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OU alumna to lead university during leadership transition

Thursday, June 27, 2013
OU alumna to lead university during leadership transition

The Oakland University Board of Trustees has appointed scholar and accomplished academic administrator Betty J. Youngblood as the university's interim president effective August 1, 2013.

Youngblood replaces Gary D. Russi, who has served as president since 1996. Having overseen an era of tremendous growth – both in terms of campus infrastructure and the breadth and quality of academic programs – Russi announced his retirement from Oakland in mid-June.An Oakland alumna and proud supporter of the university, Youngblood is currently responsible for all of Oakland University's programs in Macomb County. The University offers programs at three instructional sites in Macomb and annually enrolls about 2,000 students at these sites.

The newest site, the Anton/Frankel Center in Mt. Clemens, is the only instructional site owned by the University away from the main campus in Rochester. In addition to the three instructional sites, and in partnership with the City of Sterling Heights and Macomb County, Oakland University also operates a business incubator in the County.

"I've been pleased to see my alma mater experience such successful growth over the years, and I'm delighted to be in a position to contribute to that momentum," Youngblood said.

"Oakland has come to play a critical role in the health and vitality of the region, and I look forward to working with the outstanding faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters who've helped make that happen. Together, we'll keep the university on course toward a new era of growth and opportunity."

Youngblood has held a variety of leadership positions at universities across the country, including serving as vice chancellor and chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Superior, president of Western Oregon University, and president of Lake Superior State University. She holds a Ph.D. in political science and a master of arts in South Asian area studies from the University of Minnesota, as well as a bachelor of arts in South Asian area studies from Oakland. She is a native of Macomb County.

Youngblood also served in the positions of vice president for academic affairs, college vice president, dean, director of academic services, registrar and academic advisor at a number of institutions across the country, following 10 years of full-time university teaching in political science.

She is a specialist in comparative methodology and comparative government and politics. Her research focused on political party development in northwestern India, and she has met with many influential national and state government officials during trips there.

In a broader capacity, she has served as an evaluator for the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges and as a consultant-evaluator for the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. She also has served on as well as led evaluation teams at universities across the country.

"Dr. Youngblood's academic roots at Oakland and her breadth of experience and accomplishments in academia make her an ideal candidate to maintain the university's movement forward," said Board of Trustees Chair Michael Kramer.

"We're confident that her talent, knowledge and dedication will help prepare Oakland well for continued growth and success."

Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with nearly 20,000 students and more than 260 degree and certificate programs. To learn more about academics, achievements, and events at OU, visit the news site at oakland.edu/newsatou and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.