December 22, 2023

Today@Wayne 2023 year in review

In 2023, Wayne State University welcomed a new president for the first time in a decade; several major building renovations were completed; students, faculty, staff and alumni positively impacted local and global communities — and Today@Wayne was there to help chronicle it all.

As 2024 begins, here is a look back at some 2023 Today@Wayne highlights:

January

In January, Wayne State expanded its Warrior Way Back program to enable former students with debt a way back, the WSU marketing team launched a campaign that celebrated successful recent graduates, Wayne State teamed with CVS Health to improve health outcomes in underserved communities and Wayne State’s Word Warriors program released its 2023 list.

Editor’s pick: Gus Navarro is living his 'dream' at ESPN Films

Gus Navarro in the WSU Field House.
Gus Navarro in the Wayne State Fieldhouse.

February

In February, WSU human resources chief Carolyn Hafner won the Michigan Chronicle’s prestigious Women of Excellence Award; the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office partnered with School of Social Work for a first-of-its kind collaboration; and several recent alumni were profiled, including Simon Mourani, who works at DTE, and Jenae Lodewyk, who works for the Detroit Pistons.

Editor’s pick: ‘Why not now?’: Returning student completes undergraduate degree, pursues master’s

Carolyn P. Hafner (center), associate vice president and chief human resources officer for Wayne State University, was the recipient of the Michigan Chronicle’s prestigious Women of Excellence Award.
Carolyn P. Hafner (center), associate vice president and chief human resources officer for Wayne State University, was the recipient of the Michigan Chronicle’s prestigious Women of Excellence Award.

March

In March, Wayne State launched the Wayne State Guarantee to Michigan students and families, the School of Medicine Class of 2023 celebrated an unprecedented 100% match rate at Match Day, the Board of Governors approved a new law degree for undergraduate students, Economics major Aaron Keathley landed WSU’s first-ever Marshall Scholarship, and the Class of 2023’s Dhruvil Patel won an national award for community service.

Editor’s pick: Educational Transition Coordination Program offers hope, opportunity to formerly incarcerated students

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer attended the announcement of he new Wayne State Guarantee, which will provide free tuition to incoming Michigan students with family incomes of $70,000 or less.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer attended the announcement of the new Wayne State Guarantee, which will provide free tuition to incoming Michigan students with family incomes of $70,000 or less.

April

In April, Wayne State launched a new weekly segment on WWJ Newsradio 950 AM called “Warriors in the Community;” two Wayne State medical students founded Street Kicks, which provides free shoes and socks to patients in need who are discharged from Henry Ford Hospital; Justin NelsonZiyad Muflahi and Rafael Ramos were among several Wayne State students to earn NASA’s Michigan Space Grant Consortium Fellowships; and the Alumni Association announced the 2023 Alumni Award Winners.

Editor’s pick: Grad student's study on Super Mario Bros. game score levels up at Graduate Symposium

Darrell Dawsey (left) speaks with associate professor Michael J. Barnes, the interim chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, during an episode of Warriors in the Community which airs every Monday afternoon on WWJ-AM 950.
Darrell Dawsey (left) spoke with associate professor Michael J. Barnes, the interim chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, during an episode of Warriors in the Community which airs every Monday afternoon on WWJ-AM 950.

May

In May, we celebrated the Class of 2023 graduates; the Employee Recognition Ceremony returned to honor employee milestones, retirees and award recipients; WDET won Station of the Year for the second consecutive year; the Hilberry Gateway opened and hosted a Wayne State Insiders event; and entrepreneur and philanthropist Marian Ilitch received an honorary degree from Wayne State University.

Editor’s pick: Years after completing classes, CFPCA student receives degree

For the first time since the pandemic, the Employee Recognition Ceremony returned to the Wayne State Fieldhouse. More than 1,700 employees and retirees were honored on May 9.
For the first time since the pandemic, the Employee Recognition Ceremony returned to the Wayne State Fieldhouse. More than 1,700 employees and retirees were honored on May 9.

June

In June, Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., was elected the 13th president of Wayne State University, the Wayne State Board of Governors voted to rename the newly renovated State Hall M. Roy Wilson State Hall, alumna and former Board of Governors member Denise Lewis received the Driker Award for Distinguished Service, Wayne State Board of Governors approved the establishment of new Center for Gender and Sexuality, and the Hertel family celebrated 50 years of service to Michigan.

Editor’s pick: Peter Roberts reflects on more than 50 years at Wayne State

Board Chair Mark Gaffney presented, albeit virtually, a Wayne State letter jacket to President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., after the Board of Governors unanimously elected her as the school's 13th president.
Board Chair Mark Gaffney presented, albeit virtually, a Wayne State letter jacket to President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., after the Board of Governors unanimously elected her as the school's 13th president.

July

In July, the State of Michigan allocated $8 million to fund a statewide network of 14 maternal-fetal medicine universities and health care systems lead by Wayne State; School of Medicine researcher Deborah Ellis, Ph.D., received a $3 million award to develop an intervention aimed at improving health outcomes in Black youth with type 1 diabetes; and Wayne State announced a $20 million gift — one of the largest individual gifts in the university’s history — from renowned philanthropist Seema Boesky to establish the Ben L. Silberstein Institute for Brain Health.

Editor’s Pick: Alumnus, Detroit native Dartis Willis Sr. taking giant strides as owner of Windsor pro basketball team

Renowned philanthropist and Detroit native Seema Boesky (center) presented Wayne State with a $20 million gift to launch the Ben L. Silberstein Institute for Brain Health.
Renowned philanthropist and Detroit native Seema Boesky (center) presented Wayne State with a $20 million gift to launch the Ben L. Silberstein Institute for Brain Health, named for her father.

August

August was a month of welcomes. The university enrolled one of the largest incoming undergraduate classes in its history; named Paul Bracke dean of the School of Information Sciences and University Libraries; and Boris Pasche, M.D., Ph.D., was selected to lead Karmanos and the Department of Oncology. Also, researcher Hilary Marusak received a $3.6 million grant to study the impact of exercise on anxiety in adolescents and the Board of Governors approved the establishment of a new undergraduate certificate in cannabis chemistry. 

Editor’s Pick: Wayne State’s Rick Massa embarks on his 47th year as a high school sports official

Rick Massa, an associate director of maintenance engineering in Wayne State’s Facilities Planning and Management Department, has been nominated for the 2024 Vern L. Norris Leadership in Officiating Award.
Rick Massa, an associate director of maintenance engineering in Wayne State’s Facilities Planning and Management Department, has been nominated for the 2024 Vern L. Norris Leadership in Officiating Award.

September

Celebrations in September included President Espy helping to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, a significant increase in Hispanic enrollment, History professor Kidada Williams being nominated for 2023 National Book Award, the Hilberry Gateway kicking off its inaugural season and Wayne State’s participation in the Michigan Assured Admission Pact.

Editor’s Pick: ‘This cat has people’: Rescue cat ‘Cookie’ unites campus community

President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D. (center), helped kick off Hispanic Heritage Month in September with the sixth annual Latina/o/x Welcome Back Reception in the Student Center Building.
President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D. (center), helped kick off Hispanic Heritage Month in September with the sixth annual Latina/o/x Welcome Back Reception in the Student Center Building.

October

During Hispanic Heritage Month, the Association for Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) – which was re-started during the pandemic – was featured, Wayne State was recognized nationally as a Top 15 Voter-Friendly Campus, the university’s Collegiate Recovery Program officially launched with the hiring of its first employee, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced the largest investment in state history to expand semiconductor education and workforce training resources.     

Editor’s Pick: For Wayne State strength coach, family comes first

Wayne State was named a Top 15 Voter Friendly Campus out of 262 institutions nationally by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Student Affairs in Higher Education – the only university in Michigan on the list.
Wayne State was named a Top 15 Voter Friendly Campus out of 262 institutions nationally by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Student Affairs in Higher Education – the only university in Michigan on the list.

November

In November, President Espy announced plans for a university-wide College to Career initiative to broaden the institution’s approach to student success and enhance its impact on the broader community, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) continued full accreditation of the School of Medicine through the 2030-31 academic year, Wayne State received a $30 million capital projects grant from the Michigan legislature for a new Law School facility, and President Emeritus M. Roy Wilson was honored at the dedication of the newly christened M. Roy Wilson State Hall.

Editor’s Pick: Wayne State's continued economic development efforts recognized by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Alumni and students who participated in the College to Career discussion  with President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D. (center) were (L-R) were Gabrielle Rush, Aleanna Siacon, Rafael Ramos, Haley Boccomino, and Marie Hocker.
Alumni and students who participated in the College to Career discussion  with President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D. (center) were (L-R) were Gabrielle Rush, Aleanna Siacon, Rafael Ramos, Haley Boccomino, and Marie Hocker.

December

In December, nearly 2,500 students graduated – including a mother and daughter in the College of Education – a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Education; a new Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to develop strategies and tools to further increase diversity in the School of Medicine started meeting; and former Wayne State provost, Holocaust survivor and war hero Guy Stern died at age 101.

Editor’s Pick: Nursing graduate and National Guard soldier relies on passion and persistence to build impactful career

Wayne State took a major step toward ensuring a safe and inclusive campus environment with the formation of the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Education, which held its ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Wayne State took a major step toward ensuring a safe and inclusive campus environment with the formation of the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Education, which held its ribbon-cutting ceremony.

 

Contact

Matt Lockwood
Phone: 248-622-8060
Email: mlockwood@wayne.edu

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