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Updated 10:00 AM September 12, 2005




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U-M to celebrate opening of Detroit Center Sept. 21

Already bustling with activity, the U-M Detroit Center will celebrate its opening Sept. 21.
An illustration of the entrance to the new U-M Detroit Center, which is located at Orchestra Place in downtown Detroit. The University will host a grand opening at the facility Sept. 21. (Photo by Photo By Christian Unverzagt/Sign Illustration By Jennifer Harmon)

The Gratitude Steel Band will play a mix of "The Victors," Motown, hip-hop and Caribbean music when the center hosts a reception and celebration that will include remarks by President Mary Sue Coleman.

"The U-M Detroit Center provides a home for the many longstanding programs the University sponsors in the city and heightens accessibility for our Detroit neighbors to the University's students, faculty and programs," Coleman says.

The reception will be from 6-8 p.m. at the center, which is located at 3663 Woodward Ave., on the first floor of Orchestra Place. Former Provost Paul N. Courant also will speak.

U-M faculty, students and researchers have been using the 10,500-square-foot center for classes, faculty retreats and meetings. Events are booked well into next term.

"I'm already sitting here figuring things like 'how can I get one group of people in here without them bumping into the next group coming in for the next meeting,'" says Roger Doster, who manages the center.

The center sits at the corner of two of Detroit's busiest intersections—Woodward Avenue and the Mack/Martin Luther King Boulevard corridor. It will provide offices and rooms for classes, meetings, exhibitions, lectures and collaborative work, while providing working space for students and faculty when they are in the city.

U-M, which was founded in Detroit in 1817, has maintained a presence in the city for years. The University has owned the Rackham Building, leased to nearby Wayne State University (WSU), for more than 60 years and maintains a Detroit admissions office, as well as other outreach programs in various parts of the city.

The area near the center is home to WSU and the College for Creative Studies, as well as many cultural destinations, including the Max M. Fisher Music Center, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Science Center and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Social Work researcher Larry Gant, whose work includes the Center for Urban Innovation, a partnership with Detroit community organizations seeking to provide access to wireless technology for the city is already using the facility daily.

The four-member steering committee for the project was headed by Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs, and three U-M deans: Bryan Rogers of School of Art & Design, Doug Kelbaugh of Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, and Paula Allen-Meares of the School of Social Work.

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