October 17, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – At an inauguration ceremony attended by some 400 guests, Michael A. Grandillo, Ph.D. was installed as the seventh president of Madonna University. The inauguration began with a Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, and concelebrated by Rev. Monsignor Thomas C. Machalski, Jr., Rev. Monsignor Todd Lajiness, Rev. Timothy Babcock, Rev. Charles Morris and Rev. Stephen Pullis, in the beautiful Felician Sisters Chapel adjacent to the University.

The Installation Ceremony followed a luncheon reception in a large tent across from the Chapel. Sr. Janet Marie Adamczyk, Felician Sisters provincial councilor provided the invocation and benediction. Ernest Nolan, provost and vice president for academic administration welcomed guests from near and far. Dennis Bozyk, history professor spoke on behalf of the Madonna faculty, while Jillian Brennan, an early childhood and comprehensive elementary education major represented the student body. Monsignor Thomas C. Machalski blessed the president and his presidency. In her remarks Sr. Christopher Moore, Provincial Minister for the Felician Sisters of North America, Our Lady of Hope Province, in Beaver Falls, Penn. encouraged President Grandillo to “think big, say yes and roll up his sleeves.”

Representing the citizens of the 7th district was Senator Patrick Colbeck who acknowledged the distinctive Catholic mission that sets Madonna University apart and he wished President Grandillo much success as he takes the helm.

Long-time friend William Cassell, president emeritus of Heidelberg University share well wishes on behalf of other past colleagues of Grandillo. Personal reflections by DeBow Freed, president emeritus of Ohio Northern University included congratulations to the entire University community on selecting Grandillo.

Madonna Board Chair Michael J. Talbot, chief judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals performed the installation ceremony. He presented President Grandillo with the University mace as a symbol of peaceful leadership, and placed the Chain of Office around the President’s neck to represent the authority of the Office.

During his Inauguration speech Grandillo gave special thanks to Sister Rose Marie Kujawa, Madonna’s sixth president, who retired in July, 2015, for her remarkable leadership. The President also recognized his long-time friend and mentor, “Mr. ONU,” Bill Robinson, who gave Grandillo’s career in higher education its start, by hiring him as an undergrad to work in admissions.

Grandillo shared the powerful history of the founding of Madonna University by the Felician Sisters, who immigrated to America from Poland to serve the poor, the sick, children, and the elderly. He reflected on how fast the Sisters changed America.

President Grandillo committed to remaining focused on added value for student success as the university community’s top priority. He charged the crowd, “to look up from our phones, our desks, and our computer screens, and see the neighborhoods, the churches and cities… and to reach out to our region, to people of all faiths, and yes, let us play an important role in the comeback of the City of Detroit.”

Grandillo closed with this observation about Madonna University, “There’s a power that permeates this place, it is the power of St. Francis, it is the power of St. Clare, it is the power St. Felix, it is power of Blessed Angela who prays that we multiply, and it is the power of an Italian Cardinal from Argentina who boldly took the name Francis. Let us, too, boldly take up the spirit of Francis. Believing that with God’s help we too can make Madonna and the world a better place.”

With more than 35 years in higher education, Michael A. Grandillo brings a wealth of experience in academic leadership, recruitment, enrollment management, public relations and advancement from his work at a number of colleges and universities. He also holds a faculty appointment as Professor of History and Political Science at Madonna.

Prior to his presidency at Madonna, and in his role as a consultant with the Registry for College and University Presidents, Dr. Grandillo served in leadership roles at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and at Bethel College in Indiana. Before joining the Registry, Grandillo served as president of Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

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. President Grandillo’s reach wasn’t limited to higher education. He was elected and served on Tiffin City Council for 17 years, and served a year and a half as council president.

He and his wife Nancy, have two adult children, Vincent and Gina.

About Madonna University: Liberal arts education, career preparation and service-learning have been the hallmarks of Madonna University since 1937. 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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