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For 40 years, UM-Dearborn has honored outstanding alumni for their contributions to the University and community.

These alumni are "difference makers" who have continued the University's legacy of leadership in their lives and careers.  On October 3, the University once again recognized several distinguished alumni at its annual awards celebration.  The following CASL alumni were honored as 2019 UM-Dearborn "Difference Makers" at the event:

College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters Alumnus of the Year: Heather Buchanan, '04 M.A.L.S.

Heather Buchanan (’04 M.A.L.S.) is the founder of the Aquarius Press, whose mission is to publish writers typically underrepresented in the marketplace. AUXMedia, the film production division of Aquarius Press, recently produced the film Solomon, which was supported by the Sundance Institute.

She brings art programming to underserved communities through her consulting work at Detroit's Carr Center. Her commitment to service through the arts is exemplified by her prior work as COO for Wayne County Council for Arts, History, and Humanities and her role as a previous poet-in-residence for the Detroit Public Library.

Buchanan is a 2019 nominee for the Michigan Humanities Council Champion of the Year.

Young Alumnus of the Year Award: Jordan Brett, '11 M.P.A.

Jordan Brett (’11 M.P.A.) is a recognized educator and college access consultant in Metro Detroit. He serves as executive director of Postsecondary Alliance and leads the mentoring initiatives at Detroit Public Schools Community District.

He has recently focused his efforts on increasing college accessibility for the young African American male population, including launching the Detroit chapter of 5000 Role Models of Excellence and contributes to student success through his work at the UM-Dearborn Office of TRIO programs. Brett is a 2011 Student Difference Maker and recipient of the King-Chavez-Parks Fellowship.

He is completing his dissertation for his doctor of education at UM-Dearborn.

Previous CASL Alumni Award Recipients

Since 1994, CASL alumni award recipients have been honored at an annual event, where their contributions and achievements were recognized and celebrated.

CASL Distinguished Alumnus/a of the Year
  • 1994:  Mary Ellen Finch, '83 and William Rapai, '82
  • 1995:  Anthony Allegrina, '82
  • 1996:  Randall Ferguson, '91
  • 2003:  Arthur Kochoff, '92, '96
  • 2008:  James Barton, '71
  • 2009:  Kenneth Ross, '90
  • 2010:  Anthony Viscogliosi, '84
  • 2011:  James Miller, '78
  • 2012:  Lisa Ilitch Murray, '83
  • 2013:  Eric Ham, '95
  • 2014:  Marie Lozon, '81
  • 2015:  Honor Potvin, '05
  • 2016:  David Spaight, '83
  • 2017:  Jeffery Golota, '85
  • 2018:  David Norwood, '89
  • 2019:  Heather Buchanan, '04
CASL Distinguished Alumnus/a Service Award
  • 1997:  Judith Buck, '93
  • 1998:  Douglas Keller, '77
  • 1999:  Dean Tuomari, '76
  • 2000:  Dr. Mary Pietrangelo, '90
  • 2001:  William Liebold II, '73
  • 2002:  Sandra Winkler, '90, '93
  • 2003:  Dr. Donald Cohen, '77
  • 2004:  Beverly Coleman, '02
  • 2005:  Karen Pikula, ’96, ’00
  • 2006:  Dr. Eva Huseby-Darvas, '78
  • 2007:  Dr. Maya Hammoud, '92
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