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New $16 million STEM center that combines faith, science and spirit opens at University of Detroit Jesuit

Front Exterior View (New Center on the R)

Nestled inside the stained glass window at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School’s new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) center are nine circles representing those areas of study each surrounded by this phrase … “question, observe, seek, wonder, discover the hand of God.”

As with all things at this school, faith and science co-exist. Like faith, science is never fully explored and we continue to seek truth and understanding in both to prepare us for life. The new center will help students with all three.

Faith & Science Stained-Glass Window cropped

One of the nine circles representing STEM areas of study


Faith & Science Stained-Glass Window

Stained glass window

The new $16 million STEM center, which opened today, is the first and only high school facility of its kind in Detroit. It represents the largest dollar investment in science and technology at any Michigan high school in recent years and was privately funded by the school’s alumni, parents and friends.

The four-level, 40,000-square-foot STEM center doubles the space for biology, chemistry, and physics programs and provides labs for engineering and for the school’s nationally recognized eco-car and robotics programs.

Biology lecture lab

Biology lecture lab

The FIRST Robotics and eco-car teams have worked hard this year. The FIRST team ranked 60/411 in Michigan going into Nationals. While they didn’t advance after Qualification matches, it was one of the school’s strongest teams and robots in 12 years. The eco-car team competed in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas held in April, the first time the marathon has been held in the auto industry capital.

According to the school, the team had its best showing ever with the gasoline prototype car achieving 394 miles per gallon, improving from 222 mpg last year, and earning 17th place of 44 entries. The battery electric prototype car achieved 114 miles per kilowatt hour of electricity, improving from 90 mi/kWh last year and earning 10th place out of 26 entries.

The team was the “best in the state of Michigan in both categories with better mileage than the Eco Car teams from the University of Michigan, U of D Mercy, Michigan Tech, Lawrence Tech, and various Michigan high schools including Troy and Plymouth-Canton,” the school says.

Student study area

Student study area

The new center also has a spacious science classroom and laboratory exclusively for students in the seventh and eighth grades.

“Preparing our young men to be tomorrow’s leaders continues here and now in Detroit, in the 465-year-old Jesuit tradition of formation of the whole person in mind, body, and spirit,” says school President Theodore G. Munz, S.J. “Critical thinking informed by theological inquiry prepares our students to serve others in many fields when they go out into the world.”

While preparing the students academically, U of D Jesuit also instills a commitment to give back to the community … something the school hopes will continue throughout their lives. The students have done such things as served as pallbearers at funerals for homeless veterans, cleaned up Detroit landmarks and adopted 40 Focus:HOPE families and raised money and collected gifts to provide those families with food, clothing and presents for the holidays.

University of Detroit Jesuit (UDJ) is the largest and oldest of Detroit’s three Catholic high schools. Its students achieve among the highest average ACT scores in the state, and every graduating senior is accepted at a college or university.

“Our city and state need home-grown scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to continue to fuel Detroit’s economic growth,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said at the groundbreaking ceremony last year. “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.”

How will they make a difference? They will continue to “question, observe, seek, wonder and discover the hand of God.”

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