The 2017 Christian Brothers’ Dinner Committee is pleased to announce the selection of Michael Brillati, ’93, as this year’s Dinner Honoree.
“He is a most deserving Honoree,” says President John M. Knight, “and it is our privilege to recognize his many contributions to his alma-mater.”
Michael served as the Chairman of the Dinner from 2007-2016, leading the event which welcomes more than 950 alumni and friends to celebrate and support the Christian Brothers’ mission at De La Salle Collegiate. During that time period, the Dinner’s revenue has steadily increased from approximately $135,000 to more than $230,000 in 2016.
“Michael has uniquely impacted De La Salle by dedicating his leadership and resources to the Christian Brothers’ Dinner,” said Chris Czarnik, Director of Advancement. “The benefit of the event goes far beyond the very ample funds raised that evening to support students. It reinforces the meaningful brand of De La Salle and strengthens relationships that lead to strong enrollment and future service and contributions.”
In becoming the 36th Honoree, Mike joins his father, Leonard, the 2001 Honoree, in earning the distinction. Leonard also served as Chairperson of the Dinner from 1993-2000. It is the second instance that both a father and son have been named Honoree, with John Addy, Jr. ‘34 (1983) and his son JIm Addy ‘63 (2003) being the first two-generation family.
“My connection to De La Salle is all about family,” says Mike. “My dad was a past Chairperson of the Dinner, and my brothers Paul and Steven have been very active and supportive of the school as well. I think we all recognized how our dad valued his children being educated at De La Salle, and know the difference it has made in our lives. I enjoy the idea that in some way we might help make that possible for other families.”
“Mike understands our Mission,” says President Emeritus Brother Bob Carnaghi, who taught Michael as a student. “He jokes about not being one of the top guys in his class, but he’s proven that hard work makes all the difference. He uses his success to bless others. I’m so proud of Mike and the whole Brillati family.”
After graduation, Mike attended the University of Detroit Mercy where he studied Business. At UDM, Mike met his wife Julie. They have three sons, Joseph, Peter, and Charlie — all future Pilots. Mentored by other De La Salle graduates including past Honorees Paul Zimmer and Dr. Ray Skowronski, Mike began a career in the insurance industry and opened his own firm, Salus Group, in 2005. He specializes in employee benefit plans and the company has grown to serve clients in multiple states
“De La Salle is responsible on so many levels for my success,” says Mike. “The people I’ve met through the school have become my closest friends. The Dinner reflects that environment. It’s fun because it’s really about men coming together to celebrate friendships and support a school that is nothing short of vital to Catholic education and our Detroit community.”
Dinner Chairperson Mike Wasik says he is happy to see Mike enjoy the award. “Mike is so deserving,” Wasik says. “Serving on the Committee with him in previous years, we have had a lot of fun, but Mike kept us focused on doing good things for DLS students in need.”
This year’s Dinner is May 4, at 5:30 p.m., at Penna’s of Sterling. In addition to De La Salle and St. Joe’s alumni and friends, graduates of schools such as Harper Woods Notre Dame, Bishop Gallagher, and Austin also join in to make it a celebration of Eastside Catholic education.
“St. John Baptist de la Salle’s mission was to educate the poor,” says Mike. “That has made an impact on my life that if we are successful in life, we need to give back to those less fortunate. Guys from those schools were brought up the same way, and we are really all part of one family.”
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