Student Success

Distinguished Alumni

OU honors distinguished alumni with the 2020 Alumni Awards

Campus buildings and fall leaves


icon of a calendarNovember 23, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Eric Reikowski

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Oakland University has announced the recipients of the 2020 Alumni Awards, which recognize alumni and supporters who have achieved success in business, community services, volunteerism and other areas. 

Congratulations to this year’s honorees:

Headshot of Bryan Barnett

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Bryan Barnett, SBA ‘98
Mayor, City of Rochester Hills
Immediate Past President, U.S. Conference of Mayors
Immediate Past Chair, OUAA Board of Directors
The Distinguished Alumni Service Award is Oakland’s highest alumni honor. It recognizes peerless volunteer leadership in service to OU or its alumni association.

Headshot of Joanne Gerstner

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

Joanne Gerstner, CAS ‘93
Sports Journalist in Residence, Michigan State University
Commissioner, State of Michigan Women’s Task Force on Women in Sports
Honoree, U.S. Department of State J. William Fulbright Media and Journalism Specialist 
The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award recognizes outstanding professional achievement or contribution to the community. 

Headshot of Avinash Konkani

Odyssey Award

Avinash Konkani, Ph.D., SECS ’14
Interdisciplinary/Biomedical Engineer
Food and Drug Administration
The Odyssey Award honors alumni whose lives exemplify Oakland University’s motto to “seek virtue and knowledge.”

Headshot of Gary and Elspeth Coats

Spirit Award

Gary and Elspeth Coats, SBA ’95 and SBA ‘91
Senior Tax Analyst, American Axle and Manufacturing and Senior Business Systems Analyst, NetSol Technologies
Members, Black & Gold Loyalty Society
Member, Honors College Board of Visitors (Elspeth)
Founders, OU Student Life Endowed Scholarship and Gary and Elspeth Coats Student Involvement Scholarship
Mentor, Leadership OU (Elspeth)
The Spirit Award recognizes exemplary volunteer service to the university. 

Headshot of Nicole Lindsay

Alumni Community Service Award

Nicole Lindsey, CAS ‘09
Executive Director, Detroit Hives
The Alumni Community Service Award recognizes distinctive service of a humanitarian nature or citizenship through community, public or OU service activities.

Headshot of Holly Franson

Outstanding Young Alumni Award 

Holly Franson, MSN, SON ’09
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Department Lead and Clinical Site and Educational Coordinator, John D. Dingell VA Medical Center 
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated the worth of their education through their post-college achievements and, generally, have graduated within the last 10 years.

Headshot of Barbara and Allen Gough

Honorary Alumni Award

Allen Gough (pictured with his wife, Barbara)
Chair, School of Education and Human Services Resource Development Board
Member, OU Campaign Planning Committee
Chair, OU Foundation
Founder, Barbara and Allen Gough Human Resource Scholarship and Allen Gough III Memorial Scholarship
The Honorary Alumni Awards are given to individuals who have not graduated from OU, but who have given outstanding service to the university.

Learn more about the Oakland University Alumni Association

10 Within 10 Awards

The Oakland University Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Chapter has announced the Young Alumni “10 Within 10” class of 2020 awardees, recognizing the exceptional impact that OU alumni make within their professions and throughout their communities. Nominees have graduated within the last 10 years and must be 35 years old or younger.

Deanna J. Kossaras, Esq., School of Engineering and Computer Science ’10
Intellectual Property Counsel, HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated

Karen Li, College of Arts and Sciences ’17
Software Engineer, ExamSoft

Stephanie Mabry, School of Health Sciences ’10
Visiting Instructor, Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, Oakland University

Kendal Novak, School of Engineering and Computer Science ’15 and ’17
Complete Seat Design and Release Engineer, FCA

Emily Paula, School of Business Administration ’12 and ’15
Human Resources University Relations Liaison, FCA

Domonique "Niki" Rose, College of Arts and Sciences ’10 and ’15
Teacher, Sharon J. Hardy Elementary; Lecturer, Oakland University

Jarret Schlaff, College of Arts and Sciences ’10
Co-founder and CEO, Pingree MFG

Dr. Nicholas J. Siekirk, School of Health Sciences ’12
Assistant Professor – Tenure Track, Georgia Southern University

Kristen Skladd, College of Arts and Sciences ’11
Senior Publicist, The Gab Group

Sarah Tomaka, College of Arts and Sciences ’11
Public Health Dentist, Great Lakes Bay Health Centers

Recipients will be recognized in November 2020 at the annual Oakland University Alumni Awards. 

Learn more about OU’s Young Alumni Chapter.

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