Monday, April 30, 2007
Gala celebrates OU comprehensive campaign progress
|OU President Gary Russi welcomes guests and thanks donors at the 50th Anniversary Gala. |
On Wednesday, April 18, portions of the Oakland Center were transformed into a black-tie venue to honor top contributors to Oakland University’s comprehensive campaign since the public phase kickoff in April 2005. “Innovation and Opportunity — The Campaign for Oakland University” has raised $76.5 million toward a goal of $110 million by 2010.
In celebration of the university’s 50th anniversary, the gala took donors back 50 years and through the decades through pictorial displays of historic campus photos and a video (available for a Windows-based PC or a Mac) featuring footage from a 1996 interview with Woody Varner.
“Your contributions make an impact on people’s lives and enable Oakland to offer a distinctive education, one that will soon include a brand new allopathic medical school in partnership with Beaumont Hospitals,” OU President Gary Russi said to the donors at the gala. “It is through your generosity to our campaign and your dedication to Oakland that we will reach our 2010 vision of preparing leaders who are preferentially hired in the workplace.”
Private gifts from individuals and corporations play a critical role in Oakland’s resource development. They have helped fund new academic programs, endowments for faculty positions, facility expansions and student scholarships. Additional funding needs in these areas will help the university move to the next level of distinction.
“Wednesday’s gala was a success on many levels,” said Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Education Dawn Pickard, “As a faculty member, an administrator and a donor along with my husband, I have watched Oakland University grow, adding value and prestige to the community, in spite of fewer state resources and revenue.” Added Pickard, “We all recognize that progress as a university is becoming more and more dependent on donor giving. Without people and corporations like those in attendance at the gala, Oakland’s future would be less bright, with fewer scholarships, fewer laboratories, fewer doctoral level faculty and larger class sizes.”
The gala was a chance for Oakland University to publicly thank that those who support the university in so many ways. One student, Peter Halabu, was able to share his experience as a Handelman Scholarship recipient with the audience.
“As a Handelman scholar, as well as a recipient of various other scholarships, I came to Oakland on a full ride. That meant that I never had to worry about balancing my studies with a full-time job, having to find low-cost housing or taking semesters off to save up for school,” Halabu said. “Because I never had to cope with these external stresses, I have been able to focus on my academic obligations, and to because involved in extracurricular on campus to a degree otherwise impossible. Your support of an Oakland education has freed me to take advantage of the very best Oakland has to offer.”
Professor of Biomedical Science and Director of the Eye Research Institute Frank Giblin commented on the evening as well, “My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We enjoyed meeting the donors and thanking them for the help that they are giving to the university. It was evident that the donors have a real affection for Oakland University.” Giblin added, “The considerable assistance that student scholarships provide came across very clearly from the comments of a few of the student recipients. President Russi's remarks regarding a new medical school were very well received by the audience. Donations for teaching and research will be vitally important as the university moves to this next level of excellence.”
For more on “Innovation and Opportunity — The Campaign for Oakland University,” visit the campaign Web site. For more on OU’s 50th anniversary celebration, visit the 50th anniversary Web site.