Madonna University News : July 2016

married on a Monday

Filming begins for Madonna University students’ full-length film

July 29, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. – After scouting locations, auditioning actors, and outlining the production schedule, filming began in earnest this past week for Madonna University’s third full-length, entirely student-produced feature film. Students shot scenes in the Detroit Opera House, at a horse farm and in a fitness studio, among other locations.

As part of the unique, hands-on experience provided by Madonna University to prepare broadcast and cinema arts students for careers in the film industry, members of the capstone (senior-level) class get the opportunity to produce a movie in less than a year. Students fill the key roles of scriptwriter, producer, director, camera operator, visual effects creator, promoter, and more.

This year’s film, Married on a Monday, is a romantic comedy about a quirky musician named Jackie who becomes a baker, a cowgirl, and even a princess to obtain her dream wedding, all while keeping it from her maid of honor and voice of reason.

Capstone project instructor Suzanne Boyd said although the task of making a movie in a year is difficult, support from the Madonna University and surrounding communities makes it possible. “We give these students what very few colleges in the country do: The chance to produce a full-length feature film before they graduate from college,” she said.


winslow krasula

Madonna’s Winslow to appear on WJR’s ‘Anything is Possible’

July 22, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. – Kellen Winslow Sr., Madonna University's Assistant to the President for Community Relations, will take to the airwaves this weekend as a guest on “Anything is Possible with Jack Krasula” on WJR Sunday, July 24, from 9:05-10:00 p.m. It will also stream live at

Before coming to Madonna, Winslow grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois, and earned a Bachelor of Educational Science in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri while becoming an All-American football player. He played nine seasons for the San Diego Chargers and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. 

At Madonna, Winslow focuses on fund raising and awareness-building in Metro Detroit, as well as assisting with recruitment activities as we seek to expand the university’s market presence in Southeastern Michigan and beyond. Kellen held leadership positions at three universities, as well as management responsibilities with Disney, The Fritz Pollard Alliance and broadcasting roles at ESPN. After his time at the University of Missouri, he earned a Juris Doctorate from The University of San Diego. He is a strong advocate of student performance, matriculation and graduation across all student types. 

“Anything is Possible” is a weekly radio show hosted by Jack Krasula on a 50,000 watt station, WJR AM-760, “The Great Voice of the Great Lakes.” Each one-hour show features a distinguished guest who shares their story of overcoming simple beginnings and many obstacles in their life to realize what most would term unachievable dreams. In addition, each guest will discuss the driving force that led them to greatness and how this journey has evolved into giving back to the community. 

Learn more at

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hansel and gretel

Student opera bring children’s classic alive with summer performance

July 20, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University’s opera and music students return with their third annual summer performance, this time bringing the children’s classic “Hansel and Gretel” to the stage. 

The opera, written by Engelbert Humperdinck, is a retelling of the classic story about two children who get lost in the woods before meeting the evil witch, who wants to fatten them up before pushing them into the oven. It is produced and directed by Madonna University students, with students playing most of the main roles. Other roles, chorus members and dancers, including a children’s ballet chorus, are played by members of the community. 

Performances are Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23, both at 7 p.m. in the University’s Kresge Hall. Tickets are $8 general admission, $5 for students and seniors. 

Madonna student Brittany Dimmitt, director, said the opera “brings the story to life.” It will be performed in English, making it easier for everyone to enjoy the performance.  “I thought it would be a great way to have opera appeal to everyone,” she said. “It's such a beautiful show that kids and adults alike can enjoy.” 

Not only do the summer rehearsals and performances keep music students singing all year long, it also gives students who may be pursuing careers in theater or opera a chance to learn how to direct; choreograph; design lighting, sets, costumes; or other skills, Dimmitt said. “We're all so proud of what we have accomplished this summer,” she said. 

Among the productions challenges have been working with a large group of children, many of whom have never sung or performed before, Dimmitt said. The musical score is also challenging, even for vocal performance students. 

However, producing the show from beginning to end has been worth all the work, Dimmitt said, having started planning with music director Emily Crombez, also a Madonna student, a year ago. “To see how our ideas about casting, set and costumes have to come to fruition a year later is just an amazing feeling,” she said. 

She credits Madonna’s music faculty, especially voice professor Barbara Wiltsie, for inspiring the students to take on the project. “Producing a full opera, as students who are still learning the trade, is not an easy task, but the support we receive from our professors and the Madonna community makes it all possible,” she said. 

In addition to the student directors, Hansel is played by Kathryn Linzmaier, Gretel by Harmoni Salisbury, Mother/Witch by Alisa Pullum, and the Dew Fairy by Shivonne Matthews.


Sri Lanka partnership

Madonna partnership will welcome Sri Lankan students

July 13, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University could soon welcome students from Sri Lanka after partnering with Scholarships for USA, an educational agent in Sri Lanka.

University President Michael Grandillo and members of the enrollment management team met last month with Padmasena Dissanayake (Dissa), president of Scholarships for USA, to discuss recruitment efforts from Sri Lanka to Madonna. He is the first representative from Sri Lanka to visit Madonna.

This is one of a number of new international recruitment partnerships fostered by President Grandillo to increase the reach of Madonna’s brand, and to provide more international students access to Madonna’s high-quality education. While there are Madonna alumni in Sri Lanka who earned their degrees in the United Arab Emirates, any Sri Lankan students that Dissa recruits to Madonna would be the first to study in Livonia.

“This is a great opportunity for Madonna University to share its programs with students from all over the world,” said Mark Schroeder, Madonna University’s director of undergraduate admissions. “We look forward to a future partnership with Scholarships for USA.”

Sri Lanka has a long history of Catholic secondary education due to the high quality of teaching and global recognition. Scholarships for USA will work with the local churches and the Archdiocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka to promote Madonna’s Feliciana and Franciscan Values.

Schroederhas worked with Dissa’s organization for more than 12 years to bring Sri Lankan students to the U.S. Annually, more than 4,000 Sri Lankan students come to the U.S. to study.


New Student Orientation

Madonna University welcomes incoming freshmen to orientation

July 6, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. – Although it’s summer vacation for many, on Madonna University’s campus incoming freshmen are already looking forward to fall classes by attending new student orientation.

To make the transition to college as smooth as possible, incoming students and their parents attend a full day of orientation before classes begin. With the help of Peer Mentors, new students familiarize themselves with Madonna’s campus; meet other new students, faculty and staff, register for classes, and learn about the University’s many academic, social, and service-learning opportunities.

Orientation sessions began last month and continue through the first part of August in advance of classes beginning August 29.