Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Gala celebrates OU comprehensive campaign progress
|OU student Peter Halabu shares his experiences with scholarships and thanks donors for making them available to students.|
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.
James Gammicchia, (SBA ’05) graduate student and Board of Trustees student liaison, attended the gala and met Oakland University donors for the first time.
He said, “It was just incredible to see how much they care about the students and the university, and to see their dedication to academic and overall student success and student life on campus.”
The gala was a chance for Oakland University to publicly thank 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.”
Frederick DeNault IV will graduate in August with a major in Human Resource Development and a minor in Spanish. He attended the gala as a Board of Trustees student liaison, and was surprised to learn how expansive the network of donors is. “These people have links around the country, but they all have a link to OU.”
DeNault said the presentations increased his interest in giving back to Oakland. “During the video and presentations, I was getting choked up because these past four years have been so great. I received scholarships and countless opportunities, including jobs on campus and serving as Orientation Group Leader. Each one has taught me something about how to succeed professionally in the future.”
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.