna University News

Solar Panels

Solar Panels Use Solstice Rays to Generate Power at Madonna University

June 22, 2017

LIVONIA, Mich. – On June 21, the summer solstice and the day when the Northern Hemisphere tallies the most hours of daylight for the year, Madonna University generated enough power via its solar panel system to run a coffee pot for an hour per day for a year, or to power six laptops for eight hours per day for a year.*

A bright, sunny day resulted in more than 430 kilowatt hours being generated from sunrise to sunset. This was the highest energy-producing day since June 12, when more than 450 kilowatt hours were produced during sunlight hours.

Since the panels’ installation late last year, nearly 73,000 kilowatt hours have been generated, enough to charge more than 3,000 electric cars or 13.5 million smartphones, and to avoid 44 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and offset 65,000 gallons of gasoline.

The 432 solar panels on the roof of Madonna University’s Franciscan Center are part of the Felician Sisters of North America’s solar project. The effort involved the installation of 1,032 solar panels at two Felician Ministries in Livonia, which included a 600-panel ground array on Newburgh Road that helps power the Montessori Center of Our Lady. A total of six Felician Sister sites across the country had solar panels installed as part of the Felician Sisters’ nationwide project.

The University’s solar panels directly supply a portion of the campus’s total electric power. Madonna University plans to incorporate the solar array into the University's larger sustainability program, offering students first-hand insight into the practical application of sustainable solutions.

Care for the earth is a cornerstone of the Felician Sisters’ core values and central to the centuries-old Felician Franciscan tradition. “This solar power project represents the next chapter in our ongoing efforts to care for and repair the earth,” said Sister Mary Jean Sliwinski, Felician Provincial Sustainability Coordinator. “It is also a wonderful opportunity to educate the larger community about renewable energy.”

*Source: Department of Energy

Brain Day in South Lyon

Madonna Students Host Brain Day in South Lyon

June 16, 2017

LIVONIA, Mich. – Student members and the faculty advisory of the Madonna University Psychology Club presented Brain Awareness to some 80 third- and fourth-graders at Bartlett Elementary School in South Lyon, Mich., Monday, June 12. They were hosted by Sarah Thiel, a guest teacher for the South Lyon School District.

This annual service project combines aspects of psychology and biology, and addresses the need for neuroscience education in primary schools. The dual-goal for Brain Awareness Day is for elementary students to receive a thorough introduction to the inner workings of their brains, and for the college student mentors to gain experience developing effective and meaningful teaching strategies for extremely difficult topics.

The Madonna student mentors prepared dynamic and engaging lesson plans that highlighted the importance of the brain and brain research. At interactive brain stations, the children were able to see and touch real animal brains, play with plastic models of the human brain, play games to understand the function of the brain’s neurons, experience optical illusions, and play beach ball catch while wearing image-distortion goggles. The future neuroscientists also made brain neurons from pipe cleaners to take home.

“It was a lot of fun working with the kids and seeing how excited they were to learn about neuroscience,” said Tiffany Gibbons, Madonna psychology student from South Lyon. “One student told me she ‘wouldn't mind cutting into her recess to finish building her neuron!’”

According to Kenneth Thiel, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Madonna, the event is meant to spark scientific inquiry, and to develop an interest in brain health in young children. “I was really amazed with how quickly all of the students caught on to the lessons. Neuroscience is not an easy topic, even for college students, but by the end of the day it seemed like the children had a pretty firm grasp on most of the brain terminology we were trying to teach,” he said.

Kenneth Thiel added, “Equipping elementary students with knowledge about their brains is an important early step in helping them understand and optimize their own cognitive capacity, as well as preserve and promote their own neural health.”

About Madonna: Liberal arts education, career preparation and service-learning have been the hallmarks of a Madonna University education for 80 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, and online in China, and Haiti. Michigan’s most affordable, independent, Catholic, liberal arts university, Madonna offers more than 100 undergraduate and 35 graduate programs in the colleges of arts and humanities, natural and social sciences, education, and nursing and health, as well as the School of Business.


Bubba Baker

Al “Bubba” Baker Featured at Madonna Leadership Speaker Series

June 15, 2017

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University hosted the final Leadership Speaker Series Breakfast for the 2016-2017 academic year with featured speaker, Al “Bubba” Baker, former Detroit Lions defensive lineman and entrepreneur. Baker spoke to 100 guests about the champion in all of us, about faith, perseverance, and the will to succeed.

In an inspiring and entertaining presentation, Bubba shared how BBQ has always been his life; his passion. Married for 34 years to a woman who thought BBQ ribs were “too messy”, he was determined to come up with a way that she could enjoy the tender, juicy, goodness of ribs. He has a patent for his boneless ribs, and in 2013 appeared on the TV show “Shark Tank” where he secured $300,000 for a 30 percent share in his company Bubba’s-Q Boneless Ribs. What was a $154,000 company before Shark Tank, is currently at $16 million.

Baker believes God has blessed us all with talents and skills, and it’s up to us to use those skills. “Write down your goals,” he said. “If you don’t have time to write them down, you’ll never know if you’re getting closer or further from reaching them. Get focused and pull that champion out of you.”

Baker reminded students, faculty and guests that we have to be evolving and learning every day, and everything we do we must do out of love.”

The Leadership Speaker Series will begin again in the fall, with three more guest speakers.

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About Madonna:  Liberal arts education, career preparation and service-learning have been the hallmarks of a Madonna University education for 80 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, and online in China, and Haiti. Michigan’s most affordable, independent, Catholic, liberal arts university, Madonna offers more than 100 undergraduate and 35 graduate programs in the colleges of arts and humanities, natural and social sciences, education, and nursing and health, as well as the School of Business.

Commencement 17

Livonia Physicians to Address Madonna University’s 2017 Graduates

May 17, 2017

LIVONIA, Mich. – Livonia husband and wife physicians were the keynote speakers at Madonna University’s 70th Commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 13, 2017, at Suburban Collection Showplace, in Novi, Mich.

There were eight of 15 graduates from the Haiti Educational Leadership Program who came to commencement to receive their bachelor’s degrees in business administration. Every graduate has his or her own unique story about their journey to earn a degree. Many graduates are the first in their family to earn a college degree, some are non-traditional students earning a degree to change careers, and others have overcome incredible odds. Madonna students have indicated that it’s family, friends, and Madonna faculty members who help them persevere to graduation; for example, husband and wife nursing students achieved their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees together, and a mother and her daughter earned master’s degrees in pastoral ministry and nursing, respectively.

Stella Salgado Evangelista, M.D., spoke at the 10:30 a.m. graduation exercise for some 400 doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate nursing and health graduates. Jose Limjoco Evangelista, M.D., gave the address at the 2:00 p.m. ceremony, to approximately 700 undergraduate students in the school of business, and colleges of arts and humanities, education and natural and social sciences.

“We are honored the Evangelistas could share their secrets for success with our graduates this year, and we are pleased to bestow on them honorary doctorates,” said Madonna President Michael A. Grandillo, Ph.D. “Medical trailblazers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, these accomplished doctors have achieved and led in a variety of endeavors, and they are staunch supporters of Catholic higher education,” he continued. “The Madonna community is blessed to have them take part in this exciting day for our students.”

The Distinguished Alumnus Award was presented to Timothy W. Turner, who graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. He went on to graduate from the Detroit Police Academy and to serve on the Wayne County S.W.A.T. Team. He also worked as an undercover narcotics officer with the Michigan State Police Narcotics Cocaine Task Force.

Following his law enforcement service, Turner achieved an extraordinary 30-year career providing leadership, expertise and service in the insurance industry. Currently, he is Chairman and CEO of RT Specialty, the wholesale brokerage operation of Ryan Specialty Group (RSG), a global specialty insurance organization.

About the Evangelistas:

The Evangelistas have worked to improve Filipino-American relations and to create jobs here in Livonia and southeast Michigan. In recognition of their exemplary contributions to ethnic diversity, they were inducted into the International Institute Hall of Fame in 1990, the first Filipinos and the first couple ever to be inducted. Both received the Asian American Hall of Fame Award in Medicine and Government Service, and were named one of twenty outstanding Filipino-Americans in the United States by the Fil-Am Image magazine of Washington D.C. They are the proud parents of six successful children, who have blessed them with four grandchildren. Their unwavering commitment to the pursuit of excellence across many aspects of life is held together by their faith and love of God.

An honorary doctor of humane letters degree was conferred upon servant of humanity, Stella Salgado Evangelista, who graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1963 from the Cebu Institute of Technology, and received a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Santo Tomas in 1968. From 1983 to 1993, she was Chief of Pediatrics at St. Mary Hospital in Livonia. She also served as president of the Association of Philippine Physicians in America from 1993 to 1994.  She was the first woman elected to the presidency, and the first Filipino and first Asian to be appointed to the Michigan State Board of Medicine, serving two terms from 1986 to 1993. Dr. Stella Evangelista served as executive director and later president of the University of Santo Tomas Medical Association Alumni Foundation. A former member of the Michigan State Board of Pharmacy, she became a member of the Congressional Asian American Pacific Caucus.

An honorary doctor of international relations degree was bestowed upon Jose Evangelista, who has spent the last 13 years serving as Honorary Consul General of the Philippines, our highest ranking Philippine official in the State of Michigan. He also is a former Chief of Staff at St. Mary Hospital in Livonia and a past president of the Association of Philippine Physicians in America. Since 1986 he has been the CEO of the J.S. Evangelista Development LLC, a construction and development company based in West Bloomfield, Mich.  He also is president and CEO of the Royal Management Company.  From 1994 to 2000 he served on the Board of the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation, of the United States Department of Education.