Thursday, March 23, 2006
Scholarship recipients thank donor at luncheon
Handleman (center) congratulates scholarship recipients Samir Hanna (left) and Peter Halabu (right).
By Amy Barker, OU Writer
Oakland University President Gary Russi, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Virinder Moudgil, Vice President of University Relations Susan Davies Goepp and 15 students who received the David and Marion Handleman scholarship gathered at Meadow Brook Hall Jan. 27 to celebrate the Handleman family’s generosity and thank them for their commitment to scholarship support.
The Handleman scholarship is a $2,000 scholarship awarded to students in The Honors College and College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). This year, 13 Honors College students and eight CAS students received the award at the luncheon. Scholarship recipients had the opportunity to meet Handleman; his wife, Charlene, MBA ’90; and his daughter, Judy. They shared with the Handlemans their activities in school, post-graduation aspirations, and most significant of all, their gratitude.
“What’s wonderful about this scholarship is that it’s renewable,” said Jude Nixon, director of The Honors College. “It sustains the students during their undergraduate work. And, with 21 recipients this year, it helps a broad group of students.”
For many students, this scholarship has allowed them to devote more time to their schoolwork and to more fully participate in student life.
For senior human resources development major Frederick DeNault IV, this was his second opportunity to have lunch with the Handlemans.
“Last year, this scholarship made it possible for me to live on campus. This year, it’s allowed me not to work 40 hours a week and to be able to give as much to the university as it’s given me,” DeNault said.
Stefanie Bohde has had a similar experience. The junior, who is double-majoring in English and political science, is active on campus as treasurer of Amnesty International and as a board member of the Creative Writing Colloquium.
“This scholarship has been instrumental to my living on campus. If I hadn’t had it, I would have had to commute,” she said. “Living on campus gives you so much more time to get involved in the university.”
Handleman served on the university’s Board of Trustees from 1979 through 1996 and was president of the Meadow Brook Art Gallery for 10 years. Almost three decades ago, when he was a board member, he approached the university with an idea to create a scholarship endowment. The first year of the scholarship’s establishment, 16 students received tuition assistance from Mr. and Mrs. Handleman’s gift.
“David Handleman has been a longtime friend of the university. He has given his time and counsel over the years, and his generosity has had a tremendous impact on a great number of our students,” Russi said. “He sets a strong example for others who are considering a similar gift.”
It is his enduring fondness for Oakland and his strong belief in education that inspired Handleman to establish the scholarship endowment and to come to campus to meet the students who have benefited from it.
“Education plays such an important part in your life. I want you to grow up to be successful. I’m privileged to do my share, and I hope you’ll make the same contribution when you get into the world,” he said to the group of students gathered at the luncheon.
For Handleman, meeting his scholarship students is a meaningful event.
“I enjoy this every year. I feel very privileged to have played some part in their lives,” he said.
At the luncheon, students approached the podium to share their experiences and thank the Handlemans. Junior English major Peter Halabu told the Handlemans that this scholarship was the deciding factor in his coming to Oakland. And since he’s been here, he’s become involved with activities like the pre-law fraternity and serving as president of the ballroom dance group.
“I feel like I’ve really taken root here,” Halabu said. “Thank you for the opportunity to come to OU.”
Handleman encourages people who may be considering supporting scholarships to make that commitment.
“If you have the resources, you can help youngsters who can’t afford a college education,” he said. “And, you can play an important part in their lives and their future.”
For more information on OU’s scholarships, see the Scholarships Web page.