Madonna University News

  • Intercollegiate Athletics

Madonna University Adds Sports Teams to Enrich College Experience

August 12, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University President Michael Grandillo announced today that the University will be expanding its intercollegiate athletics program by eight sports, bringing the Crusaders’ roster to 19 teams. Madonna will add:
• men’s and women’s bowling
• men’s and women’s lacrosse
• men’s and women’s indoor track and field
• men’s and women’s outdoor track and field

According to President Grandillo the addition of these sports will increase enrollment, while enhancing the sense of community on campus. “I look forward to working with our fine athletics staff and coaches to build upon their winnings ways, as we provide greater opportunities for students to compete in the sports they love, while they pursue their academic goals,” said Grandillo. “Participation in athletics and student organizations enriches the college experience, which is why we are proud to offer Madonna students more choices for learning outside the classroom.”

Madonna University competes in the 12-school Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The addition of these eight sports marks the first new teams added at Madonna since 2005, when men’s and women’s cross country brought the total to 11 teams.

These additional sports have been in the planning stages for a number of years as evidenced by the installation of men’s and women’s lacrosse lines during the construction of the University’s synthetic turf field, at the Madonna Athletic Complex. Athletics Director Bryan Rizzo, who has begun recruiting coaches and athletes for these sports, said that for bowling as well as track and field, the University plans to develop partnerships with bowling and track facilities in the local community.

Rizzo said that the time is right for Madonna University to begin these sports that continue to gain popularity. The teams may begin as club programs before reaching varsity status to enable proper growth and development of quality teams, he explained. In total, an enrollment growth of 100-200 students should be accomplished over the implementation period for all eight sports.

The new student-athletes will join a department that has excelled academically in addition to its athletic accomplishments. Consistently, over the last decade, Madonna University student-athletes have posted a department-wide grade point average (GPA) above a 3.0, including the 2014-15 school year, when the Crusaders recorded a 3.32 department GPA.

Bowling Facts
• Over the last 10 years the number of boy’s high school programs grew from roughly 1,400 to over 2,000.
• The number of girl’s high school bowling programs has seen similar growth nationally with more than 2,000.
• More than 350 Michigan high schools offer boy’s and girl’s bowling.
• The WHAC was the first NAIA conference to offer a league title in bowling, in 2012.
• Seven WHAC schools offer bowling.
• 41 NAIA schools compete in men’s and women’s bowling.
• Initially each bowling team will consist of eight student-athletes with potential expansion to more than 20 per team.

Lacrosse Facts
• According to the latest survey conducted by US Lacrosse, the number of boys playing the sport at the high school level has grown from 97,000 in 2006 to nearly 170,000 in 2013.
• In the same US Lacrosse survey, the number of girls playing the sport doubled from 65,000 in 2006 to nearly 121,000 in 2013.
• The number of boy’s high school teams has doubled in the last 10 years nationally to over 2,500, while the number of girl’s teams has surpassed 2,300. Michigan saw an 18 percent growth in the total number of players from 2009-13.
• The WHAC was the first NAIA league to sponsor lacrosse as a conference sport with championships in 2012. Currently six WHAC schools offer men’s and women’s lacrosse.
• On the national level, lacrosse is in the “invitational” stage within the NAIA, meaning that both sports are in the process to become fully sanctioned by the NAIA and could hold a national championship as early as the 2017-18 school year.
• Initially each team will consist of approximately 25 players, with potential to grow to more than 40 on each roster.

Track and Field Facts
• As of the 2013-14 school year, track and field was the second most popular high school sport in terms of participants according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
• In Michigan, more than 600 high schools offer boy’s and girl’s track and field programs.
• The WHAC has sponsored track and field championships since its inception in 1992, and seven league schools currently offer the sport.
• The NAIA has sponsored a national championship in track and field since 1951.
• Nearly 140 NAIA schools sponsor track and field both indoors and outdoors.
• Generally, new track and field team rosters include approximately 20 male and 20 female student-athletes and could grow to more than 75 on each team.

About Crusader Athletics: Madonna University currently sponsors the sports of baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball and volleyball. Crusader teams have been members of the WHAC since 1997 and members of the NAIA since 1987 when volleyball became the university’s first varsity sport. Since joining the WHAC in 1997, Madonna University teams have won over 50 conference titles and made more 30 appearances at their respective NAIA National Championships.

About Madonna University: Liberal arts education, career preparation and service-learning have been the hallmarks of Madonna University since 1937. Conveniently located at I-96 and Levan Road in Livonia, Madonna offers more than 100 undergraduate and 30 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. Michigan’s most affordable, independent, Catholic university, Madonna welcomes students from diverse backgrounds.

Bryan Rizzo, athletics director

Karen Sanborn, director of marketing



  • Music Theatre 158

Madonna University hosts musical theater program and production for area high school students

August 3, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – For two weeks in the summer, the auditorium and music classrooms at Madonna University become home to an intensive training program for high school students who are passionate about, and perhaps considering a career in, musical theater.

After days filled with sessions in dance, voice, monologue and audition practice and critique, the instruction ends with a student production "My Way to Broadway,” celebrating Frank Sinatra and contemporary Broadway. Showtime is 7:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7 and Saturday, Aug. 8 in Madonna University’s Kresge Hall. Admission is $5, and open to the public.

Led by Barbara Wiltsie, associate professor of voice at Madonna, and Patti Davidson-Gorbea, guest drama instructor, the program is geared toward talented students looking to refine their skills. Several past participants have gone on to study musical theater, music or drama at their college or university.

The instructors have high expectations for the students, because they know the students are capable. “We don’t baby them,” Wiltsie said. “We want to create an atmosphere where they’re supportive of each other.”

The students start each day with group dance instruction, which includes both basic training and specific choreography for their end-of-program performance. They close out the morning with ensemble music, and after lunch, attend a round robin of voice, drama and monologue lessons. Evenings are filled with such activities as professional-style audition practice, guest speakers and critiques, a talent agent visit, and movie-making fun with the help of Madonna’s Broadcast and Cinema Arts students.

At the final performance students will show off their refined techniques with a lead role in two scenes that include a song, and a scene or monologue. “Everyone will be featured somehow in the show,” Wiltsie said. Each night, an audience member also will be selected for a small role in a scene from the movie “Airplane”.

Kelsi Fay, left, and Caraline Weglarz, Livonia Churchill High School students and members of the Creative and Performing Arts program, participate in music practice as part of the summer music theater workshop at Madonna University.

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  • paralegal

Paralegal Jobs on the Rise

July 31, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – “This is the best job market for paralegals that I’ve seen in my thirty years of paralegal education,” said Jennifer Coté, chair of the paralegal studies department at Madonna.

Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

During the Winter Semester 2015, which concluded at the end of April, there were 49 paralegal jobs posted on Madonna University’s Career Services web site. Recent Madonna graduates work as clerks for a U.S. magistrate and a Michigan Court of Appeals judge. Others are employed in law firms, corporate legal departments (including the auto industry), banks and the U.S Attorney’s office.

According to Cote, most large law firms, corporations and government bodies require that paralegals possess a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, Madonna University’s paralegal program – approved by the American Bar Association – offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in paralegal studies and a nurse paralegal certificate. Degree completion is available for those with an associate degree. Fall classes start September 8, 2015, and are offered weeknights, weekends and online. For information about pursuing a paralegal studies degree, call Jennifer Coté at 734-432-5570.

The National Utilization and Compensation Survey Report, published by the National Association of Legal Assistants, showed the average annual paralegal compensation for 2014 was $55,223 for the Great Lakes Region. Nationally, experienced paralegals in corporate, employee benefits and securities law were the highest paid with annual salaries ranging from $70,000 to over $100,000.

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  • K Dernay

Madonna education students help grade-schoolers with literacy skills

July 24, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – Rhyming games, sounding out words and building letter combinations means summer fun for a group of Livonia elementary school students. Leading these summer learning adventures are several Madonna University graduate and undergraduate teacher education students - who, in turn, are honing their teaching skills in classroom management and lesson planning.

Now in its seventh year, the Students Helping Students Literacy Program aims to prevent summer learning loss, and to bring students’ reading skills up to those of their classmates. During the three-week program at Garfield Elementary, Madonna students tutor small groups of incoming first- and second-graders who are behind their grade level in reading.

With a master’s degree in literacy from Madonna, Mary Jane Daudlin, of Grosse Pointe Woods, brought the summer literacy program to Livonia. She explained that even in a few weeks, the program helps introduce and reinforce positive literacy techniques, gives students practice reading so they can be more successful, and makes learning enjoyable. In evaluations given at the conclusion of the program, parents often comment that their child is now interested in reading.

Working in small groups provides the children more individual attention and gives the tutors experience managing groups of students. While they spend time in the library, they also take breaks to play reading games outside, using chalk or playground balls, to “make them feel like reading is fun,” Daudlin said. They also take books home, from the school’s lending library, to read each evening.

Commerce Township resident Kelly Dernay, a Madonna graduate student working toward her endorsement in early childhood education, said the tutors use as many games and hands-on activities as possible to make reading fun. During the brief program they assess the children, set goals for them and help them achieve those goals. “This is the best experience that someone could get, before they head into the classroom,” she said.

Senior elementary education and social studies major Ashley Binder, of Livonia, said she wanted to participate in the Students Helping Students program to gain practice in small group instruction before beginning her student teaching this fall. After just a week she felt more confident in the classroom, creating lesson plans, practicing guided reading instruction, working with words, and thinking of fun ways to pique kids’ interests in reading. “If you pick a book they don’t like, they most definitely won’t read it,” she cautioned.

The Students Helping Students program was established through support from the Kirt Foundation, based in Rochester Hills. As part of her graduate degree work, Daudlin volunteered with the program and developed a version for Livonia students. In addition to gaining classroom skills, the Madonna tutors receive a scholarship stipend.

“It is a very valuable experience,” Daudlin said. “They have the opportunity to understand how to teach reading, as well as the struggling readers.”

Livonia resident Ashley Binder, a Madonna elementary education senior, helps each grade-schooler pick out books to practice reading at home.

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