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Golden Grizzlies connect, learn at OU Winter College in Florida

Friday, February 24, 2012
Golden Grizzlies connect, learn at OU Winter College in Florida
Several Golden Grizzlies spent a warm, fun-filled weekend at the Oakland University Winter College in Bonita Springs, Florida this February. The second year of this growing event brought together alumni from various class years as well as many “snowbirds” in the Bonita Springs and Naples area. 

Provost Virinder Moudgil hosted a welcome reception, and four faculty members presented classes during the weekend on various topics of interest: 

"Our Amazing Human Body:  An Anatomical Perspective"
Mary Bee, associate professor of biomedical sciences at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

"Inside the 2012 Presidential Primaries"
David Dulio, associate professor and chair of the Political Science Department

"The Sunny Side of Autism"
Janet Graetz, associate professor of education, human development and child study in the School of Education and Human Services 

"The U.S. Economy and the Stock Market:  Past, Present and Future"
Ronald Tracy, associate professor of economics in the School of Business Administration

Margaret Pigott is a retired OU professor of international programs who attended the event for the first year. “When I received the invitation for the winter college, I thought that it was an innovative idea because there are a number of retired faculty who spend a great deal of time in Florida in the winter time. And there are even more retired alumni who are donors. It’s a very fine way to share important topics with retired donors, alumni and faculty.”

“I was particularly interested in subjects that I hadn’t been familiar with," Pigott continued. "Prof. Mary Bee taught us a great deal about how the human body is put together. Knowledge is power, and we learned a lot. People our age are interested in learning what bone is aching and how to describe it.” 

Don Kaegi, also retired, attended two classes and a Friday evening dinner hosted by President Gary Russi.

“I thought the classes were very engaging with topical presentations. It exceeded what we expected," he said.  "Dr. Russi’s talk at dinner was pretty eye-opening in terms of what the university faces with the state budget situation.” 

Guests enjoyed the beautiful amenities of the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa with part of the weekend earmarked for leisure time.

“It was a beautiful place that offered many options of things we could do,” Pigott said. “We went off on a boat ride to an island and went swimming in the gulf. Others went golfing and shopping.”

Oakland plans to host the weekend again next year according to Eric Barritt, vice president for Community Engagement. “We were thrilled to see so many alumni and friends take advantage of a destination event like this, to connect with each other and with Oakland; and to learn from our faculty. I think the event will only continue to grow.”

For more information or to view a slideshow of photos from the winter college, view the website at