Student Success

Securing the Future

Alumni couple support graduate students through unique initiatives

A man and woman posing.

Photo by Robert Hall


icon of a calendarJune 22, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Jennifer Hogan

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Debbie Pruent, CAS '88, and her husband, Jeff VanHoorne, SECS '88, both Oakland University alumni, know firsthand the value of a graduate education and the importance of cybersecurity in the 21st century.

Pruent and VanHoorne are supporting graduate students through three unique initiatives: the Graduate School Finish Line Scholarship, Jeffrey C. VanHoorne Cybersecurity Student Loan Program and Jeffrey C. VanHoorne Cybersecurity Professional Allowance.

Pruent and VanHoorne first met when carpooling to OU while earning their master’s degrees and working at General Motors. “We were both fortunate to receive tuition assistance through General Motors,” says Pruent. “We established the Finish Line Scholarship to provide today’s students with the support needed to finish their graduate degrees.”

VanHoorne played a major role in establishing cybersecurity protocols at General Motors in the early days of the internet.

This background, coupled with their desire to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity capability, inspired the couple to create the Jeffrey C. VanHoorne Cybersecurity Student Loan Program, supporting students working toward OU’s cybersecurity master’s degree. Recipients of the loan program are also eligible for the Jeffrey C. VanHoorne Cybersecurity Professional Allowance, which provides funding for professional growth activities including traveling to and attending job fairs, government background checks, internships, certifications and other expenses. The goal of both programs are to funnel high-level cybersecurity talent to top U.S. government agencies.

“The vision of Debbie and Jeff will make an incredible difference in the lives of graduate students and has the power to impact national security at the highest levels,” says Michael Westfall, vice president of university advancement. “Their gift makes it possible to help the next generation of leaders take on the global challenges of the future.”

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