Student Success

Garry Gilbert and Holly Shreve Gilbert:

A special message from two of your favorite instructors

Photo os Garry Gilbert and Holly Gilbert standing next to lake with Oakland University campus in background


icon of a calendarAugust 16, 2021

icon of a pencilBy Rob Brent

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“Oakland University’s biggest cheerleader.”

This is how Holly Shreve Gilbert describes her husband – Garry Gilbert. When talking to the pair, it’s easy to see this is an accurate description for both Garry and Holly. The Gilberts have a long history at OU. Both are alumni and now serve as key members of the journalism faculty. Holly is an adjunct instructor of journalism, while Garry serves as the director of the journalism program – a role he’s held since 2007.

The Gilberts’ connection to OU goes far beyond their place as faculty, however, as the two also established the Holly and Garry Gilbert Endowment for Safeguarding the Public Interest in 2013. Both Holly and Garry received the Spirit Award from the Oakland University Alumni Association in 2015 for their service and commitment to the university. Garry says this honor sticks out to him as one of the things he feels the proudest about during his time at OU.

While Garry and Holly are very enthusiastic about the university at large, they are particularly proud of the school’s journalism program. Garry radiates enthusiasm when talking about what exactly makes Oakland’s journalism program so special.

“Our students have the opportunity to get to know the faculty in smaller, more specialized classrooms. There are roughly 30 students to each of their professors, which is an environment that is great for collaboration,” Garry says. “When you come to Oakland University to study journalism, the professors will know your name and take interest in your work. This is something that can be tough at other universities where there are more students per classroom. It can be a less personal experience.”

While this personal approach is something that Garry has valued in the OU journalism program
throughout his tenure, a lot has changed about the way journalism is taught. A much larger emphasis is put on new technologies and being a more diverse storyteller than past journalism curriculums that focused largely on the basics of writing.

Outside the classroom Garry is also particularly proud, he says, of the way the OU journalism program prepares students for their future careers and the success of its alumni.

“We have former students working at the Washington Post, the New York Times and Newsweek. Many of the top places for journalism in the world. For a program of our size, we’re very proud of that.”

Garry attributes a great deal of this success to Oakland University’s news publication, The Oakland Post. Garry serves as the advisor to The Oakland Post and describes it as an opportunity for students to “work in the lab” and have the opportunity to chase down and write stories as if they were in a newsroom while still having the structure of being a university program. This environment has resulted in students producing great work and has served as an excellent jumping-off point for their careers in journalism.

As supporters, faculty and alumni, the Gilberts are intrinsically linked with Oakland University and the journalism program. They are now and will continue to be, Oakland’s biggest supporters.

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