Student Success

Legacy of Support

Gift advances student success and diversity initiatives at OU

Man and Woman standing on bridge

Walter “Walt” and Retha Douglas / Photo By Robert Hall


icon of a calendarNovember 23, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Catherine Ticer

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A generous gift from longtime friends of Oakland University, Walter “Walt” and Retha Douglas, is helping to further the University’s mission to foster student success and advance diversity, equity and inclusion across campus.

A portion of the gift will provide furnishings and other enhancements for the Overlook Lounge, a popular study and gathering space for students in the recently renovated Oakland Center. Enrichments made to the space will create opportunities for student groups and Greek organizations to come together, collaborate and make decisions that benefit all students. In recognition of this generous gift, OU has named the Overlook Lounge in honor of the Walter and Retha Douglas family. 

The gift also benefits the Keeper of the Dream Endowed Fund, a keystone of OU’s diversity efforts and a program the Douglas’ have supported for many years. The Keeper of the Dream Endowment supports the annual Keeper of the Dream celebration event to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and provides scholarship support to students who demonstrate strong citizenship, scholarship and leadership in breaking down cultural stereotypes and in promoting interracial understanding and goodwill.

Walt Douglas served multiple terms as a director of the OU Foundation between 1987 and 2006. The couple’s daughter, Petra Douglas Hurt, graduated from OU with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1984. Petra was instrumental in starting the OU chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, the first predominantly black sorority at OU, and has remained involved on campus as a volunteer.

Glenn McIntosh, senior vice president for student affairs and chief diversity officer, has known Walt and Retha for many years and is deeply thankful for their longstanding support of OU. “We are grateful to the Douglas family for their unwavering commitment to our University and the success of our students,” says McIntosh.

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