Wednesday, January 10, 2007
OU students kick off 50th anniversary celebration
|Students kicked off OU's 50th anniversary celebration with a student organization carnival.|
On Jan. 5 Oakland University faculty and staff marked the beginning of the university’s 50th anniversary with a breakfast and remarks by OU President Gary Russi and alumnus David Baker Lewis. On Jan. 8, students kicked off the year-long event with a student organization fair.
Student organizations lined the main hallway of the Oakland Center with carnival-style games for students passing through. Participants won small prizes, such as gold fish, and earned the chance to win bigger prizes through drawings and contests.
Students were also treated to ice cream, pretzels and corn dogs.
50th Anniversary celebrated throughout the year
“The 50th anniversary reminds us of the extraordinary gift of the Wilsons, public-minded donors from an earlier era,” said Paul Tomboulian, distinguished professor emeritus of chemistry and member of the 50th anniversary celebration committee. “Developed by a chance set of events, Michigan State University Oakland became a unique new institution, surviving when many begun in those days failed.”
A 50th anniversary Web site provides fun historical facts, a calendar of celebration events and a place for the Oakland community of past and present to share their thoughts and memories. Video excerpts of OU Chronicles Project, interviews conducted by Tomboulian and his wife, Alice, are also available on the site.
“The Web site gives viewers an opportunity to listen to comments written and spoken by some of those early pioneers in order to gain an insight into those special formative years,” said Tomboulian.
A year-long 50th anniversary exhibition will be on display beginning Monday, Jan.15 at Meadow Brook Hall, including the shovel used for the university’s groundbreaking, charter class yearbook and class rings, Matilda Dodge Wilson’s cap, gown and diploma, and newspaper articles and photos.
|Christine Cleary, assistant director of residence life, and Sara Webb, coordinator for New Student Programs, handed out ice cream during the 50th anniversary celebration kick off.|
Oakland University has celebrated other significant milestones in its history, including its 10,15, 25 and 40 year anniversaries. Those celebrations, in 1969, 1974, 1984 and 1997 marked the anniversary of the university’s first classes, rather than the university’s founding, as we are celebrating this year.
In 1997, a Founders’ Day celebration was held to mark the 40th anniversary of the first Founders’ Day. Since then, Founders’ Day celebrations have occurred each April at Oakland University.
First classes were held for 570 freshmen in 1959, and 146 students graduated in 1963, including the charter class and transfer students.
During the tenth anniversary in 1969, alumni came together for an Alumni-Wilson weekend, the Oakland Chorus performed a benefit concert, and 1970 Michigan automobile plates were issued in gold and white in honor of Oakland University.
In 1974, the 15th anniversary was commemorated with 200 free campus events including marching bands, pavilion concerts, tours, and the “largest” birthday cake was exhibited. Despite rain and cold weather, 2,000 people attended the day-long celebration.
Oakland’s silver anniversary was celebrated with a special edition of the Oakland University Magazine and the Meadow Brook Seminars were revisited with nine topics over a three-month period. The seminars were sponsored originally in 1958 by the Michigan State University — Oakland Foundation, to review and endorse the recommendations made for the new institution by curriculum planners and academic leaders at Michigan State University.
In 1997, the 40th anniversary celebration included the groundbreaking of the School of Administration and Information Technology Institute (since named the R. Hugh and Nancy Elliott Hall of Business and Information Technology) and charter faculty and staff reunited for a two-day celebration featuring a panel discussion including “University Life, Then and Now.”
“Much has changed in 50 years, but an early principle remains today: to provide strong academic programs to a wide spectrum of students,” said Tomboulian. “OU is a special place which has prospered because dedicated pioneers believed in the dream, and were motivated to continue and expand the principles and ideals of the original MSUO.”