Monday, December 16, 2002
OU awards two honorary degrees
Oakland University awarded two honorary degrees — one to a former Michigan governor and the other to a chairman and chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 company — at the university's Dec. 21 commencement ceremony.
OU's Board of Trustees approved proposals to grant honorary degrees to former Michigan Governor William G. Milliken and Eugene A. Miller, chairman and chief executive officer of Comerica Bank.
The board awards honorary degrees in recognition of distinguished accomplishment and service within the scope of the arts and letters, sciences, professions, and public service as recognized and supported by the university. The awarding of honorary degrees reaffirms OU's scholarly, creative and humanitarian values and ties the university to the community at large.
William G. Milliken
Milliken, the longest serving governor in Michigan history (1969-82), appointed all eight of the original members of OU's Board of Trustees and established a pattern of distinguished individuals without political patronage. He previously served as lieutenant governor and was a member of the State Senate.
When Milliken entered the Senate, OU was in its second year and had 908 enrolled students. When he completed his term as governor, OU had nearly 12,000 students, had gained its independence from Michigan State University, and had launched a full range of educational programs.
Following Milliken's governorship, he has been committed to many public issues, especially environmental protection.
OU awarded Milliken an honorary doctor of laws degree based on his contributions to the State of Michigan serving as lieutenant governor, as a member of the State Senate and as the longest serving governor in Michigan's history.
Eugene A. Miller
Miller, former chairman of the Oakland University Foundation Board of Directors, has had a distinguished career in banking, culminating in an eight-year term as chairman and chief executive officer of Comerica Bank, one of the nation's largest and most profitable banking companies and a member of the Fortune 500.
In his current position, he successfully managed the merger of two very different banks into a cohesive unit reaching from California, Texas and Florida to its Detroit home. Comerica Bank's commitment to the prosperity of its hometown is reflected in its purchase of naming rights to Comerica Park, which is home to the Detroit Tigers baseball team.
Miller has served the business community as vice president of the Federal Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors, chairman of the Association of Bank Holding Companies and chairman of the Economic Club of Detroit.
He also has served as chairman of the Detroit Renaissance, Japan American Society, Cranbrook Education Community and United Way.
OU awarded Miller an honorary doctor of humanities degree based on his exemplary leadership in business and public service.