Alumni Awards

Detroit Mercy Alumni Achievement Spirit Awards

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy chooses an alumnus from each of its Colleges or Schools to honor as someone who has excelled in his or her profession, demonstrated outstanding leadership in work and devoted himself or herself in service to the larger community. Award recipients reflect the University’s mission of excellence and service and bring pride to their alma mater.

2021 School of Dentistry Alumni Achievement Spirit Award Honoree
Persiani
Richard Persiani, D.D.S. ’73, M.S.

Detroit Mercy Dentistry is pleased to announce Richard Persiani, D.D.S. ’73, M.S. as this year's Alumni Achievement Spirit Award Honoree.

Persiani has served on the Detroit Mercy Dental faculty for more than 45 years, and has served on the craniofacial surgical team at Providence and Beaumont hospitals. He also uses his skills to provide medical treatments to the community, both local and global.

He is the founder of the dental clinic at Vista Maria Community Services where he provides dental care for young women who have suffered the effects of abuse, neglect and trauma, as well as the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, who run the center. For 10 years, he was the co-director of the Children’s Tooth Fairy Foundation, providing dental care, financing, support and logistics for more than 2,000 underserved children in Wayne County.

He has participated in more than 30 mission trips with Operation Smile, providing surgical care for children with cleft lips or palates.

Closer to home, he and his wife, Penny, who he met while in dental school, also volunteer with the penguins and kangaroos at the Detroit Zoo and have the unique title of Distinguished Clowns in Detroit’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Read a story about Persiani’s charity work and how he met his wife.

Spirit Award Honorees

2016 – Dr. Richard Golden, '71
2015 – Dr. William Knysz Jr., '75
2014 – Dr. John A. DiBiaggio, '58

Alumnus of the Year Awardees

1972 Dr. Joseph Syron, '54 1994 Dr. Rodney Hyduk, '74
1973 Dr. Richard Litt, '65 1995 Dr. Joseph Caurdy, '61
1974 Dr. William Quinn, '42 1996 Dr. John Hinterman, '69
1975 Dr. Henry Dziuba, '42 1997 Dr. George Bletsaas, '66
1976 N/A 1998 Dr. Charles J. Cooper, '58
1977 N/A 1999 Dr. William Berkowski, '74
1978 Dr. Stephen Weshale, '52 2000 N/A
1979 Dr. Julius Chikos, '54 2001 Dr. Timothy F. Kosinski, '84
1980 Dr. Leo Shipkop, '51 2002 Dr. H. Robert Steinman, '73
1981 Dr. Edward Ribitsp, '45 2003 Dr. Richard J. Persiani, '73
1982 Dr. Donald Pokorny, '53 2004 Dr. Jonathan P. Wiens, '73
1983 Dr. Paul A. Jacobs, '58 2005 Dr. Donald Sherman, '63
1984 Dr. Stephen Baynai, '52 2006 Dr. John A. DiBiaggio, '58
1985 Dr. Donald S. Rumon, '52 2007 Dr. Carl Misch, '73
1986 Dr. Richard N. DiLaura, '56 2008 N/A
1987 Dr. Leo Shipko, '51 2009 Dr. Paul H. Pokorny, '78
1989 Dr. Leonard W. Wades, '54 2010 Dr. Richard Kulbersh, '75
1990 Dr. Daniel Goodman, '46 2011 Dr. Nicholas Fontana, '72
1991 Dr. Paul J. Mentag, '47 2012 Dr. Michael Maihofer, '74
1992 Dr. Robert Moseley, '51 2013 Dr. Robert Legel, '54
1993 Dr. William R. Chase, '72

Allied Dental Alumnus of the Year Awardees

1988 Ms. Pauline Schmidt, '55 2001 Dr. Joah M. McGowan, '62
1989 Ms. Mary Ann Hashimi, '71& 2002 Ms. Jane M. York, '73
1990 Ms. Irene Woodall, '65 2003 Mr. Edward L. Cleland, '74
1991 Ms. Linda Popp, '72 2004 Ms. Barbara Posler, '70
1992 Ms. M. Elaine Parker, '64 2005 Ms. Karen McGuire Trompete, '74
1993 Ms. Janiece Popowich, '71 2006 Ms. Kathi R. Shepherd, '82
1994 Ms. Sherryl Harfst, '67 2007 Ms. Margie Coleman, '74
1995 Ms. Barbara Nelson, '59 2008 N/A
1996 Ms. Linda Borowski, '59 2009 N/A
1987 Ms. Annamae Manning, '52 2010 Ms. Judy Luxmore, '69
1997 Ms. Jacqueline Oliver '66 2011 Ms. Rene Louchart, '85
1998 Ms. Janet A. Newman-Graham, '73 2012 Ms. Brenda Marriott, '74
1999 Ms. Barbara Purifoy-Seldon, '70 2013 Ms. Colleen Kuxhaus, '73
2000 N/A

Honorary Alumni of the Year Recipients

Dr. Chester K. Perry 1985 N/A
Dr. Stephen Applegate 1986 Mr. Gerald J Zedan
Dr. Anthony Cadaretter 1987 Dr. Charles J. King
Dr. Joseph L. Champagne 1988 Dr. Anna Ettinger
Dr. Albert H. Dredge 1989 Ms. Shirley Ann Wilson
Dr. Kenneth Gibson 1990 Prof. Pamela Zarkowski
Dr. Chauncy Hall 1991 Dr. Robert Bruce MacIntosh
Mr. Benjamin Levinson 1992 Dr. Virginia Merchant
Dr. P.C. Lowery 1993 Ms. Patricia Harris
Dr. Walter McBride 1994 N/A
Dr. A. Alfred Nelson 1995 Dr. Lloyd W. Lariscy, Jr.
Dr. Rene Rochon 1996 Mr. Eric Jacobs
Dr. Alfred E. Seyler 1997 Dr. Maureen A Fay, O.P.
The Very Rev. C.J. Steiner, S.J. 1998 Ms. M. Agnes Shoup
The Rev. Charles Wideman, S.J. 1999 Dr. Bruce S. Graham
Dr. William Fred Longe 2000 N/A
Mr. Victor De Schryver 2001 Dr. Edward O. Blews, Jr.
1973 Dr. Martin Naimark 2002 Mr. David P. Hafst
1974 N/A 2003 Dr. Leon Herschfus
1975 N/A 2004 Dr. Mert Aksu
1976 N/A 2005 Dr. George Goodis
1977 N/A 2006 Dr. S. Pamela Herrera
1978 Dr. William Travis 2007 Ms. Gerry Cherney, CAE
1979 Mr. Edward Hoban 2008 Fr. R. Gerald Albright, S.J.
1980 Mr. Peter Morgano 2009 Dr. Larry Anderson
1981 Mr. Robert Miller 2010 Dr. James Winkler
1982 Dr. Theodore G. Mahaz 2011 Dr. Daman Thanik
1983 Mr. Frank Schumacher 2012 Dr. Gary Jeffers
1984 Dr. John Molinari 2013 Dr. Sherif Badr
N/A= Not awarded