By Elizabeth Comben

For the past 24 years, Madonna University has held a Student Scholarship Dinner and Auction to benefit student scholarship funds.  Various sponsors donate funds, prizes, and various other elements to ensure it runs smoothly.  This April, the sponsors came together to prepare with Madonna with an exciting new theme: All Aboard for Student Scholarships

About 160 prizes are expected to go up for auction this year.  “We have some very unique gifts available, including Polish pottery, a Detroit Pistons jersey signed by Jonas Jerebko, four tickets to the Belle Isle Grand Prix qualifying race, a wine tasting for 15 people, golf getaways, and much more,” said Ashley Fredrick, Director of Special Events

This year, a new feature has been added to the event, the Treasure Chest Raffle.  Fredrick said that faculty, staff, students and community members that can’t attend the dinner can buy tickets to support student scholarships. The prizes for the Treasure Chest Raffle include $1000 cash, a diamond tennis bracelet, and “A Night on the Town Package,” which includes dinner, a movie, limousine transportation for the evening, and a bottle of wine. Each ticket is only $10 and available in the Advancement Office or online at

Last year’s auction raised approximately $60,000 toward student scholarships. “We plan to exceed the revenue raised at this year’s event, which will help Madonna University to expand the scholarship opportunities available for our students,” added Fredrick.  

This year, the event will be held on April 12, at Laurel Manor Banquet and Conference Center in Livonia.  “To capture our cruise-theme, we will provide a strolling dinner of ethnic foods, culturally diverse auction items, and entertainment from around the world,” said Fredrick.  Also, Madonna is very excited to bring back a celebrity emcee for the event.  Ken Rogulski, radio personality at WJR, will serve as the “cruise director” throughout the evening.

Last year, one of the most featured events was The Diamond Pull and it is expected to be just as popular this year.  Guests purchase an attractive box containing a pair of earrings.  These earrings can be either cubic zirconia or diamonds.  “It is the chance they take as they pull this box from a choice of many. Last year, we had three lucky winners that each received a pair of $1,500 earrings,” said Andrea Nodge, Vice President of University Advancement.

Many steps will be taken to ensure all the events of the evening run smoothly.  “We added some new features this year – it will be a strolling dinner with cuisine from China, Italy, Poland and The Middle East,” said Nodge. 

Nodge says the evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a “pre-boarding” reception. Tickets to that reception cost $125. At 6:15, doors open to the $75 ticket holders and all can participate in the silent auction, entertainment and raffles.

One of the most important ingredients for the event to run smoothly is student participation and volunteers.  “These students will be there to help in any way, whether it would be to answer questions regarding the auction process or to lend an arm to help an individual navigate across various parts of the hall,” said Nodge.   Anyone interested in volunteering for this event or purchasing tickets please contact Joanne Connor at 734-432-5602. 


A cruise for scholarships