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Reflections from President Blau: Alum to Alum

December 5, 2017

As The Diane Blau Matching Gift Campaign draws to a close on December 31, 2017, President Blau reflects on the way every alum of our institution – whether you attended the Merrill Palmer Institute, the Center for Humanistic Studies, or MSP – is united in a shared legacy of learning in humanistic psychology.  And, a shared responsibility for supporting the creation of our future.

President Diane Blau

What drew you here?  How did you first come to know of our existence? 

It probably came into your awareness unexpectedly that a school existed where you could study clinical psychology with a humanistic emphasis in a climate where the learner was central.

Maybe in your curiosity you called or visited and were impressed with what was offered and the way in which you were treated.  In any case, you applied and were accepted.

Then your journey began. 

Merrill Palmer Institute

If you were at the Merrill Palmer Institute (MPI) in Detroit in the early days of the “Enhancing Human Potentials” (EHP) program with Clark Moustakas and Cereta Perry, you will recall that you created the curriculum that you wished to study and very quickly became an expert in “self-direction.”  There was no assurance of licensing, certainly no degree, rather a certificate of having completed the 2 year EHP program.

What was certain, however, was that you received an education that was unique and life changing and permeated not just your professional but your personal life as well.

If you are an alum from these days, memories will come alive when you picture yourself at MPI, in the elegant classrooms, well-equipped playrooms, at mid-afternoon tea or the Memorial Day Weekend Retreat.

Center for Humanistic Studies

Out of these beginnings, the Center for Humanistic Studies (CHS) was born, officially offering two degree programs:  a one-year MA and a 2 year PsyS (previously the EHP program). Initially part of MPI, all were excited when the programs established their independence in 1980. You may have been one of the students that actually moved furniture and books across the street into that large old house at 40 East Ferry Street.

Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) came almost immediately; the number of students increased and State licensing became possible.

You witnessed ensuing years bringing new programs, added courses and expert faculty, more staff, increased resources, and new technology.  You knew your learning was person centered. You celebrated the addition of a doctoral degree (PsyD) program in 2000, and soon realized a larger facility was needed.

 The Michigan School of Professional Psychology

The move across the street from MPI to CHS framed a dynamic beginning. Relocating to Farmington Hills brought fresh perspectives. Regarding what had been created was exhilarating. The embodiment of a promising future was solidified by renaming the school The Michigan School of Professional Psychology.  Everyone celebrated APA accreditation and suddenly, it seemed, the school had attained new heights.

Regardless of when you were a student, consider what was it like when you attended?  What stands out for you?  How was your life impacted?  If you had to select just one moment, one learning, one interaction that is alive in you today, what might it be?

I write this to facilitate your recall of your experience at MPI, CHS, or MSP.  I want to fan the flame that hopefully is still flickering and blow warm memories upon it to cause it to grow.  I want to ignite your spirit at this momentous time in our institution’s development. 

Having been present in the early years at MPI and CHS and witnessed the mutations of plans and programs, of administration and faculty, of the creation, realization and accreditation of a doctoral program and the fruition of our current campus, today I am filled with awe and excitement for our campus expansion that will include The Michigan School Clinic.

So might you be if you consider the astonishing evolution where we now stand, at the brink of a new horizon from what was once a few determined like-minded individuals joining hands and hearts in the creation of a unique sanctuary for learning and growth.

Each of us is part of the MSP legacy.  We are the like-minded individuals of today needed to enhance the vision of yesterday by becoming an active participant in the life of MSP.  We each possess threads of its teachings, and when we join our hands and hearts, we create a distinctive and exquisite tapestry, rich in color and texture.

I invite you to join me in supporting all that MSP stands for, all that it has given to each of us, all that it means in this challenging world, all that it can do in educating learners who make a difference just as we each strive to do as we navigate life’s pathways.

When we support MSP with our spirit, our dollars, our involvement, we show our gratitude for having been touched by its mission, our commitment to its future, and above all, our value of its gift for teaching persons how to touch one another and infuse the world with light.