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The French say, “plus c’a change, plus la même chose.” The more things change, the more they stay the same. That’s one of the themes of OU Magazine’s cover stories, as we look at different generations of OU students, from members of the charter class to the particular tastes and affinities of today’s OU student.

On the surface, things seem completely different today than they were when Chancellor Woody Varner walked the corridors of North Foundation Hall. Today’s students surf the Internet for information, while the charter class logged long hours in the library. Other technology (computers, videos, DVDs and mp3 players) so essential to the lives of today’s students were not around in 1963. Black vinyl long-playing records provided the soundtrack for the charter class, while small black-and-white television sets with rabbit ears provided the visual entertainment. The majority of OU students today have jobs; student employment was strictly prohibited back in 1963.

Yet there are some similarities between today’s student and those in the charter class. Students still face the same economic challenges they did 40 years ago. Many students attend Oakland because of its proximity to their homes. And just like the charter class, today’s students come to Oakland University to earn a high-quality education. 

It’s a different world today than it was 40 years ago. This edition of OU Magazine takes a look at how it was for OU’s charter class, and how it is for today’s students. As charter class member Elaine Henshon put it in Rebecca Lynn Wyatt’s article: “I wasn’t necessarily prepared for OU, but OU prepared me for the world.” Forty years later, OU is still preparing students for the world, albeit a very different one.

Ted Montgomery

Fall 2003 Issue



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