Madonna University News : February 2017

The Big Salad

Madonna Business Students Win Big with The Big Salad

February 28, 2017

Applied learning is a key strategy in Madonna University business courses. This fall, students in Nidhal Bouazizi’s marketing class partnered with The Big Salad, a catering company located in Novi, Troy, Ann Arbor and Grosse Pointe Woods, to apply what they had learned in class to a real marketing project for The Big Salad. Students were divided into six groups and competed to develop a unique food item and a marketing campaign for that item. The winning team’s product was a wrap sandwich called the “Soul of Detroit Wrap.” The winning team was selected by John Bornoty, The Big Salad CEO. His selection was based on sales of the wrap, customer service, enthusiasm, and teamwork. Each team member received a $50 amazon gift card for their winning entry.

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Innovation Lab

Innovation Lab Gives Students an Edge in Technology

February 24, 2017

LIVONIA, Mich. – Students often get innovative when writing papers or completing class projects. Now there is a dedicated space at Madonna University for students to refine their ideas and apply their innovations to up-and-coming technology.

The Innovation Lab, in the Maertens Building, opened February 23. It houses three-dimensional (3-D) printers, virtual reality goggles, and other cutting-edge technology. “We’re trying to provide students with an experiential learning opportunity,” said Phillip Olla, Ph.D., Director for the Center for Research and professor of management information systems at Madonna. “We’re using it as a sandbox for experimenting with new technologies – a maker space, an innovation hub.”

Beginning this fall semester, the new Emerging Trends in Computer Technology and Applications class will use the Innovation Lab for class and assignments; the new class, designed for business majors, replaces a computing class. In addition to 3-D design and printing, students will be able to experiment with virtual reality, augmented reality, and designing infographics.

The Innovation Lab was funded by a generous grant from Bill Harahan, Director of the McManus Foundation, for the purpose of enhancing Madonna’s research community and 3-D printing lab.

Olla expects that eventually, the Innovation Lab will expand from the School of Business to the entire campus. The 3-D printer would be useful to students in several academic programs, e.g., forensic science students could design elements of a mock crime scene and chemistry scholars could create representations of molecules, etc. Eventually, Olla hopes to add brainstorming, prototyping, and even meeting with potential clients to the dedicated space for innovation and creativity.

The ability to work with more and more technology will be important to future business students and graduates as companies need useful ways to visualize, display and use data. “The skills students gain from working in the lab are transferable skills,” Olla explained. “This really does show that Madonna is an innovative University that does more than just lecturing. Experiential opportunities make learning interesting for students, and also help them in their careers.”

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Mike Ilitch

Mike Ilitch’s Generosity Lives on at Madonna

February 13, 2017

LIVONIA, Mich. – While Mike Ilitch was a major force in the rebirth of Detroit and the revitalization of the Red Wings and Tigers, he also found it in his heart to support Madonna University Crusader athletics. Mike and Marian Ilitch made a substantial gift to underwrite a state-of-the-art baseball field, which was dedicated in the Fall 2005, and aptly named Ilitch Ballpark.

“Even though I was not part of the stadium process, Mike’s reach is felt even beyond his gift,” said Crusader Athletic Director Scott Kennell. “In my time at Madonna I’ve gotten to know Mike’s son Chris both personally and professionally and Mike’s legacy lives on through his children. The stadium continues to provide a first-class playing surface for our student-athletes and will continue to do so for years to come.”

Many members of the Detroit Tigers organization joined the Ilitches at the dedication, including Dave Dombrowski, Willie Horton, Gates Brown and Jim Price.

The facility, which was designed by Grissim Metz Andriese Associates of Northville, Michigan, is the first on-campus baseball field to be built at Madonna University.

Constructed by Midwest Landscape Group, Inc. of Commerce, Michigan, Ilitch Ballpark is an engineered field, built with sport bluegrass turf and pro style infield dirt, which is an exact replica of the playing surface used by the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. The playing surface has widely been recognized as the best collegiate surface in the state of Michigan.

Ilitch Ballpark has been home to eight conference championship clubs and has hosted the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament in 2005, 2006 and 2008-11. Since the construction of the on-campus field, Madonna has posted a 164-43 overall record in home contests for an impressive .788 winning percentage.

“The Madonna University baseball program is very thankful and blessed to be able to play on such a great surface,” said Crusader Head Coach Ted Falkner. “Every player, past, present and future, is fortunate to have the opportunity to not only represent Madonna on the baseball field, but to do so on campus at a top-notch facility. Without the Ilitch’s gift, who knows where Madonna baseball would be playing today.”

In 1990, many years before Ilitch’s donation that made the new ballpark possible, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, in recognition of his commitment to the international campaign against hunger, his outstanding service as a partner in education with Madonna University, and for his Christian spirit demonstrated as a community leader and benefactor.

Mike Ilitch will forever be remembered by Madonna University faculty, staff and students as a humanitarian, a business leader and a lover of baseball. In particular, Crusader baseball coaches, players and fans will be reminded of his incredible generosity each time they go to Ilitch Ballpark.

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Ephemeralities Art Show

"Ephemeralities" Art Show Opens Friday

February 1, 2017

LIVONIA, Mich. – An impressive schedule of exhibitions is planned for the Madonna University Art Gallery this year. The first exhibit of the winter semester kicks off this Friday, Feb. 3 with Tommy Wilson's ephemeralities show of paintings. The opening reception runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to stop by, and meet the artist and see his work. The exhibit, which runs through Feb. 24, depicts familiar structures of our local urban landscapes with breathtaking truth and beauty.

The Madonna Exhibit Gallery is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. For more information contact Gallery Director Robin Ward at or 734-432-5509.

Born in Chicago, Wilson currently is an exhibiting artist residing in the metro Detroit area. He received his bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in painting from Wayne State University.

After a successful career in art direction and graphic design, Wilson transitioned into the fine art arena in 2009. Currently, his work is exhibited in select solo, two-person, and juried shows in the Midwest. He works primarily with oils but has explored mixed mediums. His current focus is on the environments. His landscape and urban-scape paintings explore the stories of social identity belonging, and place.

Photo: Across the Way, by Tommy Wilson

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