January 31, 2017

Engineering students at University of Detroit Mercy will benefit from one of the largest gifts ever given to the University by an alumnus.

Bernard A. Schlaff, who died in 2015 at the age of 95, left $3 million to the University in his will to establish an endowed scholarship for students studying Engineering in the University’s nationally recognized College of Engineering & Science.

Schlaff, who graduated from the University of Detroit in 1944 with a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering degree, had a long career, with positions at NASA’s Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, Lockheed Missiles & Space Company and Boeing Aircraft Co.

“Bernard was always impeccably dressed, a gentleman’s gentleman, extremely well-mannered,” his Trustee Pat Bye said. “He was an artist who loved to draw portraits, cars, landscapes and was involved in car design competitions. He was highly respected in the aeronautical world and sought after for his unending forward thinking.”

Three boxes of effects forwarded to the University late last year included his report cards, letters, graduation programs, University of Detroit yearbooks and other mementos of his educational experience.

“This generous gift from Mr. Schlaff reflects the deep appreciation he held for this University,” said Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi, president of University of Detroit Mercy. “This endowed scholarship will provide an engineering education for current and future Detroit Mercy students forever, while also perpetuating the memory of Bernard Schlaff.”