April 2012: For whom the bells toll

Shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday, April 13, UDM's historic clock tower chimed 25 times to signal the inauguration of Dr. Antoine Garibaldi as its 25th president.

The bells marked the culmination of a daylong celebration on the McNichols campus.

The university's first lay and African-American president was honored with a morning mass at Gesu Church, followed by a luncheon in the Titan Dining Room and an installation ceremony at Calihan Hall.

Garibaldi has worked at UDM since June, but college presidential inaugurations often occur months after new leaders take office to give them time to get to know their new communities.

Garibaldi's new-and old-communities turned out in droves to honor him.

Red trolleys conveyed hundreds of guests – Garibaldi family members, colleagues from his previous institutions who flew in from around the country – to Gesu Church for a mass celebrated by Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron.

UDM was well represented, too, as faculty, staff and administrators packed the church.

Other notable guests included Fr. Gerard Stockhausen and Sr. Maureen Fay, the university's 24th and 23rd presidents, respectively. Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone also attended the events, sitting with representatives from the athletic department.

Even more people filled Calihan Hall for the installation ceremony, which lasted over two hours.

Well wishes from many around the city, including a letter from Detroit Mayor Dave Bing (who had been ill), were read and gifts from various members of the university were presented to Garibaldi before he gave his inaugural address.

"I'm humbled by the remarks," he said. "I plan to work diligently so UDM's next level of greatness is realized."

The president spent much of his speech recognizing UDM's 135-year history. He assured those assembled he would help the university keep the tradition of remaining in Detroit before outlining five steps of his strategic plan.

-Develop academic and institutional excellence

-Increase enrollment, retention and graduation of students

-Heighten the distinction of the university

-Create a culture that fosters effective management and strong financial health 

-Amplify the university's dynamic community engagement

A sold-out, $140-a-ticket off-campus gala was held Friday night at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit.