Heritage and History
Madonna University is an independent, coeducational, Catholic liberal arts university sponsored by the Felician Sisters of Livonia, Michigan. The University, founded in 1947, is an outgrowth of Presentation Junior College (1937-1947). Through a strong general education curriculum integrated with liberal arts and career-oriented majors, the University offers programs leading to doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees and certificates.
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1937-1948 | 1950-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2007 | show all | hide all
1937: Presentation Junior College (forerunner of Madonna College/University) founded for the education of the members of the Felician Sisters of Livonia, the sponsoring body of the University.
1947: Charter amended to establish four-year liberal arts college and change the name to Madonna College. Pre-professional programs offered in Teaching, Medical Technology and Social Welfare. Authorization by the Michigan State Board of Education to grant degrees. Admission of lay women.
1948: First baccalaureate degrees granted (nine Felician Sisters graduated.)
1951: Graduation of first five lay women.
1954: Approval by the Michigan Board of Education to recommend graduates for provisional and permanent teaching certificates on the elementary and secondary levels in accordance with 1942 Michigan Certification Code.
1959: Initial accreditation for 10 years by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
1962: Curriculum expanded to include a four-year degree program in Nursing; initial approval by the State of Michigan Board of Nursing.
1965: Dedication of the new campus including the Resident Hall for students and a wing for religious faculty; completion of the main Academic Building.
1967: Final approval of the Nursing program by the State of Michigan Board of Nursing. First Honorary Doctorate awarded posthumously by Madonna College to Mother Mary DeSales Tocka, foundress of Presentation Junior College.
1968: 10-year extension of accreditation granted by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Detroit Area Consortium of Catholic Colleges established with Madonna College as one of the founding members.
1969: Acceptance by the State of Michigan Board of Education of the Compliance Report of Madonna College, thereby approving the College’s conversion to the 1967 Teacher Certification Code.
1970: Cyclical long-range planning process initiated with assistance from Title III grant. Accreditation of the bachelor's Nursing program by the National League for Nursing.
1971: Initiation of programs in Gerontology and Religious Studies. Construction of the Activities Center.
1972: Accreditation of the Teacher Education program by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Admission of men to degree programs and expansion of the curriculum to include programs in Criminal Justice, Radiologic Technology, Legal Assistant, and Fire Protection and Occupational Safety.
1973: First male graduates (three associate degrees and one bachelor’s degree). Initiation of Child Care, Business Administration, and Allied Health programs. Enrollment tops 1,000 for the first time (1,026 total: 296 men, 730 women).
1974: First graduating class to top 100 (111 bachelor’s degrees, 22 associate degrees, and four certificates.)
1975: State of Michigan Board of Education approval for Preparation of Teachers for the Learning Disabled, and for certification program in vocational education including Trade, Industry, and Health Science. Michigan Department of Public Health approval for Emergency Medical Technology program. Initiation of Interpretation and Total Communication program. First deaf students admitted to the College.
1976: Enrollments reach 2,000 in January 1976. (2,021 total: 690 men, 1,331 women). First graduating class of 200 (274 bachelor’s degrees, 52 associate degrees). Development Office established. Air conditioning installed in main building permitting expansion of academic calendar and educational services on year-round basis.
1977: State of Michigan Board of Education approval for group minor in Reading for Elementary and Secondary Schools. First graduating class to top 300 (316 bachelor's degrees, 84 associate degrees, 17 certificates).
1978: 10-year extension of accreditation granted by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Career Resource Center established. First graduating class to reach 400 (333 bachelor's degrees, 67 associate degrees). Enrollments exceed projections at 3,000 (3,011 total: 850 men, 2,161 women). Expansion of curriculum to include the Allied Health Management program and the Emotionally Impaired major for elementary school teachers. Extension of accreditation granted by the National League for Nursing.
1978-1981: Advanced Institutional Development Program (AIDP, Title III) grant of $950,000 received.
1978-1980: W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant of $420,450 awarded for development of the Continuing Education program as an integral component of Madonna College’s academic program ($141,250 of the total awarded to the Work/Education Council of Southeastern Michigan to promote this community-wide service program.)
1979: Approval for the Computer Science programs and Computer Information Systems.
1980: Curriculum expanded to include majors in Commercial Art, Economic Applications, Clinical Dietetics, Community Nutrition, Foods and Nutrition, Food Services Management, Fashion Merchandising, Music Management, Security and Loss Prevention. Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) approved to replace Bachelor of Science with a major in Social Work.
1981: Maximum seven-year extension (1988) accreditation granted by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. First graduating class of 500 (493 bachelor’s degrees, 54 associate degrees). Between 1981-1988, Strengthening Developing Institutions Program (SDIP), received $505,000 Title III grant.
1982: Master of Science in Administration program with specialties in Business and Nursing accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Bachelor of Social Work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). American Dietetics Association granted approval for the Clinical Dietetics and Community Nutrition majors and continuing approval for the General Dietetics major.
1983: Bachelor of Medical Technology degree approved by the State of Michigan Department of Education. Hospice minor and certificate program initiated. “Writing Across the Curriculum Program” established with $89,000 grant from National Endowment for the Humanities.
1984: Dedication of a $4.5 million new library, lecture hall, classrooms and related facilities. North Central Association of Colleges and Schools focus visit on Master of Science in Administration program. National League for Nursing grants eight-year continuation of accreditation. Legal Assistant program granted five-year initial accreditation by the American Bar Association. Council on Social Work Education grants continuation of accreditation of Social Work program. State of Michigan Board of Education approval for Computer Science endorsement program for Teacher Education.
1985: First graduating class to reach 600 (first six master’s degrees, 564 bachelor’s degrees, and 55 associate degrees).
1986: Maximum extension of accreditation completing the 10-year cycle granted by National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (1981-1991).
1987: Educational Development Center completed to house Center for Personalized Instruction, Children’s Learning Center, Department of Education and Psychology and Resource Development Department. Michigan State Board of Education approval for nomenclatural change in Charter to read Master of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Applied Science and Associate of Applied Science degree program, and major in International Business and Economics initiated.
Approval by the Board of Trustees to initiate a five-year (1988-93), $10 Million Campaign for Academic Excellence to address the areas of endowment, capital and operations.
1988: Introduction of a new program leading to the first graduate program in education: the master’s degree in Educational Leadership, designed for pursuit by part-time students with a full-time work commitment. Accreditation through 1998 on the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Construction of student lounge completed.
1989: Dedication of the Office of Multicultural Affairs to recruit, support and retain minority students. Madonna University offers first graduate courses in Taiwan leading to maste’s degrees in Educational Leadership and Business Administration. Opening of the outreach program at Ameritech in Southfield.
The first graduating class to reach 700 (75 master’s degrees, 635 bachelor’s degrees and 53 associate degrees). Automation of the library completed.1991:
Acquisition of the charter from St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Mich. Announcement by the President and the Board of Trustees on February 11, 1991 that Madonna College has been renamed Madonna University as approved by the State of Michigan.
Renovation of the Academic Computer Laboratory and establishment of a Computerized Writing Lab. Acquired the Angelo DiPonio Building through a generous $1.2 million donation by the Angelo and Margaret DiPonio foundation to house the Division of Nursing and Health. Opening of an outreach program in Brighton, Mich.1992:
Fall enrollment reaches a new high of 4,436, including 406 graduate students. Initiation of a new major in Hospice -- first such program in the country. Restructuring of academic division into five specific colleges/schools: College of Arts and Humanities, School of Business, College of Nursing and Health, College of Science and Mathematics, College of Social Sciences. Introduction of English as a Second Language program.
Establishment of the Center for International Studies – sponsored partially through Title VI funds. Offering of first Summer Institute for 100 gifted and talented high school students. Establishment of the University Office of Planning and Mission Effectiveness.1994:
Opening of the outreach program at R.L. Polk Company in Detroit. Installation of satellite downlink facilities for reception of national programs. Initiation of a Clinical Nursing graduate specialty in Adult Health and Chronic Health Conditions.
1995: Acquisition of the Maertens Building through a generous $1 million donation by John and Elizabeth A. (DeSeranno) Stevens and Aline DeSeranno to house the School of Business, the newly formed College of Continuing and Professional Studies, the Center for Research and the Outreach Office.
Equipped a distance learning classroom enabling the University to offer courses via two-way interactive video instruction to any location across the world. Distinguished Teaching Professorship in the Humanities (endowed chair established through NEH Challenge Grant.) Joint Federation Statement signed by Madonna University and Sacred Heart Major Seminary to cooperate in pursuit of joint educational goals.
Collaborative program with the Association for Quality and Participation for MSBA in Quality and Operations Management.
1996: First institution in the United States to offer a graduate-level certificate and Master of Science in Hospice. Announcement of a $15 million Comprehensive Campaign to support the goals and programs of Madonna University.
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) grants Teacher Education programs continuing accreditation and initial accreditation of graduate education programs in Educational Leadership, Learning Disabilities and Literacy Education.
1997: Initiation of the first Catholic School Leadership graduate degree in Michigan in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Detroit and Sacred Heart Major Seminary. Introduction of Omnibus, a joint online degree program with Schoolcraft College. Social Work courses by distance education in Gaylord, Mich. receive approval by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE).
1998: 10-year extension of continued accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Initiation of a joint MSBA program between Madonna University and the Shanghai Institute of International Finance.
1999: Faculty and students expand experiences in service-learning initiatives as a major focus in academic partnering with community agencies. Madonna University receives a $350,000 Kresge Challenge grant toward the completion of the Residence Hall Project and $1.6 million from the U.S. Office of Education, Title III, for technology enhancement.
2000: Completion of the $15 million comprehensive campaign for support of physical plant projects, scholarships and operations.
Approved new master’s degree programs including Teaching and Learning, Clinical Psychology and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MTESOL).
2001: Sister Francilene Van de Vyver, CSSF, steps down and Sister Rose Marie Kujawa, CSSF, becomes the sixth president.
Ford Motor Company Technology Wing is built and e²college concept is developed.
2002: Sister Rose Marie takes the official oath of office at her Inauguration on April 20.
Teacher Education receives maximum accreditation for seven years from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) after an outstanding site visit.
2003: The Council of Social Work Education recommends approval for the Social Work program at all three sites: the main campus of Livonia, Detroit, and Gaylord. Visitors commend the program at all three sites for eight years.
Establishment of the Madonna University Downriver Center in Southgate, Mich. with financial assistance from the Archdiocese of Detroit. Initial programs include Teacher Education, Business, Criminal Justice and General Education.
Merger of St. Mary’s College as the eighth college of Madonna University. Programs to be retained on the Orchard Lake site include the Catholic Integrated Core Curriculum (CICC), Polish Studies, Theology and Philosophy. Business, Teacher Education (English, Communication Arts and History), and Criminal Justice will be imported to this site. A grant of $1.2 million from the Ave Maria Foundation supports this new college for three years: 2003-2006.
A new graduate degree, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) is offered for the first time.
During the Fall term, graduate enrollment surpassed 1,000 students for the first time.
2004: A new graduate degree in Pastoral Ministry, and undergraduate degrees in Sport Management and Forensic Science are offered for the first time.
The first 10 students in the SWEEP (Southwest [Detroit] Educational Empowerment Program) graduate with majors in Social Work. The Thompson Foundation announces a $450,000 grant to support this program for three years: 2004-2007.
Establishment of the Stephenson Endowed Scholarship with a gift of $440,000 from Edward C. and Hazel L. Stephenson Foundation.
Initiation of the U.S.-Lebanon Partnership for American Studies collaborative program with Notre Dame University-Louaize in Lebanon, funded for two years (2004-2006) by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the amount of $100,000.
2005: Organization of the DeSales Lifetime Giving Society, in honor of Mother Mary DeSales, founder of Madonna University in 1937.
First-time offering of the Executive Master of Business Administration degree in Jinan, China (700 miles northeast of Shanghai). 60 students comprised of physicians and hospital administrators from 20 hospitals in China are enrolled.
Approval of new undergraduate degree in Philosophy.
Establishment of Board of Trustees Audit committee to oversee the audit process in light of the Sarbanes Oxley Act.
Completion of $2 million tunnel project on Livonia campus to save energy and ensure a healthy air climate in both major buildings: the University Center and the Academic building.
2006: Organization of Madonna University Foundation, a non 501”c”3 committee of community leaders whose purpose is to ensure the mission and vision of Madonna University is realized by its supportive efforts; reports directly to the Board of Trustees.
Approval of seven-year $50 million Comprehensive Campaign “Leading the Way” to raise financial support for a new Science and Media building, scholarships, endowed chairs, Centers of Excellence and Student Services building.
Engagement of SmithGroup to prepare architectural plans for the Science and Media building.
Addition of two new sports in the Athletic department, men’s and women’s Cross Country teams, for a total of 11 sports.
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits the bachelor's and master’s degree nursing program for five years (Previously accredited by the National League for Nursing).
Initiation of an Environmental Science major, a Physical Education minor, an MSN/MBA graduate degree program, a post MSN certificate in Business Strategies for Nurses, an MSN track in Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, a Homeland Security certificate, and an Occupational Teacher certificate program.
Number of Madonna University alumni surpasses 20,000; graduates live in 66 countries.
2007: Renovation of "Welcome Center" at the Orchard Lake Center to be occupied by Dean, Assistant, Admissions Advisor and Receptionist/Advisor.
Groundbreaking for a new LEED-Certified Science and Media building
First class of graduates in Jinan, China; 60 graduate students completed an Executive MBA with a specialty in Hospital Aministration.
First class of students complete online Business programs; six undergraduate and three graduate. These students were mainly Indian students from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Approval of a Master of Arts degree in History.