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Alum fellowship supports biomedical research

Monday, June 20, 2011
Alum fellowship supports biomedical research

Oakland University alumnus Michael Kenny, CAS ’78, has made a gift to the Undergraduate Research in Science Fund. The fund provides stipends for students who conduct summer research alongside faculty members. In giving to the fund, Kenny hopes to give current OU students the opportunity to engage in research with enthusiasm and curiosity, and to promote OU’s progress in scientific research. 

Kenny was impressed by OU’s extensive reach of faculty research programs. Undergraduate research is a high-impact educational experience. As explained by Ron Sudol, dean, College of Arts and Sciences, “Well-designed research projects encourage critical thinking and create intellectual excitement. Summer research opportunities are particularly significant, as students can spend more hours working closely with faculty mentors gaining valuable hands-on experience, and generating important new results in chemistry and the biological sciences.”

To continue attracting the best and brightest science students, OU must continue promoting an environment rich with undergraduate research opportunities. Thus, increasing fellowship support for summer research opportunities is integral to maintaining the integrity of OU’s science departments. Kenny’s gift does just that; it provides undergraduate students monetary support while encouraging scientific research during the summer months.

Kenny, a prominent trial attorney, who triple majored in philosophy, history and political science, is constantly called on to analyze new and challenging issues, think and rethink complex appellate questions, and to solve multifaceted legal problems. He finds that his liberal arts education at Oakland laid a solid foundation for a lifelong learning experience and stressed the importance of critical thinking, persuasive writing, and the rewards of a heightened curiosity and innate quest for the truth.

Kenny stresses that “Students who demand the most from themselves, seek out the most challenging courses and the most demanding professors, and accept constructive criticism as motivation for deeper understanding and better performance … will stand the best chance of success in their chosen profession.”

Kenny’s own OU education taught him to challenge his own beliefs and assumed understanding, and to live an enriched life filled with constant intellectual pursuits. Kenny’s gift will encourage students to continue challenging scientific questions, and to tackle their research with eagerness and dedication.