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Wayne State University puts its hopes, and its money, into Detroit

September 2, 2013

This feature story examines Wayne State University's influence in Midtown and its efforts to revitalize Detroit. Wayne State officials and Midtown leaders exude confidence despite the city's filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in July. Dr. M. Roy Wilson, who took over as Wayne State's president on August 1 after working as an administrator at the National Institutes of Health and Creighton University, says bolstered student services and admissions requirements will help the university raise its graduation rate and send more graduates into the local economy. "Detroit is right smack what we do. This is where we live. We are Detroit," Wilson says. "Certainly if we had a lot more money and a lot bigger endowment, we could do a lot more. But it's in our mission." Wayne State Police Chief Anthony Holt also is noted for his efforts to ensure the safety of the campus and surrounding Midtown area. "The university has actively pushed this process very aggressively over the years," says Lyke Thompson, director of the university's Center for Urban Studies. "The university needs to make it happen, ... in order to make sure students and people know, coming to the university, that it's a safe, successful environment."