Skip navigation
Detroit Skyline

From ‘C’ to shining ‘D’

Distance is no barrier to CMU sharing in Detroit resurgence

Contact: ​Jeff Johnston

The state’s southeast corner is central to Central Michigan University.

That’s not news — CMU has offered programs in metro Detroit since at least 1972. But the university and its alumni and students are stepping up their game amid an urban revival that some call the Detroit renaissance.

It’s more than hype. National website ranks Detroit No. 4 on its list of top 10 downtown comebacks, based on population growth, jobs per capita, new construction and more.

“CMU is vested in Michigan’s success,” says President George E. Ross, “and the state needs the strength of its major cities in order to thrive.

“That’s why we are dedicated to fostering education, innovation and investment in the city of Detroit.”

It’s why the university opened a downtown hub on Woodward Avenue in 2014, joining what are now five suburban Detroit locations.

Detroit students and alumni.jpgIt’s why Detroit is a destination for student volunteers taking Alternative Breaks through the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center — students such as junior Kelly Yageila of Essexville, who spent two recent days in Detroit working with Cass Community Social Services.

“It’s really cool seeing how all these people want to see Detroit get better,” says Yageila, a communication disorders major studying to be a speech pathologist.

It’s why Detroit draws CMU research, such as senior Moriah Cooper’s proposed study of underutilized midwife services. Cooper, an exercise science major, is from Detroit.

It’s why CMU builds ties with Detroit-area movers and shakers who help drive positive change in countless ways.

And it’s why CMU partners with one of Detroit’s flagship companies for employee education and student internships.

That would be Quicken Loans Inc., where Vice President of Strategy Development John Fikany is among more than 400 CMU alumni on the payroll of the Quicken family of companies. Quicken turns to CMU to enhance its workforce and hires scores of CMU students each summer — through an internship program run by a former Quicken intern from CMU.

In 1998, the university counted as few as eight interns working in downtown Detroit, at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Today, Quicken companies alone hire more than 50 CMU interns.

“And they’re even trying to double that,” says Tyrone Jordan, President Ross’ executive assistant for metro Detroit outreach. Jordan says Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties will always loom large for CMU.

“A third of our students actually come from Southeast Michigan,” Jordan says. “You can’t overlook those three counties if you want to serve the state.”

Today, Detroit exerts a special pull on dreamers and doers — entrepreneurs, educators and investors including these CMU alumni.

Read their stories:

Using change to invest in the future


Kyle Goodall cultivates eager young helpers as he works to “tear down the walls of injustice.”

Read his story

CMU grad leads bike-share effort


Public service has always been in Lisa Nuszkowski’s worldview. Now she’s putting Detroit’s public on wheels.

Read her story

In vested interest


As he works on million-dollar deals to benefit city residents, Aaron Seybert has two people in mind.

Read his story

Rebuilding with social capital


Community leader Marlowe Stoudamire focuses on Detroit’s future by looking back 50 years.

Read his story

Building a company, rebuilding a city


Thirsty for success, entrepreneur Cason Thorsby says he and his chosen city have a lot in common.

Read his story

Photo Associator

Article Photo Title

Photo Title required.

Photo for News Home

Select File
Use This One

Photo for News Feeds

Select File
Use This One