The mission of the University of Michigan Detroit Center is to mutually enrich University and Detroit communities through service, education, research and the exchange of culture.
History of the Detroit Center
The University of Michigan Detroit Center provides a visible symbol of our nearly 200-year relationship with the City of Detroit. Conveniently located in the heart of the city’s Cultural Center, the U-M Detroit Center serves as a gateway for University and urban communities to take advantage of each other’s learning, research and cultural activities.
Opened on September 21, 2005, the staff and its 26,122 sq. ft. facility occupy the ground floor of Orchestra Place on Woodward Avenue next to the home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Conducted under the auspices of the University’s Office of the Provost, the facility accommodates research projects and outreach initiatives, while also offering space for an increasing number of University programs involving Detroit citizens and organizations. The facility includes offices and space for classes, meetings, exhibitions, lectures, and collaborative work while serving as a home base for students and faculty working on projects in Detroit.
"The University of Michigan was founded in Detroit in 1817, and we have remained committed and connected to this city," said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, in introducing the center to the Detroit community. "Providing a home for our many Detroit projects in the heart of the city's cultural center makes us far more visible and accessible and enables us to be a part of its revitalization. We look forward to the way this center will strengthen the partnership between UM and Detroiters."
The U-M Detroit Center stands at the confluence of the busy Mack Avenue/Martin Luther King Boulevard and Woodward Avenue corridors. The nearby area includes other educational institutions such as Wayne State University, Michigan State University Detroit Center, and the College for Creative Studies, as well as cultural resources like the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Science Center, and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
The renovated space, which is leased from the DSO, was laid out and designed by Bill Grindatti, B.S.1981, M.Arch.1983, under the guidance of former Taubman College Dean Douglas Kelbaugh. Taubman graduate Mashawnta Armstrong designed the street banners, while Art & Design students Nolan Loh and Mai Truong created the window signage.
Among its initiatives, the Center features:
U-M Office of Undergraduate Admissions
School of Art and Design’s Work • Detroit gallery, presenting the work of student, faculty, alumni, as well as local, national, and internationally prominent thinkers and makers
Semester in Detroit Program – a unique urban immersion program offered by the College of Literature, Science and the Arts
ACT Preparation Workshops conducted by the Office of Multicultural Initiatives
Michigan Engineering Zone (MEZ) – a College of Engineering robotics program for high school students
School of Social Work partnership in Good Neighborhoods, the Skillman Foundation’s community change initiative
University Health Systems’ Project Healthy Schools – an innovative program that seeks to reduce childhood obesity and its long-term health risks
School of Public Health’s community walking program, which aims to improve the cardiovascular health of Detroit citizens
Taubman College’s Detroit Community Design Center
Youth Cultural Fellows – a high school performing arts program conducted by professional artists
Sponsorship of the outdoor stage for the Concert of Colors, in partnership with Michigan State University
Midtown Challenge – A teambuilding challenge, which takes groups on a nontraditional tour of Midtown Detroit
Detroit Hot Topics – A series of programs related to the issues affecting the Metropolitan Detroit