Walsh College is using the college’s 100th anniversary as an opportunity to both celebrate the past and look toward the future.

Walsh College is using the college’s 100th anniversary as an opportunity to both celebrate the past and look toward the future.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Walsh College commemorates 100 years in business

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published April 28, 2023


TROY — This year, Walsh College in Troy is celebrating its 100th anniversary of providing education in the fields of business, finance and technology.

Walsh CEO and President Suzy Siegle said that the institution has much to be proud of, from a century of educating students to having one of its students, Grace Wimmer, become the first woman to receive a CPA designation in Michigan in 1930.

“Mervin B. Walsh was an accountant who worked for the Thomas Edison Light Co., and he founded Walsh Institution of Accountancy in 1922. It was on the sixth floor of the Capitol Theater,” said Siegle. “In 1970, we relocated to Troy. Troy is such an incredibly rich, diverse and engaging community. You have industries, businesses and technology companies and organizations. We received a 100-year proclamation from the city a week ago. Ninety percent of our graduates stay in the Detroit area, so we are the business, technology and accounting pipeline for the metro Detroit area.”

For its undergraduate program, it is an upper division institution, meaning students often attend to finish their bachelor’s degrees after completing their associate degrees at community colleges. However, it offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in marketing, management, human resource management, finance, accounting, data analytics, information technology and cybersecurity, as well as a master’s in business administration in science, technology, education and math, and an MBA focusing on organizational resilience. They also have a dual degree program so students can get a dual masters in an accelerated amount of time, and they offer a doctorate of business administration.

Walsh is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its business school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and its technology and cyber programs are National Security Agency-recognized and validated.

Walsh Chief Operating Officer Tom Petz said that the college will be commemorating the anniversary with a gala on Saturday, May 15, at the Detroit Athletic Club. He added that now is a good time to look toward the future, as well as back on the past.

“We will have the Walsh College gala on May 13. That will be one of the ways we celebrate,” said Petz. “We will be doing a homecoming event later this year, as well. In our marketing and branding, we will be talking about the fact that we have been around for 100 years, as well as why people should care about that. We want to use this as a chance to see how we can be around for the next 100 years. … We are standing on our history but not resting on our laurels.”

Siegle said there are three primary reasons she believes Walsh has stood the test of time.

“First, we are a resilient organization. We were able to adapt, pivot and grow over the last century. There is a resilience to our students, faculty and our board. Second, and closely related to this resilience, is our mission. We provide a transformative business and technology education that combines theory, application and professional experience to prepare graduates for successful careers. And it’s so relevant in every time period, through every economic climate and especially today. Our students and alumni have such heart to work hard and make a positive impact in the business world as they improve their own careers and lives. And finally, it’s our connection to the greater community. … There is such tremendous support for Walsh in Troy, the metro-Detroit area and beyond. This support helps to advance and amplify our mission and our reach.”

“Our faculty have historically been embedded in the business community, and they take what they have and bring it into the classroom,” added Petz. “When students sit in their classrooms, they are getting real-world experience from people who are part of metro Detroit and its business culture. We do that at a scale that other institutions don’t. We reach people in a different way, using real-world examples that are contextual to the area where we are at.”

Both also stressed Walsh’s focus on including emerging technology and trends into its curriculum.

“We are continually looking at different opportunities in the business environment,” said Petz. “We have quality degrees, but we need to always be asking what is coming up for tomorrow. We need to make sure our graduates are prepared for emerging factors like artificial intelligence and machine learning. How will those things change business? We need to put that into our classrooms.”

“We are the best business and technology college in the world, and since technology has become even more important in the world today, especially after the pandemic and with the steps we are taking with artificial intelligence and machine learning, we believe that the future of business and technology needs to be in the hands of educated and ethical professionals, our students and alumni,” added Siegle.

Petz said he hopes the 100th anniversary will cause metro Detroit residents to reflect on the impact its alumni have had on the community.

“I am in awe of our alumni and all the things they have accomplished,” he said. “From a marketing standpoint, we will be implementing an increase in how we collect and share alumni stories this year that celebrate their success and help inspire those who were in situations they used to be in and relate them. Any Walsh student can be the next one of our graduates who becomes a CEO or starts a company or who becomes the next great business leader in this area.”

Siegle wants the public to walk away with an impression of Walsh as a place that helps thousands of people do great things and make strides toward the positive developments of tomorrow.

“We have a strong and rich history educating the business professionals of tomorrow,” she said. “Our faculty are practitioner professors, so they are not only academically qualified in their fields, but they also have worked in the industries they are teaching in. Students gain real-world knowledge that they can apply right away in their careers. And, our degrees empower our alumni to advance their careers.”