UDM alumna Kate McCarroll thriving in Detroit law role

The sentiment that one becomes a Titan for life after graduating from the University of Detroit Mercy rings true for alumna Kate McCarroll.  

McCarroll, a double alum from UDM and UDM Law, 98 and 03, believes that some of the best years of her life were spent whilst attending Detroit Mercy.  

She currently practices immigration law at Kerr Russell, a law firm in Detroit. 

Previously, McCarroll was chair of the UDM Alumni Board and has taught public speaking as an adjunct professor for the University. 

The positive experiences she has from her time as a student sparked her initiative to teach.  

“I like to live my studentship vicariously as often as I can,” McCarroll said. “I like that dynamic and group of people – college students; I just like being around them.” 

With an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies and Religious Studies, McCarroll emphasized that one of the values of a liberal arts degree is the freedom students have to explore their interests, even in disciplines that are outside of an individual’s desired career path.  

This is what led her to pursue Religious Studies. 

“It was all from my interest in comparative religions,” McCarroll said. “They were my favorite classes.” 

Coming from a Catholic university, what struck McCarroll the most about studying religion was the lack of bias professors had. 

She bonded with her, now retired, favorite Professor, Dr. John Albert Saliba, S.J., over the duration of her degree. Despite his Jesuit background, McCarroll enjoyed his openness whilst teaching religious topics.  

She laughed when students would later say that she majored in “John Saliba studies, as she took every course he offered. 

“There were no opinions, no ‘this is terrible,” McCarroll said. “I liked the non-judgement.” 

In previous years, the University distinguished separate housing communities based on individual interest. From her scholarship, she received room and board. 

McCarroll lived in “Four West, the now dismantled “peace and social justice community. She credits living on campus as the “best part” of her education. 

“Every day was a treasure; I met these people, who were strangers, who became my closest friends,” McCarroll said. “We would have late night conversations, meals together, and there were so many others around to talk to.” 

Although she had not planned to live on campus, she would later appreciate living with individuals who shared similar values to her. 

“At this point in my life, I know that it was not an accident,” she said. “It was exactly where I was supposed to be.” 

Following graduation, McCarroll planned to work in public relations. After working at several internships, including donor communications for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, she decided to go to law school – leading to her current work in immigration law. 

Almost 30 years later, McCarroll continues to cherish her memories made on McNichols campus. 

McCarroll credits UDM for providing her with both practical and personal growth. The University’s small class sizes, caring professors and communal atmosphere helped McCarroll become more confident as a young adult.  

Additionally, she recognizes how useful the various writing courses she took as an undergraduate have been in her career.  

What is not taught in a singular class, however, is the intrinsic belief systems that McCarroll developed whilst at UDM. She believes that the experiences individuals have at the University are carried with them throughout life.  

“From the first day I was on campus, it was evident that there was something more at Detroit Mercy,” McCarroll said. “I couldn’t put my finger on it, and I’m not sure I can even now.” 

She added on her experience at UDM. 

“There’s just something more; using the skills and education and the good fortune you have to help other people is innate at Detroit Mercy, and that is something that I’ve carried with me,” McCarroll said. 

Aside from the work done at her firm, McCarroll tries to take on as many pro bono cases as possible. She connects her desire to help others using her skills as one of the most important things that UDM taught her.  

Her advice for current students is to slow down and “soak it all in. 

“It’s a great time in your life, when you can learn about the things that you want to learn about, and you’re developing yourself as a person and as a professional,” McCarroll said. “I think if you went and talked to any alum, they would say ‘I wish I could live that time over again.’”