The University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, the largest and oldest of the three Catholic high schools in Detroit, has broken ground on its state-of-the-art Science and Engineering Center. The center is expected to be completed in August 2016, and it will be the only high school facility of its kind in Detroit.
The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) center is the largest monetary investment in science and technology at any Michigan high school in recent years.
The 40,000 square-foot facility will cover four stories and will double the school’s space for biology, chemistry, and physics programs. It will also add labs for engineering and research. The school’s national recognized eco-car and robotics program will receive new lab space in which to research and create.
“Equipping our young men to be tomorrow’s leaders and innovators begins right here, right now in Detroit, where we continue the 450-year-old Jesuit tradition of academic rigor and critical thinking,” said school President Karl J. Kiser, S.J. “Every day, faith and science converge as we challenge our students to reach for excellence while reaching out to serve others.”
Jesuits can be found around the world in places of authority. For instance, Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and he has a graduate degree in chemistry. He also taught in two Jesuit high schools.
UDJ alumni from around the world attended Tuesday’s groundbreaking, including Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmango S.J., a 2014 Carl Sagan Award recipient and 1970 graduate. The event featured emcee Stephen E. Henderson, a 1988 UDJ graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and editorial editor for the Detroit Free Press.
Dr. Otis W. Brawley, a 1977 graduate, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, and professor at Emory University School of Medicine spoke of the importance of the new STEM center. “It is extremely likely that many future cancer breakthroughs will be developed by students entering high school today. When we invest in science education, we give young people the opportunity to change the world by healing others.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Harvey Hollins III, director of Governor Rick Snyder’s Office of Urban Initiatives were also present at the groundbreaking.
“Our city and state need scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to continue to fuel Detroit’s economic growth,” said Duggan. “I applaud U of D Jesuit’s commitment to providing young men in the City of Detroit with access to a world-class education and the opportunity to make a difference for the rest of their lives.”