Two years ago, an anonymous donor stepped forward with the pledge of a $4 million estate gift in support of the endowed deanship position for the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. It was one of the first lead gifts for the new school and helped set the stage for other significant gifts that have helped shape its growth.
Now, with final accreditations in place for the School of Medicine and recruitment underway for its first class of students, the donor of that visionary gift has consented for the university to share news of his generosity. Stephen Sharf, a supporter of Oakland University for nearly 30 years, made that $4 million gift in 2008. In the days and months since then, he has seen the School of Medicine grow with the arrival of world-class educators, dedicated administrators and the promise of an exceptional group of first-year students.
Endowed deanships and professorships allow the School of Medicine to attract and retain the best and brightest academic and medical leaders, establishing a reputation for excellence early in its evolution. Endowed positions also help support research opportunities, providing professors and administrators with the resources they need to undertake new and innovative studies.
“As a university, we owe so much to Stephan Sharf,” OU President Gary Russi said. “He has been at the heart of some of our most important projects and initiatives. His support of the medical school is yet another indication of his passion for excellence and his belief in all that this university can achieve. With this visionary gift, he has made a lasting contribution to not only the medical school, but to a future generation of physicians and the people whose lives they will impact.”
As a former trustee, past director for the OU Foundation and member of the Varner Society, Sharf has been a long-time advocate for helping Oakland reach ever-greater levels of achievement.
“When I give money, it is to me like an investment. I want to make sure it succeeds. Putting a medical school within Oakland University takes the university to the next plateau. Only a few universities in Michigan have medical schools,” Sharf said.
Over the years, the former executive vice president for Chrysler has made a number of transformative gifts, including the establishment of the Stephan Sharf Endowed Scholarship for engineering students and the Stephan and Rita Sharf Scholarship in the School of Business Administration. He and his late wife, Rita, also provided lead funding for Oakland’s world-class R&S Sharf Golf Course in 2000.
With this gift to the School of Medicine, Sharf has helped lay a strong foundation for its future growth, providing the support needed to help Oakland University surpass yet another milestone on the road to excellence
“The university is taking the right step at the right time. We need more doctors and nurses. OU is again at the forefront in training the sorts of professionals we need for the future,” Sharf said.