|Avni Dalal Thomas, development project manager, Education & Human Services
If you could volunteer full-time, what would you do? If I could volunteer full time, I would split my time between a hospital and the pet shelter. I would love to help nurse people back to health, and maybe find more homes for pets in the process!
Do you have any hidden talents? My hidden talent is dancing. I have learned steps in the Indian dancing styles of Kathak, Garba and Bharatanatyam
What AUFD fund are you most passionate about? The Graduate Tuition Award in the School of Education and Human Services (#31507) is for all graduate students in the School, regardless of their major. As graduate students often have difficulty securing scholarships, this scholarship consistently receives more applications than current funding can support. Your gift to this fund with the comment “Graduate Tuition Award” would help future counselors, educational leaders, and human resource leaders reach their career and educational aspirations.
What fund are you directing your AUFD gift towards this year? I am also contributing to the SEHS Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Award in Counseling (#31645) this year. I believe the experience a student has while researching with a faculty member is a lasting and impactful one, breathing life into lessons learned in the classroom. This fund supports research and presentation costs, encouraging students to attend conferences and jointly present research findings with faculty.
Why do you choose to give to the AUFD? I am inspired to support different funds each year during the AUFD for two reasons. There are amazing projects and ideas developed on campus every day. I get to be part of some of these innovations by helping them grow, not only with my gift but with the match as well.
|Teri Abbo, budget & IT procurement manager, University Technology Services
If you could volunteer full-time, what would you do? I would really enjoy raising money to remodel homes for veterans that meet their disability related requirements to support their continued therapy and rehabilitation.
What fund are you most passionate about? The University Technology Gift Fund (#32549) because I believe that technology is one of our strategic partners in education. This fund was established to support opportunities that initiate further growth and development for advancements in technology. These gifts allow UTS to research and test new and more efficient tools and services that will allow Oakland University to continue to meet the expectations of our students, faculty and staff.
If you could be a living professional athlete or artist for a week who would you be and why? If I could live as an artist for a week I would really appreciate the chance to live through Georgia O'Keeffe. I have always admired her work and think it would be an amazing opportunity to slow down and focus on bringing to life those images that play a support role yet are so critical in the success of the overall design. I think it would provide me with a new found appreciation for scope and focus.
Do you give to other charities beyond OU? Which ones and why? I do not give to specific charities beyond OU, but I do provide gifts for very specific situations. Many times when there is a donation request within my child’s school I will send in double that amount and ask the teacher to anonymously select a family who may be experiencing financial difficulty and let them know that a donation was made on their behalf. When there is a school fundraiser I will purchase one additional item from the sale and ask the teacher to gift it to a student who doesn’t get to participate or doesn’t get to purchase any items.
Why do you choose to participate in the All-University Fund Drive? Oakland University as an employer inspires me to give to the AUFD. I appreciate the opportunities that Oakland, my direct supervisor and my co-workers have given me these past 4 years. I feel supported and encouraged to continue to learn and grow professionally. I am proud to work at Oakland University for University Technology Services.
|Amanda Fylan, assistant director, Alumni and Community Engagement
Have you ever set two friends on a date? What happened? I set my sister up with a former co-worker (an OU alum). They were both very hesitant to go on the date but they reminded me of each other and I knew it would work. They have been happily married for 12 years and have two little boys.
Do you have a workout routine? I love to swim and do so three to four times a week. I have an underwater iPod which keeps me motivated, on certain songs it becomes a hybrid of swimming and dancing. I am tracking my mileage with a goal of swimming the distance from my house in Oxford to Mackinac Island. currently I am floating in the Saginaw Bay.
Do you have any hidden talents? My hidden talent is working while I sleep. I am able to create a new idea, program or presentation from the concept stage to roll out all while sleeping. I would love to have nap time built into my work day because I am very productive when I sleep.
What fund are you directing your AUFD gift towards this year? I am supporting the OUAA Alumni Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund (#67688). I received scholarships when I attended college and am so grateful to the donors. Having scholarships allowed me to focus on my school work and get involved in campus life rather than having to work multiple jobs. I want to do the same for OU students.
The Alumni Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to qualified OU students through generous donations and revenue earned from OUAA events and programs. It is rewarding to meet the student recipients and know that I contributed a small part to their college success.
Do you give to other charities beyond OU? Which ones and why? I give to Top Dog Animal Rescue, my husband and I adopted our two cats, Siena and Shakespeare, from Top Dog. They took such great care of our cats before we found them and I am thankful for their services. I would be lost without my two furry friends.
|Josephine Hairston, executive administrative manager, President's Office
Were you named after anyone? I was named after my father’s brother, Joseph. We have a ton of Joseph’s in the family, including one of my grandsons. For many years, I didn’t like my name because I didn’t know of hardly anyone who shared the name and I thought it was too long. I preferred being called “Jo.” I have grown to love my name not only because of its pronunciation, but also because of what it means “God will add/increase”.
If you were on a deserted island and could only take one thing, what would it be and why? I would take my entire family because they are the most important to me. I come from a very large, close-knit family. My mother had eight brothers and sisters and my father had 16. We celebrate holidays together, go on vacations together and just hang out together. Our celebrations and gatherings are filled with so much love and laughter that they have grown to include many others outside of our family. And it doesn’t have to be a holiday. We enjoy each other’s company and have always gotten together just because. We recently celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday and had over 130 family members and friends in attendance.
Why do you choose to participate in the All-University Fund Drive? I choose to participate because I believe in helping others who want to continue their education, but have endured hardships at some point in their life. So many of our students are unable to accomplish their dream of completing their education because of some tragedy or life changing event that has happened to them or a member of their family. When you listen to some of the heart wrenching stories, you are inspired to help in any way you can.
What fund are you directing your AUFD gift towards this year? The Women of OU Critical Difference Scholarship Fund. (#35008)
This fund helps individuals who are single heads of households and whose education has been interrupted at some point. Being a single head of household comes with its own set of challenges, and trying to finish your education without having the financial support needed makes it even more difficult and stressful. This scholarship helps to meet those needs and alleviates some of the stress these students encounter on the road to completing their degree.
|Brittani Hobbs, communication coordinator, First Year Advising Center
On any normal day, what would you describe your vehicle's condition to be? I love my car! It is in really great condition and ideal for the summer because the entire roof opens and you can really enjoy life and the weather!
If you could be a living professional athlete or artist for a week who would you be and why? If I could be a living artist I would be Beyoncé. She always makes a connection with her fans and she has true talent. Not to mention, I love her fashion and style!
What or who inspires you to give to AUFD? That’s simple – the students and alumni. Donating to the All-University Fund Drive allows you to support the dreams of more than 20,000 students and 90,000 alumni.
Why do you choose to participate in the All-University Fund Drive? I choose to participate because I’m an alumnus and I love to give back to OU – a place that I called home for four years of my life. Oakland University really cares about their students and their success so if there is any way that I can support that, I am more than happy to. Young Alumni need to know that the institution they call their alma mater is behind them every step of the way – even after graduation.
|Gadis J. Dillon (Buck), professor of accounting
Do you have a workout routine? I try (and usually succeed) to get to the Rec Center early each morning (later on weekends). I use the elliptical trainer to keep my arthritic knees moving, and do a few more things before showering and coming to my office.
Were you named after anyone? Yes. I have a very unusual first name (Gadis). It was my grandfather’s name. I was fortunate to spend time with him when I was young. He was a good man who worked hard and cared for his family. I am proud to carry his name.
What fund are you directing your AUFD gift towards this year? I plan to create a new scholarship for students in my discipline. My intent is to honor student leadership.
Why do you choose to participate in the All-University Fund Drive? I have been at Oakland University for 27 years. I feel very loyal to OU, the SBA, and to my department. Oakland has given so much to me, I want to give back.
|Shaun Moore, manager of support services, e Learning and Instructional Support (e-Lis)
Do you have any hidden talents? While studying abroad in 2003, with one of Oakland University’s life changing study-abroad programs I learned to speak French pretty fluently. I received enriching cultural and social experiences while living, studying and working side-by-side with the students, professors and local citizens. My studies took place at l’Université d'Orléans, in Orleans, France (located approximately one hour south of Paris by train). Learning to speak another language really opens doors to wonderful experiences in other countries and allows you to form bonds with people from cultures quite different from your own.
Please consider giving to the International Education Study Abroad Scholarship Fund ~ (Fund #31002) or one of the other International Studies Program scholarship funds to help out with life changing programs like this.
Have you ever won a trophy? In 2010, our geek rock band won first place in the Algonac Musicpalooza contest. Two of my colleagues from the e-Learning department and I are the members of the band. I play bass, and I’m joined by John Coughlin, lead singer and guitar, and Nic Bongers, guitar.
Are there any fellow music lovers out there? If so, consider helping future generations of geeks pursue their lifelong love of music or their passion for the performing arts. You can make a difference by donating to the MTD Music Gift Fund ~ (Fund # 30051) or one of the other Music Theatre and Dance gift funds:
MTD Dance Gift Fund ~ (Fund #30053)
MTD General Gift Fund ~ (Fund #30050)
MTD Theatre Gift Fund ~ (Fund #30052)
MTD Scholarship Gift Fund ~ (Fund #39862)
What or who inspires you to give to AUFD? I have been inspired to give to the All-University Fund Drive by my wife. She inspired me to be more giving, and she is one of the main reasons I started giving to the AUFD. She is a very compassionate and selfless person and she has opened my eyes to the benefits of giving.
Why do you choose to participate in the All-University Fund Drive? I choose to participate in the All-University Fund Drive because I want to give back to the university. I truly enjoy working here and studying here. I have obtained all of my degrees from OU, and I’m taking classes for my Ph.D. currently. This university is a second home to me, and giving back to it is the least I can do for what I’ve gained from it over the years.
Name one fund that you are most passionate about (or you would like others to know more about): Besides the funds mentioned above I am passionate about another gift fund: E-Learning Gift Fund ~(Fund #32498).
This fund not only supports a very hard working and understaffed e-Learning department, it helps all faculty, staff, and students giving and taking online courses. This fund allows us to purchase new hardware and software to support the online learning environment, and participate in professional development training to make us the best asset we can be for online and hybrid courses at OU!
|Adriene Lim, dean, Kresge Library
Do you have any hidden talents? Many people don’t know this about me, but I have an educational background and training in studio arts. My claim to artistic fame, which was admittedly short-lived, is that I won a commission back in the mid 1990s to create a large painting for the Ilitches. The piece was displayed in the executive suites at Joe Louis Arena. A figure somewhat representative of Steve Yzerman was depicted as a “god” of sorts in the imagery. Detroiters do love the Red Wings!
Have you ever won a trophy? I was a dismal failure in all sports, so I have not ever won a sports trophy, but I did win a gold key in creative playwriting as a high school student, which may not be that impressive, except for the fact that I wrote the winning entry on brown paper bags in one sitting (it was the only paper I could find at home), and then typed it hurriedly in my typing class at Cass Tech High School to submit it by the deadline the next day. In its own "Les Miserablizing" fashion, it was called “The Unchaining,” and was about a fictional relationship between the French physician Philippe Pinel and a mentally ill patient.
Do you give to other charities beyond OU? I give to many other foundations and charities as I can. Most of them have to do with providing women and children with the chance to improve their lives and overcome social and economic adversities.
Why do you choose to participate in the All-University Fund Drive? I believe that I am privileged to work in public higher education, and want to give back to the institution that is helping me live my dreams as an educator.
Name one fund that you are most passionate about (or you would like others to know more about): This is a bit of a biased answer, but I like to support the Kresge Library(Fund #32498) because a gift to the Library serves all OU students, faculty, and staff. This fund is used to provide unrestricted support to address the immediate needs of the Kresge Library. It allows us to acquire new materials, resources, and technology to support the learning experiences of the entire campus community, and the research and teaching of faculty members. Academic libraries empower people and are the great equalizer in our community, so a gift to the Library is a gift that lasts!