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Wilson & Human Relations Awards

Every university has an award they bestow on the most deserving students. Awards that evoke the prestige and virtue reminiscent of a university's mission and goals. At Oakland University, those awards are the Matilda R. and Alfred G. Wilson Award and the Human Relations Award.

Did you know that the university marshal is a member of the awards selection committee? This largely ceremonial role assists with official functions at the university. OU students will see the marshal lead the processional and recessional during commencement ceremonies. Winners will be publicly recognized during the April 2014 commencement ceremony.  

Check out our photo slideshow of past award winners. Envision yourself among the elite group of students who win and attend the formal dinner at the exquisite Meadow Brook Hall. You can also view a complete list of award recipients.

Below you can learn more about these prestigious awards and how you can nominate yourself or someone else.
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Know someone who exemplifies the qualities and characteristics that these awards represent? If so, please print out and complete a nomination form. You can also use the forms to self-nominate.
  • Wilson Awards nomination form (2015 form coming soon) 
  • Human Relations Award nomination form (2015 form coming soon) 
    Please follow the instructions on each form and send in all nominations by Monday, February 9, 2015.

    Criteria

    Wilson Awards

    • Strong academic record of 3.5 or higher
    • Graduating seniors in winter 2014 or students who graduated in summer or fall 2013 may apply
    Human Relations Award
    • Minimum 2.5 GPA
    • Demonstrate service to the community
    • Graduating seniors in winter 2014 or students who graduated in summer or fall 2013 may apply

    History
    • Created in 1965, the Wilson Awards recognize one female and one male graduating senior who have contributed as scholars, leaders, and responsible citizens to the OU community. To date, 49 males and 49 females have received this highly coveted honor.
    • The Human Relations Award was established in 1986 and recognizes a graduating senior who has made an outstanding contribution to intergroup understanding and conflict resolution at OU. This award has been given to 25 students.


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    David Baker Lewis
    1966 Alfred G. Wilson Award Recipient

    Attorney David Baker Lewis has been a Fellow of the American Bar Association and a member of the board of trustees of Oakland University and the Oakland University Foundation. David remembers being honored and moved in receiving the Wilson award. “You don’t know, as an individual, how other people view you and what qualities and characteristics they see that would lead them to nominate you,” David said, admitting he was very surprised by the nomination. “One never knows what honors will fall in their path.”

    David began his college education at Oakland in the fall of 1962, sharing the campus with no more than 1200 fellow students. He became involved in the University’s chorus, student government, athletic program and business club. Living on-campus, David took full advantage of all the opportunities OU offered. “I remember just reflecting on the enjoyment I had as a student at Oakland University, how much it contributed to my own individual growth and development.”

    While a student at Oakland, David recalls the campus consisting of North and South Foundation Hall, Kresge Library, Fitzgerald House, Anibal House, the Lepley Center and Dodge Hall of Engineering. His continued involvement with his alma mater has provided him with the joy of watching it grow. 

    “There is a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement about growing this institution to its rightful place among four-year universities,” David said. “The 50-year anniversary of these awards is another point in time to take note of the progress we’ve made in realizing the vision of Alfred and Matilda Wilson.”

    Colleen Jennings-Roggensack
    1975 Matilda R. Wilson Award Recipient

    Colleen Jennings-Roggensack has been presenting the performing arts for the past 35 years. She is currently Executive Director of Arizona State University Gammage and Assistant Vice President for Cultural Affairs with artistic, fiscal and administrative responsibility for two cultural facilities, along with additional responsibility for Sun Devil Stadium and Wells Fargo Arena for non-athletic activities including concerts as well as commencement and convocation exercises.

    Colleen has previously held positions at Dartmouth College and Colorado State University. She was Director of Performing Arts and Professional Development at the Western States Arts Federation and has served on numerous NEA, regional and state panels, as well as being an invited speaker at national conferences. She was an adviser to the National Dance Project, Africa Exchange Advisory Council, The Japan Foundation and its performing arts program, and a contemporary theatre partnership with the US/Netherlands Project. 

    Formerly a dancer and choreographer, she is married to Dr. Kurt Roggensack, volcanologist at Arizona State University, and has a 23-year-old daughter, Kelsey, a recent graduate of Williams College and a four time All-American swimmer.

    Christina (Landry) Grabowski
    1993 Matilda R. Wilson Award Recipient

    Christina (Landry) Grabowski is an assistant dean for Admissions and Financial Services at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. “One of the most touching parts of my job is when I get to call students to tell them they have been admitted to medical school. When my call is their first admission and they can breathe a sigh of relief that they have ‘made it,’ I feel privileged to be a witness to that special moment,” Christina said.

    Christina was given the opportunity to learn and grow as a student at Oakland. She spent time in Student Congress, meeting new friends among the fellow student leaders and advisers. The experience allows her to collaborate with others while learning from both her accomplishments and mistakes. 

    Christina felt humbled when receiving the Matilda R. Wilson award, impressed by the prestigious recipients who preceded her. “To be given consideration for such an honor, let alone to be selected, was most definitely humbling,” she said. “It made me even prouder to have selected OU for my undergraduate education.”

    Amy Ann (Rickstad) Wilczynski
    1995 Matilda R. Wilson Award Recipient

    Amy Ann (Rickstad) Wilczynski is president and owner of Wilczynski Public Relations. As a public relations professional, Amy is constantly learning and adapting while working with a variety of clients. “For someone who is continually curious about things, this was the perfect career path for me,” Amy said.

    Oakland University prepared Amy for her role as public relations specialist by providing small class atmospheres and quality professors who challenged her. She found that what helped her succeed was strategic thinking, energy and passion. As president of University Student Congress, Amy had unique leadership and learning experiences that she says contributed to her professional success.

    Amy was honored and humbled to be a recipient of the Matilda R. Wilson award. “To this day, it still has great meaning to me,” she said. “When I think of that award, I think of the time I spent on campus and all of the dedicated professors and administrators I worked with along the way.”

    Mychal Thom
    2000 Alfred G. Wilson Award Recipient

    Mychal Thom is the principal for Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, serving approximately 700 students in grades 9 - 12. While attending Oakland University, Mychal was taught the importance of time management and relationship building. As a member of the men’s basketball team, Honors College and biology student, he needed to effectively plan his time to ensure his tasks were completed accurately and efficiently. “As a school administrator, the most important skill I use on a regular basis is effectively managing my time,” Mychal said.

    Mychal’s time spent representing OU on the basketball court was “invaluable.” He was taught how to work with people in order to accomplish a common goal, a lesson that proved priceless in his work as an administrator. As captain of the team, Mychal was exposed to a leadership role that has served him well throughout his professional career. 

    “Winning the Wilson Award was such a cool experience for me,” Mychal said. He found that being recognized as a positive role model in the OU community was both gratifying and humbling. “The medal currently sits in my office,” Mychal said, “and I often look upon it with a true sense of accomplishment!”

    Steven D. Townsend
    2005 Alfred G. Wilson Award Recipient

    Steven D. Townsend has always had a love of academic research and student mentoring. He currently works at Vanderbilt University as an assistant professor of chemistry. 

    During his time at Oakland, Steven assisted new students during summer orientations and worked as a resident assistant, where he was able to mentor and work with the younger students at the university. “During my time at OU, I maintained a focus on service to the community by being an active citizen and service to myself by working hard in all academic endeavors,” Steven said.

    His hard work and dedication was honored with the Alfred G. Wilson award, a proud and unforgettable moment for Steven. “The biggest lesson I learned while at Oakland was that we are all a work in progress,” he said, “and that it is important to try to be a little bit better, whether that be at your job or in your personal life, every day.”


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    If you have any questions about these awards, please contact the Dean of Students Office at (248) 370-3352.