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For Immediate Release
Friday, Dec. 21, 2012

Longtime donors bestow OU with distinctive campus landmark

     Rochester, Mich. – Through the tremendous generosity of longtime benefactors Hugh and Nancy Elliott, Oakland University will join the ranks of prestigious universities across the globe that have honored a centuries-old tradition of constructing a carillon tower on campus.

     The Elliotts are contributing more than $6.5 million to the university – a gift that will fully fund the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a 151-foot tower in the heart of main campus.

     Accompanied by a water fountain, a garden and complementary landscaping, The Elliott Carillon Tower will significantly enhance an already picturesque campus that boasts artistic, architectural and landscape features including Marshall Fredericks' "Saints and Sinners" fountain, the Bear Lake bridge and, of course, historic Meadow Brook Hall.

     "Oakland University has made great strides in recent years to become a distinctive, respected and nationally recognized institution of higher learning," said President Gary Russi.

     "The Elliotts' remarkable gift will certainly come to symbolize the pride our community has taken in what we've accomplished, as well as the promise of even greater success in the future."

     Hugh and Nancy Elliott will provide input, advice and guidance relative to the tower's design and planning, and have requested that Oakland students be involved in and benefit from operation of the tower upon its completion.

     "I wanted this bell tower to make a statement, to be a central focus on the campus. And, it had to be designed not just as something pretty, but so that students could use it as a meeting place and somewhere they could gather," Nancy said.

     "Oakland is a university where students don't just take classes and leave; they live here and stay here and are a part of the campus community."

     Both the Elliotts and university leadership believe the tower will, indeed, become a focal point for new student and campus community traditions – a prospect that promises to enhance student life experiences that broaden and complement academic pursuits.

Hugh and Nancy Elliott share thoughts about their generous gift to the Oakland University community.
     For 15 years, the Elliotts have directed charitable contributions toward a wide array of programs, projects and goals on Oakland's campus. These include:
  • a $2 million gift toward the advancement of the School of Business Administration, now housed in the R. Hugh and Nancy Elliott Hall of Business and Information Technology;
  • the establishment of endowed scholarship and academic lecture funds, including the Nancy and Hugh Elliott Endowed Scholarship, Dr. Nasir Haque Endowment for Biological Science Scholarships, R. Michael O'Brien Endowed Scholarship Fund, Lori Macauley Athletic Scholarship Endowed Fund, and the Joy James Williams Creative Lecture and Workshop Endowed Fund;
  • contributions toward the construction of the Hugh and Nancy Elliott Room in the O'rena;
  • creation and sponsorship of the President's Invitational golf outing, which has raised more than $1 million for academic and athletic programs, and;
  • formation of the first athletics volunteer committee dedicated to fundraising.
  • Hugh also helped raise funds for School of Business Administration projects by being a part of the Elliott/Stinson Challenge – a contribution-matching offer with a cumulative cap of $500,000 during the SBA's 40th anniversary in 2011.
     "When you give, it's the best thing you can do for yourself," Hugh said. "I learned many years ago – and it's true – that even if you give just a little bit, over time it adds up."

     University officials gratefully note that what the Elliotts have given has added up to be tremendously beneficial for the campus community as a whole.

     "To quantify the impact of the Elliotts' generosity to Oakland University over the years is likely impossible, as it has, without a doubt, helped countless students looking to improve their personal and professional lives through higher education," said Eric Barritt, the university's vice president for Development, Alumni and Community Engagement.

Hugh and Nancy Elliott
     "Likewise, it is difficult to quantify our gratitude for the Elliott's commitment and devotion to Oakland. Without question, it is immense."

     Design and construction timeline details for the carillon are expected to be developed over the coming months, and a groundbreaking ceremony is tentatively planned for the university's Founders' Day celebration in mid-April of 2013.

     "The new clock tower, with all the benefits it will bring to our campus, is a source of pride and excitement for all who are a part of Oakland University," said OU student Jessica Drogowski, who serves as student liaison to the Oakland Board of Trustees.

     "Knowing that Oakland is part of a community that includes people like the Elliotts, who so generously support and dream with us, is the ultimate source of pride for me. My sincerest gratitude goes out to the Elliotts."