In Memoriam

Dean Carpenter with a patient

Just as we were going to press we learned that Dean Carpenter, lead preceptor at Detroit Street Care, died August 17, 2019. A message from his students posted on DSC's Facebook page said, "Our work will not be the same without him. Dean worked tirelessly to improve the health and lives of the people of Detroit...He was a beloved mentor, teacher, and leader for us and we cannot begin to express how much he will be missed."

Linda Chapel JacksonIt's the creative and entrepreneurial heart of Michigan. Just think music and cars, and that big D pops right into your head.

In the past, Detroit was a roaring, brawny titan, with a population of 1.86 million at its peak in 1950. Even now, at little more than a third of that size (about 673,000 residents as of 2017), it's still more than three times the population of the second largest city in the state, Grand Rapids.

By the 1960s Detroit had begun to face a host of economic challenges that ran head-on into the rise of the new global economy in the 1970s and 1980s, including the formation of OPEC, competition from German and Japanese automakers, and other constraints. By 2009, GM and Chrysler were bankrupt. In 2013, the city itself filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history.

The road back is proving to be long and painful, but it is happening. It's been helped by private investments, most notably by MSU alumnus and local booster Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans, but much of the city's resurgence is being driven by the formation of public-private-nonprofit partnerships. This model for economic development and revitalization has seen enormous success in Detroit, and MSU is a big part of that.

This issue of The Engaged Scholar Magazine contains stories about collaborative MSU/Detroit partnerships in such areas as urban agriculture, renewable energy, medicine, education, and leadership development. But don't think for a minute that we've forgotten about music or cars. We have stories about those too.

Taking the time to be inclusive, participatory, empowering, systemic—that's how MSU is working to create sustainable change.

  • Written by Linda Chapel Jackson, University Outreach and Engagement

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