Detroit Mercy community mourns loss of Fr. Gerard Albright

Detroit Mercy lost a beloved professor, and the world lost a beautiful spirit. Fr. Gerard Albright, an esteemed professor of biology, left an indelible mark on the university during his more than 60-year career. Albright’s passing on Sept. 22, at the age of 97, marked the end of an era for the university and the entire community. 

Albright’s commitment to the spiritual growth of students, with his expertise in the field of biology, made him a cherished figure on campus. The Director of Communications at UDM, Ron Bernas, said that he first became aware of who Albright was when he was doing a research article. He learned that when Albright graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, he quickly found religion and joined the Jesuits at age 17. 

When Albright was deciding what to do with his teaching career, Bernas said, “He actually wanted to teach English, but they needed a biology teacher, so he studied biology.” This is an example of how talented and smart Albright was. He could have been any type of teacher he wanted to be. 

The current UDM Chair and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Matthew J. Mio, said that Albright always had a sharp mind. Mio mentioned that whenever he was around Albright, he felt a comfortable and calm feeling. 

Mio said, “He was a very warm presence; however, he could also be quite stern.” He explained that when Albright was stern, he did it with humor with the best intentions. 

Mio explained that Albright would deliver realistic news in a warm way so students could better prepare for their future, and that is something that is going to be missed now that he is gone. Bernas also commented that Albright could be tough on students to help the students make tough decisions. 

Albright will always be remembered at Detroit Mercy because a scholarship was created in his name to provide support for biology majors. The scholarship was set up to celebrate his retirement from UDM. Bernas was very happy that the scholarship was named prior to his passing so he was able to enjoy it. There is also a classroom with his picture on it in the Life Sciences Building on campus. 

Albright also loved to hike and walk. Bernas mentioned that if Albright wasn’t teaching, he would like to take long walks and read poetry. 

Bernas added, “Fr. Albright was levelheaded and was very calm and very calming presence that will be missed.”