Gregory Hurst is all about community.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn graduate student helps his fellow neighbors with odd jobs. He coaches youth sports. And he remains an active figure in his Detroit neighborhood through volunteer work.
“It is my personal drive that gives me the motivation to take on all of these tasks, usually all at once,” said Gregory, who plans to graduate this April with a master’s degree in public administration. “As an active resident of Detroit, I often donate my labor, time and funds to help beautify my surrounding neighborhood and community.”
That includes mowing grass, cleaning streets and curbs, as well as trimming trees. In the winter, Gregory plows the walkways of his elderly neighbors.
That sort of metropolitan impact earned Gregory a spot on this year’s list of “Difference Makers.”
Gregory’s success in the community nearly overshadows his work in the classroom, where he excels academically. One particular project in which Gregory demonstrated his leadership ability was through the M.P.A. program’s directed studies course.
Gregory was tasked with conducting research on a special project for the City of Novi’s Public Safety Department, administered through the university’s Institute for Local Government.
Gregory accepted the role of team lead, which required him to coordinate a team and assist the professor (Dale Thomson) overseeing the project.
Thomson, assistant professor of political science, certainly took note of Gregory’s ability to lead. Then again, Thomson recognized Gregory’s ability to stand out as an eager and exemplary student from his very first class in the M.P.A. program.
“Gregory came to class ready to learn and genuinely excited to contribute each class,” Thomson said. “It was apparent that Greg was going to be a dynamic student who would bring value to the M.P.A. program and the university.”
His presence extends beyond the classroom, though.
“Having gotten to know Gregory personally, I would like to share that he also brings value to his community,” Thomson said. “I am confident that metropolitan Detroit will truly benefit from Gregory's contributions and I eagerly wait to hear about the great difference that he makes within the public and philanthropic sectors.”