Honoring the accomplishments of outstanding alumni
Each year, the Wayne State University Alumni Association honors the accomplishments of outstanding alumni who exemplify the Wayne State spirit of achievement, excellence and service. This year's recipients have made meaningful contributions to society in groundbreaking ways. One alumna is a longtime educational advocate that teaches and empowers her students with impactful life skills to set them up for success. The other winner strives to help others live their lives to the fullest by embracing inclusive practices and providing opportunities to as many people as possible. View the individual videos below to see each winner's personal story.
Patrick Irwin '94
Mary Jenkins-Williams '97, '03,
2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
Patrick Irwin '94, College of Urban, Labor & Metropolitan Affairs
Patrick Iwrin '94 of the former College of Urban, Labor & Metropolitan Affairs is the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner. Patrick has an outstanding career as the Vice President of Human Resources at Henry Ford Health System.
Patrick is proudly born and raised in the Mexicantown community of Southwest Detroit. He has been an advocate for the community's youth and neighborhood engagement throughout his life. He practices inclusivity and creates opportunities to help others live their lives to the fullest.
Currently, Patrick serves as a board member for the Comprehensive Health and Social Services Clinic (CHASS) in Southwest Detroit a federally qualified healthcare clinic providing health service and social justice through healthcare access and equality. He also serves as an advisory board member for Bridging Communities a community-based social services agency.
2023 Homer D. Strong Award Recipient
Mary Jenkins-Williams '97, '03, College of Education
Mary Jenkins-Williams '97, '03 of the College of Education is the 2023 Homer D. Strong Alumni Award Winner. Mary is an enthusiastic advocate for higher education as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and a part of the planning committee for the Organization of Black Alumni.
Mary spent several years teaching in the classroom before becoming an instructional coach. Now as an assistant principal in the Wayne-Westland Community School district, she also works as a consultant. She most notably has played a role in increasing graduation rates and student academic achievement levels in some of the lowest-performing schools in the State of Michigan.
Mary's supportive and caring approach toward relationships helps students realize their greatest dreams.