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November 03, 2011 - Image 41

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-11-03

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Gem dandy

Hillel's Hidden Jewel Tour brings out the best of Midtown


Wayne State University and Hillel of Metro
Detroit (HMD) recently hosted more than
70 prominent leaders and members of the
Detroit Jewish community for the eighth
annual Hidden Jewel Tour. Elaine Driker,
chair of the HMD board of directors and
former director of Wayne State's Detroit
Orientation Institute, provided historical
context during the bus tour.

"Old Main, that building we just passed,
is where Eugene courted me in the
basement," she reveals. "I'm still trying to
get that plaque on the wall down there, but
we haven't done it yet."

Jewish leaders on the bus, many of whom
are also alumni, chuckle at that. The Hidden
Jewel Tour juxtaposes their fond memories
with a new reality — that the dynamic
Wayne State of today is nothing like the
university they remember.

"The Wayne State campus has been
hidden in plain view from many Detroiters
who drive by hundreds or thousands of
times and don't realize the exciting and
exceedingly important things that are
happening here," says Wayne State Board
of Governors member and tour guide
Eugene Driker. "Many people in the Jewish
community don't realize that Wayne State
is Michigan's only urban research university,
not to mention an economic powerhouse
with nearly 32,000 students. This tour is a
chance for people who might never have
been on campus, or have not been here
for decades, to experience its beauty and

A stop at Moishe House at 448 East Ferry
underscores Driker's point. Moishe House is
a co-op for Jewish young professionals, ages

21-30, located just a few short blocks from
Wayne State's main campus. It numbers
several Wayne State students among its

The Hidden Jewel Tour reinforces Wayne
State's economic development and talent-
attraction strategies in other ways as well.
The bus tour educates Jewish leaders about
business incubation activities at Wayne
State's research and technology park,
TechTown. Established in 2004, TechTown
supports more than 280 companies —
many spun off from Wayne State research.
TechTown has relationships with both
Hebrew Free Loan and the Michigan Israel
Business Bridge, laying the groundwork for
Israeli and local Jewish startups to emerge
in Detroit.

Noting that "more members of Detroit's
Jewish community are graduates of Wayne
State than any other college or university,"
Driker points out several buildings on
campus that bear the names of Jewish
donors — the Mort Harris Recreation
and Fitness Center, Marvin I. Danto
Engineering Development Center, and
Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy
and Health Sciences, to name a few. The
bus also drives by new additions to Wayne
State's growing campus — the Law School's
Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, the
A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building and the
Mazurek Medical Education Commons at
the School of Medicine.

As the bus progresses to the Wayne State
School of Medicine, Driker describes
its research, teaching and economic
development affiliations with the Detroit
Medical Center (DMC) and Henry Ford
Health System. Participants
see how the three institutions'
Live Midtown initiative is
repopulating the area with
residential housing incentives
and expanded services.

Jewish community leaders from across metro
Detroit embark on Wayne State's
Hidden Jewel Tour across the university's
Midtown Detroit campus.

in terms of the fact that young people
are moving back into Detroit," says Larry
Wolfe, former president of the Jewish
Community Center and chairman of the
Detroit Jewish Federation Allied Campaign.
"TechTown, where you can help incubate
a company — is just fascinating. I think
there's tremendous hope here for not only
the Jewish community but for the entire
Detroit metropolitan area."

Miriam Starkman, executive director of
Hillel of Metro Detroit, concurs. "The key
word is momentum," she says. "There
is a synergy in Midtown that is bringing
Jewish life to Detroit. Hillel of Metro Detroit
is nicely positioned to work with Wayne
State and its other university partners
to help energize this important student

"The DMC and Wayne State's
School of Medicine are
inextricably linked," Driker
explains. "With an annual
research budget of more than
$200 million, the School of
Medicine is an economic force
for the state, not to mention
an engine for graduating more
than 300 physicians in Michigan
each year."

"The rejuvenation of the entire
area is very invigorating to me

Students exercise at the state-of-the-art
Mort. Harris Recreation and Fitness Center.

Ale A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building and

Lecture Hall is the newest campus jewel —
environmentally sustainable, modern research
and teaching facility that attracts top faculty
and students from all over the world.


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