VIP Reception | 5 – 6 p.m.
Doors | 6 p.m.
Dinner | 6:30 p.m.
Tickets & Sponsorship
200 Diversion Street | Rochester Hills, MI 48307 | (248) 253-7900
Recent keynote speakers for the annual event have included such individuals as Col. Oliver North, Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger, Mitch Albom, Dr. Ben Carson, Scott Hamilton, Barbara Bush, Colin Powell, Elizabeth Dole, Art Linkletter, John Glenn, Robin Roberts, Dave Ramsey, Don Meyer and Judge Ken Starr.
The evening also includes the recognition of the Alumni(us) of the Year and the new RU Excellence Award, student performances, RU community member feature stories, and much more!
As one of the greatest players from the Detroit sandlots, Willie Horton became a hometown hero and the Tigers’ first black star playing parts of 15 seasons in the Motor City as a home-run-hitting left fielder/designated hitter from 1963-1977.
Nicknamed “Willie the Wonder,” he appeared in four All-Star games and helped capture the Tigers’ 1968 World championship when he finished second in the American League with 36 homers. Horton was fourth in batting with a .285 average and hit an impressive .304 in the Fall Classic.
His pivotal defensive play in the World Series was throwing out Lou Brock at home plate in game five, providing momentum for the team’s storied comeback.
During his time as Detroit’s only regular starting black player from 1965 to 1974, he posted double-digit home run totals in twelve regular seasons from 1965 to 1976 and ranks fifth all-time in Tiger career home runs with 262.
On April 12, 1977, Horton was traded to Texas for pitcher Steve Foucault. He finished his 18-year MLB career with Cleveland, Oakland, Toronto and Seattle. While playing for the Mariners in 1979, he hit his 300th career home run off of the Tigers’ Jack Morris, won his second American League Designated Hitter of the Year Award and was voted the A.L. Comeback Player of the Year. Horton, who hit two home runs in a game on 30 occasions, was ranked sixth among AL right-handed hitters in career homers with 325 when he retired after the 1980 season.
In 1978-79, he played for and managed Valencia in the 1978-79 Venezuelan Winter League, capturing the Caribbean Title and later held coaching positions with Oakland, the White Sox and Yankees. He also served as second deputy chief and executive director for the Detroit Police Athletic League.
Horton is the recipient of numerous honors, including the retirement of his jersey number (23) and a statue of his likeness installed at Comerica Park. Since 2001, he has been a special adviser to the Tiger front office.
Originally signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization where he was named the Pirates’ Minor League Player of the Year in 1963 after slugging 19 home runs and batting .311 for the Single A Kinston Eagles, catcher Jim Price was purchased by the Tigers four days before the start of the 1967 season.
In his first major league game behind the plate in April 1967, he went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in Kansas City and hit .261 in 44 games for the season.
For the next five years, Price played behind perennial All-Star catcher Bill Freehan who spent only one month on the disabled list and started just 54 games at other positions. Price was never sent back to the minors and spent just 21 days on the disabled list in those five seasons.
Price is especially remembered for hitting a dramatic pinch-hit solo homer in the bottom of the 10th inning off White Sox knuckleballer Wilbur Wood on August 21, 1968 at Tiger Stadium, a month before the Tigers won the pennant.
Price was behind the plate on September 19, 1968, when Denny McLain grooved a batting practice–caliber fastball to Mickey Mantle, allowing the Yankees’ legend to blast his 535th career homer to surpass Jimmie Foxx to become the (then) third-most prolific home run hitter in baseball history. In June 1969, Price hit another pinch-hit game-ending round-tripper with his two-run shot off of the Yankees’ Steve Hamilton at Tiger Stadium.
After retiring from the game in 1971, Price began his long sports broadcasting career. For a time, he anchored weekend sports on WJBK-TV and provided color commentary for ESPN college baseball. He began broadcasting for the Tigers in 1993 and later worked on Tiger telecasts before turning to radio where he is in his 25th season. Price first teamed with the legendary Ernie Harwell and has now served as the color analyst with play-by-play announcer Dan Dickerson since 2000.
In 2002, Price and his wife Lisa founded the non-profit Jack’s Place for Autism to benefit children with the neurological and development disorder.
Nicknamed “The Big Wheel,” Lance Parrish was one of the best all-around catchers in the major leagues during the 1980s and served as the clean-up hitter for the 1984 World Champion Tigers. That season, he caught Jack Morris’s no-hitter in Chicago and slugged 33 homers with 98 RBIs.
In the decisive fifth game of the 1984 World Series, Parrish scored two runs, stole a base and hit a seventh-inning home run off Goose Gossage. In all five games of the series, he compiled a .364 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage, along with scoring three runs.
During his 19-year career, Parrish was an eight-time All-Star, six-time winner of the Silver Slugger award and three-time winner of the Gold Glove award.
The California native signed with the Tigers after being drafted as a third baseman in the first round of the 1974 draft. After making his major league debut with Detroit in 1977 at age 21, he became the full-time catcher from 1979 through 1986. In 1982, he established the American League record for home runs in a season by a catcher with 32, the same year he set an All-Star game record by throwing out three baserunners. At his peak from 1982 to 1985, he averaged 30 homers and just under 100 RBIs per season and led the American League catchers twice in baserunners caught stealing, once in assists, and once in caught stealing percentage. Parrish ranks sixth all time in MLB history for career home runs by a catcher. In his ten seasons with the Tigers, he slugged 212 homers and produced 700 RBIs.
Unable to reach a new contract with the Tigers following the 1986 season, he signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies where he played for two seasons. He finished his career with the Angels, Mariners, Indians, Pirates and Blue Jays before retiring in 1995. He later coached in the minors for the Royals, Dodgers and Tigers, and served two stints as a coach with the Tigers (1999-2001; 2003-2005). Parrish is now in his fourth year as a special assistant to the Detroit Tigers front office.
Growing up in Grand Rapids as a fan of the 1968 World Champion Tigers, Dave Rozema was drafted by Detroit in the 1975 supplemental draft. He started his career that season with the Class A Clinton Pilots where he compiled an impressive 14-5 record and a 2.09 ERA pitching for manager Jim Leyland.
After starring the next season for the Class AA Montgomery Rebels, Rozema skipped Triple A ball. He made the Tiger roster in 1977, joining a distinguished group of rookies that included Jack Morris, Alan Trammel, Lou Whitaker, Lance Parrish and Steve Kemp.
The 20-year-old earned his first Major League victory at Fenway Park on April 21, 1977 when he threw a four-hit complete game shut in a 8-0 victory over a powerful Red Sox lineup that included Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice and Dwight Evans. After finishing the season with a 15-7 record and a 3.09 ERA with 16 complete games, Rozema was named the American League Rookie Pitcher of the Year and the Tigers’ Rookie of the Year.
For most of his career with the Tigers, manager Sparky Anderson utilized Rozema as a spot start and reliever.
In 1982, Rozema started the season with a 3-0 record and a low ERA. Unfortunately, in May he tore ligaments in his knee and was lost for the season after attempting to karate kick the Twins’ John Castino in a bench clearing brawl.
Rozema bounced back in 1983 with a 8-3 record and a 3.43 ERA and went on to help the Tigers capture the 1984 pennant when he started 16 games, posting a 7-6 record and a 3.74 ERA in 101 innings pitched.
Two months after winning the 1984 World Championship, Rozema signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers where he would finish his career in 1986.
In the October 2006 edition of Sports Illustrated, Rozema was selected as one of the “10 Greatest Characters in Detroit Tigers History.”
Since his player career ended, Rozema has held various positions in sales and he continues to be a staple at the Detroit Tigers Fantasy camps.
Eli Zaret is an award-winning radio and television sports reporter and author who has been a fixture in the Motor City for nearly fifty years.
The University of Michigan graduate was Detroit’s first sportscaster on FM radio, beginning his career in 1974 at radio station WABX before moving on to WJZZ and WRIF.
In 1980 at age 30, he was hired by WDIV Channel 4 as a weekend sports anchor and reporter. With the station holding the telecast rights for the Detroit Tigers, Zaret began hosting a half-hour pregame show until 1986 when he was hired by WABC-TV in New York as the station’s lead sports anchor.
In 1988, Zaret returned to Detroit, becoming sports director and lead sports anchor at WJBK-TV. From 1990 to 1994, he was paired with former Tiger pitching ace Denny McLain for the “Eli and Denny Show.” Zaret then created “The Sports Zone” for WJBK, a Sunday night wrap-up show.
After a one-year stint at all sports WDFN-AM, Zaret created “The Lockeroom” in 1997 with former Tiger star Kirk Gibson and college football analyst and former Lion quarterback Gary Danielson. After a seven-year run, Zaret pivoted to the role of sideline reporter and video creator for the Detroit Pistons for six years. From 2018 to 2021, he also created and co-hosted a podcast called “No Filter Sports” with sports reporter Bob Page and McLain.
Zaret has won five Michigan Emmy Awards for his television work and received numerous radio honors for commentary and reporting. He has also written three books—”84, Last of the Great Tigers,” “Blue Collar Blueprint, On How the Pistons Constructed Their Championship Formula,” and McLain’s biography, “I Told You I Wasn’t Perfect,” which reached no. 3 on the ESPN bestseller list.
Partnership Dinner is an annual event that generates funding for student scholarships at Rochester University. A VIP reception for sponsors and the featured speaker is held in conjunction with the dinner.
Keynote speakers for the event have included such individuals as HGTV’s Ben and Erin Napier, Colonel Oliver North, Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger, Mitch Albom, Dr. Ben Carson, Scott Hamilton, Barbara Bush, Colin Powell, Elizabeth Dole, Art Linkletter, John Glenn, Robin Roberts, Dave Ramsey, Don Meyer and Judge Ken Starr.
The evening also includes the recognition of the Alumnus of the Year and RU Excellence Award, student performances, RU community member feature stories and more.
The 52nd Annual Partnership Dinner is presented by Chief Financial Credit Union.