The Detroit Orientation Institute (DOI) at Wayne State University will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a reunion event for its more than 3,000 alumni and friends. The event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
The DOI launched in 1991 to provide a historical perspective and candid look at Detroit and the surrounding region during a time when media coverage of the city was particularly narrow and inflammatory. The program provided opportunities to visit key institutions and organizations and interact directly with elected officials and community leaders.
The DOI was formed in response to recommendations in the 1987 Detroit Strategic Plan, a project of the Detroit Renaissance business organization and Mayor Coleman Young. The roster of alumni who have completed the institute's intensive three-day course is a virtual who’s who of the region’s media, nonprofit and business communities, including Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System; Paul Anger, former editor and publisher of the Detroit Free Press; Paul Hillegonds, former state legislator and current CEO of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and chair of the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority; and Charles Blow, former Detroit News reporter and current columnist for the New York Times.
"Being new to Michigan and working in Detroit, it was important I get to know the area as soon as possible. The Detroit Orientation Institute offered the best opportunity to do that. It gave me added appreciation for the rich and diverse culture, and confirmed this area as a great place to live and work,” Anger observed at the time.
Today, the institute continues to offer programming that engages business, community, media, nonprofit, political, civic and student leaders in immersive events that illuminate Detroit and foster connections.
“For 25 years, the DOI has provided a broad, rich and candid look at our city and region for corporate and nonprofit leaders and journalists, who have gone on to shape its direction,” said Elaine Driker, founding director of DOI. “We look forward to reconnecting with our many alumni and charting our course for the next 25 years and beyond.”
The Detroit Orientation Institute’s 25th Anniversary Celebration will take place Wednesday, November 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, located at 315 E. Warren Avenue in Detroit. Ticket prices are $25-250. Proceeds will underwrite scholarships and programming for the next 25 years. The evening will include a strolling dinner reception, live music and cash bar, with brief remarks from Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson, Elaine Driker, founding director of the DOI, and Robin Boyle, professor in Wayne State’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley, also a DOI alum, will emcee.
The Detroit Orientation Institute at Wayne State University engages business, community, media, nonprofit, political, civic and student leaders in immersive events that illuminate Detroit and foster connections. Participants visit the city’s neighborhoods and key institutions, interacting with change makers as they dig deep into the region’s history and current landscape. Groups are small and participatory, with long-time leaders and newcomers together exploring contemporary issues and opportunities. For more information, visit doi.wayne.edu.