Founded in 1817 in Detroit, U-M moved to Ann Arbor in 1837. To provide a focus for U-M activity in Detroit, the Detroit Center was opened in September 2005. On its 10th anniversary, 17 academic units from the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses now call Detroit home.
“The Center has become a representation of the university’s commitment to the city, as well as an important university/community asset,” explains Addell Anderson, Detroit Center director and a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.
Housed in Orchestra Place, the Detroit Center takes up 15,209 square feet of the building’s ground floor in a neighborhood that is surrounded by the iconic Detroit Institute of Arts, Majestic Theatre and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. As Midtown continues to grow develop, establishments such as Whole Foods Market, Starbucks, and craft cocktail taverns serving trendy small-plates cuisines have blossomed across the area.
Throughout the year, the Detroit Center hosts meetings, lectures, workshops, and performances, annually drawing more than 20,000 visitors. Its programming links university and Detroit communities with Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities, the Concert of Colors, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, local music workshops, Sounds of the Season, and Noel Night. The center sponsors a week-long, summer theatre camp for Metro Detroit youth, and maintains a Hall of Fame recognizing the significant achievements of Detroiters who are university alumni.
Anderson adds, “We welcome the opportunity to showcase the intellectual and cultural assets of the University and Detroit, while supporting research and outreach initiatives.”
For those who need a lift, the MDetroit Connector (MDC) provides free bus service between Ann Arbor and Detroit in support of curricular, service-learning, research and community service opportunities. The MDC is available to U-M faculty, staff and students with U-M ID’s. Also eligible are university partners that are currently involved with U-M initiatives based on the Ann Arbor campus.
With the impact of the collaboration of the University and Detroit felt at an international level, in 2013, the Detroit Center established the Detroiter Hall of Fame. Honoring the distinguished career achievements of Detroit natives who have graduated from the University of Michigan, the Detroiter Hall of Fame recognizes those national or global contributions that each honoree has made to their respective discipline.