Board of Trustees

OU Board of Trustees approves contract extension for President Pescovitz

Extension of the contract will run through June 30, 2031

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icon of a calendarSeptember 11, 2023

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OU Board of Trustees approves contract extension for President Pescovitz
The Oakland University Board of Trustees has unanimously approved a contract extension for President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz that extends through June 30, 2031.

The Oakland University Board of Trustees unanimously approved a contract extension for President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz that extends through June 30, 2031.

The Board cited Dr. Pescovitz’s vision and work on building upward social mobility for students by creating an environment for their personal and professional development and providing great opportunities for economic prosperity for Michigan.

“Since arriving in 2017, President Pescovitz has led Oakland University through a rapidly evolving higher education landscape,” said Bobby Schostak, chair of OU’s Board of Trustees. “This contract extension not only reflects our confidence in her outstanding leadership the past six years, but also reaffirms our expectation that she is the right leader to guide OU through future challenges and opportunities.”

Schostak went on to say, “It has been a very challenging time, yet a very exciting time, in Oakland University history. Our president and her cabinet have navigated through unprecedented turbulent times, as a result of a global pandemic, which led to many unexpected challenges. President Pescovitz has not only met those challenges, but as a result, OU has achieved new levels of excellence and made strides in areas including setting higher standards for OU in diversity, equity and inclusion. The ‘Strive for 45’ floor funding program developed by our president has allowed OU to achieve state floor funding, which finally has OU close to achieving parity with other Michigan universities. That has been an issue and a stress point for Oakland University leaders for decades.”

Under the contract extension, Dr. Pescovitz will participate in pay raises similar to Oakland University’s administrative professionals.

Among Oakland’s many accomplishments during President Pescovitz’s tenure:

  • Elevating the priority on diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Being a guiding force in leading the university through the most difficult days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Navigating Oakland through the pandemic, and earning national recognition for OU as a leading advocate for students’ health and safety.

  • Creating programs that address student debt, increasing students’ success toward attaining degrees, obtaining internships and gaining productive career opportunities that benefit local workforce needs.

  • Working to enhance the social mobility of individuals, especially for first-generation and underrepresented students, engaging in local communities, responding to the workforce needs of the region and focusing on the economic development of Southeast Michigan and beyond.

  • Leading a statewide campaign to increase funding for higher education and to make that funding more equitable among the 15 Michigan public universities.

  • Cultivating Oakland as a global campus, and raising the priority for students and faculty to be engaged in their communities.

  • Initiating “Reimagining OU,” an ongoing effort to translate input from faculty and staff into transforming Oakland into “the university of choice.”

  • Overseeing the physical evolution of the campus, including new construction and significant improvements to classroom buildings and infrastructure.

  • Playing a leadership role in the state and beyond by serving on various boards, including Priority Health, Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan, Michigan Association of State Universities (past chair), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), Detroit Drives Degrees Leadership Council (co-chair), Detroit Economic Club (executive committee), NCAA’s Horizon League (chair), and MBX Biosciences.

Under Dr. Pescovitz’s leadership, Oakland has also made steady progress toward a $150 million capital campaign, the largest in school history. She leads by example, having committed more than $1.8 million in personal philanthropic support to Oakland University students and programs.

During her tenure, Dr. Pescovitz has made total cash gifts and payments of $957,000 (including $200,000 in 2023), has outstanding pledge commitments of $123,000 and an estate gift of $750,000.

She has regularly contributed to multiple areas throughout campus and annually supports the faculty and staff giving campaign. Of note, she has created and funded distinct endowments in honor of her mother (focus on biomedical ethics), her parents (focus on diverse faculty support) and her children (focus on student global engagement). She also created a $1M endowment to provide scholarships to attract top undergraduate scholars to Oakland University who not only excel academically, but also have a history of altruistic service in their local communities.

In 2020, Dr. Pescovitz took a voluntary 20% pay reduction as part of addressing the budget shortfall caused by the effects from COVID-19.

Dr. Pescovitz is currently leading a recharge to the strategic plan that is focused on increasing student and faculty success and expanding the impact of Oakland University in the community. In addition, she is continuing efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion opportunities for OU students, faculty and staff. Under her leadership, there has been an increase in the diversity of the student body. Last year’s incoming class included 36.2% first-generation students and 25.7% students from underrepresented minority backgrounds, including 16.3% African American students. Current year numbers look as strong or better.

Dr. Pescovitz continues to be an active presence in the local and national media. She was featured on Fox 2 TV for her memories of attending Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” And, one of her recent manuscripts appeared in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, where she discussed the many mentors who influenced her life and career.

This summer, she was named among the Detroit News Michiganians of the Year and was named among DBusiness magazine’s 500 Most Influential Leaders in metro Detroit. She earned the Partner in Progress award from the City of Pontiac, was a member of Crain’s Detroit Business 100 Most Influential Women list and honored with the Rochester Hills Mayor’s Business Council Executive Leadership Award. She is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Prior to coming to Oakland University, Dr. Pescovitz was Senior Vice President and U.S. Medical Leader for BioMedicines at Eli Lilly and Co., and CEO and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Michigan Medicine from 2009 to 2014. During her tenure at UM, she oversaw $3.3 billion in revenue and $490 million in research funding. She has also served as Executive Associate Dean for Research Affairs at the Indiana University School of Medicine, President and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children, and Interim Vice President for Research Administration at Indiana University.

Dr. Pescovitz is a pediatric endocrinologist who graduated from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine,  where she earned distinguished alumnus awards from both the medical school and Northwestern University. Her partner, Dr. Daniel Walsh, is a cardiologist at Corewell Health East. She is a proud mother to three children, three in-law children and eight grandchildren.

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