$5M commitment helps OU achieve overarching goal of student success

$5M commitment helps OU achieve overarching goal of student success
Craig and Ann Stinson

Oakland University has received a $5 million commitment from Craig and Ann Stinson, of Rochester, that will be used in the two areas they are most passionate about at the university, the School of Business Administration and Department of Athletics.

With the gift, the Stinsons will be enhancing the Stinson Student Advancement Center in the business school and naming the Stinson Family Student-Athlete Development Center in Athletics.

The Stinsons, longtime donors to Oakland, expect their latest gift will help improve future success among business students and student-athletes.

“The gift is being designed to help students bridge the gap between finishing their academic careers and becoming productive members in the working world,” according to Mr. Stinson.

A portion of the $5 million commitment to Oakland University will benefit the Stinson Student Achievement Center located in Elliott Hall. The center opened in 2010 and was named after the business school alums for their continuous support to their alma mater. 

Mr. and Mrs. Stinson always mention the pride they feel when they see the quality of Oakland University graduates. They want to make sure Oakland continues to have the best academic opportunities and programs available for students well into the future.

“The Stinson family has a long history of philanthropy supporting students in our Oakland University community,” said President George W. Hynd. “We are extremely grateful to Craig and Ann for their latest gift which will help us accomplish our mission and reach our primary strategic goal of student success.”

“We love the state of Michigan and this wonderful university! We can see that President Hynd has quickly understood the allure of OU,” Craig Stinson said. “He is a strong leader, and we want to help him achieve his vision and help him change the culture on campus and in the community. We want Oakland to be recognized as one of the great universities.”

Mr. Stinson added that he hopes that this gift will be inspirational for other people who are in a position to help Oakland University achieve greatness.

“We've been inspired by the vision and leadership for transforming OU from
good to great by both Steve and Patti Sharf and Hugh and Nancy Elliott,” according to Stinson. “Now, Ann and I have a chance to follow in their footsteps and hopefully inspire others after us.”

Craig and Ann Stinson are both alumni of Oakland University. Mr. Stinson graduated with a degree in Finance and Mrs. Stinson graduated with a degree in Marketing.  Both say that Oakland taught them to fight for what they believe in and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. So, the tie to the School of Business Administration may appear obvious.

“Craig and Ann have been tireless supporters and given back through many gifts to the School of Business Administration,” said SBA Dean Michael Mazzeo. “They continually find ways to provide advantages to our students, faculty and staff.”

However, it is the connection to athletics that may be most interesting.

When Mr. Stinson was in ninth grade, he went to a summer basketball camp in Indiana. He thought he was a good player, but his camp counselor suggested otherwise, leaving Stinson with the thought that he better focus on another career path. That counselor was none other than Oakland University coach Greg Kampe!

Since returning to the area, Stinson has rekindled his relationship with coach Kampe and others in the athletic department to continually improve the student-athlete experience.

“Ann and I know that our varsity athletes work extremely hard to balance academics and athletics and we want to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and on the playing fields,” Stinson added. “A strong athletics program brings recognition for the university and teaches the same skills consistent with our own personal values.”

Athletics Director Jeff Konya said he shares the Stinson family’s vision for Oakland. “We both know where we want Oakland athletics to be. We want to be winning championships and graduating students who have the skills they need to succeed in the game of life.”

Mr. Stinson served on the search committee during the presidential search in 2014 and the one for the business school dean in 2013. He is the current chairman of the Board of Visitors at the School of Business Administration. He has also served on the advisory board for Oakland’s Department of Athletics for several years.

Mrs. Stinson is a strong supporter of Oakland University athletics.  She assists athletics by hosting major donor events for the President’s Invitational golf classic and was instrumental in the OU Student Athlete Development Center planning and awareness campaign. Mrs. Stinson has been a member of the Meadow Brook Hall Ladies Committee for three years. The Ladies Committee hosts various fundraisers and supports the Hall’s conservation efforts. She was also a member of the former President’s Campaign Council for the university.

Craig and Ann Stinson have made numerous prior gifts, totaling over $530,000, which have supported the university in programs of the School of Business Administration. They have also been instrumental to the success of the President’s Invitational golf event. This event has raised more than $1.5 million for Oakland University athletics. They also partnered with friends Hugh and Nancy Elliott to set up a matching gift challenge in 2008 during the 40th anniversary of the business school and helped raise nearly $400,000.

Mr. Stinson was named the Oakland University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award winner in 2010 and Mr. and Mrs. Stinson were named Oakland’s National Philanthropy Day distinguished volunteers in 2013.