Tradition of Excellence

Sharf Memorial Golf Outing continues the tradition of benevolent giving that Stephan and Rita Sharf have established over 25 years of enhancing academic excellence and experience of OU students.

Two golf balls on a table, one reads "OU School of Engineering and Computer Sciences Oakland University" the other "DTE"

For a decade, DTE Energy has been generously sponsoring the golf outing to raise funds to benefit SECS students.

Sharf Golf Outing

icon of a calendarDecember 20, 2023

icon of a pencilBy Arina Bokas

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On Monday, August 21, 2023, at 11:30 am, the sound of the shotgun echoed through the greenery of Katke-Cousins and R&S Sharf Golf Courses, bringing to motion the caravan of golf carts and commencing SECS 8th Annual Sharf Memorial Golf Outing. Named after Stephan and Rita Sharf, generous benefactors of Oakland University, Sharf Memorial Golf Outing continues the tradition of benevolent giving that the couple had established over 25 years of enhancing academic excellence and experience of OU students.

“Steve Sharf, a former Chrysler executive and a longtime friend of the School of Engineering and Computer Science, left a lasting impact on both manufacturing and education. Out of his $21 million gift to Oakland University, six million was given directly to SECS. In addition, he established a number of student scholarships and supported SECS research and scholarly work. For a decade, DTE Energy has been sponsoring the golf outing named in his honor to raise funds to benefit SECS students,” shares SECS Dean Louay Chamra.

One goal of the DTE Energy mission is to support organizations that administer services and educational training to strengthen local communities.

“We are proud of our ten-year partnership with Oakland University’s School of Engineering, working together to raise money for scholarships and summer programs for youth in underrepresented communities. We know that young people who experience STEM programs early in their teenage years and remain engaged through high school and college are well-positioned for successful careers. Oakland University’s engineering program is a great curriculum that produces talented problem-solvers and innovators, many of whom remain in Michigan, benefitting our businesses and communities,” states Robert Richards, DTE Gas president and chief operating officer.

Sharf Memorial Golf Outing benefits the Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science and its affiliated underrepresented student organizations: Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers,) Women in Computing, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. In addition, portions of the funds support SECS Outreach, STEM, and community education, Over the past eight years, sponsorships from this annual golf outing have helped increase enrollment of female and underserved students to all OU’s engineering programs.

This year, Sharf Memorial Golf Outing proceeds made it possible for a number of new and returning SECS students to receive free education or tuition reduction. JaLaLin Williams is a first-year student who has been selected as a recipient of a full-tuition scholarship beginning in the Fall 2023 semester and $5,000 towards housing for the academic year.

Williams is a graduate of Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA.) GEA was established by the Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) to decrease the gender and minority gaps in engineering professions through exposing girls, particularly girls of color, to STEM. Along with her GPA and other qualifications, the ongoing partnership between SECS and ESD made Williams a natural candidate for this scholarship.

“I have been part of the summer residential camp that helped me learn more about what the OU campus has to offer. In addition, my mother and sister are OU alumni. Receiving this scholarship means the world to me, as it has afforded me a way to get an education,” Williams says.

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