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Elliotts give transformational gift to the Oakland University community

Friday, December 21, 2012
Elliotts give transformational gift to the Oakland University community
Hugh and Nancy Elliott, whose philanthropy has benefited Oakland University in many ways over the years, have made a new gift to enable the university to design and construct a 151-foot carillon tower as a centerpiece for the OU campus.

The Elliott Carillon Tower will be complemented by a water fountain, garden and landscaping, and is intended to become a rallying point for student and campus community activities.

“I wanted this bell tower to make a statement, to be a central focus on the campus,” said Nancy Elliott. “And, it had to be designed not just as something pretty, but so that students could use it, as a meeting place and somewhere they could gather.”

President Gary Russi said, “The Elliotts’ remarkable gift will certainly come to symbolize the pride our community has taken in what we’ve accomplished, as well as the promise of even greater success in the future.”

The Elliotts will provide input and guidance on the tower’s planning and design. For example, Nancy Elliott said her preference is for a design that blends traditional and contemporary elements.

“The new clock tower, with all the benefits it will bring to our campus, is a source of pride and excitement for all who are a part of Oakland University,” said OU student Jessica Drogowski, who serves as a student liaison to the Oakland Board of Trustees.

“Knowing that Oakland is part of a community that includes people like the Elliotts, who so generously support and dream with us, is the ultimate source of pride for me. My sincerest gratitude goes out to the Elliotts.”

For 15 years, the Elliotts have provided support for a variety of capital projects, scholarships and charitable functions at OU, including:
  • a $2 million gift toward the advancement of the School of Business Administration, now housed in the R. Hugh and Nancy Elliott Hall of Business and Information Technology;
  • the establishment of endowed scholarship and academic lecture funds, including the Nancy and Hugh Elliott Endowed Scholarship, Dr. Nasir Haque Endowment for Biological Science Scholarships, R. Michael O’Brien Endowed Scholarship Fund, Lori Macauley Athletic Scholarship Endowed Fund, and the Joy James Williams Creative Lecture and Workshop Endowed Fund;
  • contributions toward the construction of the Hugh and Nancy Elliott Room in the O’rena;
  • creation and sponsorship of the President’s Invitational golf outing, which has raised more than $1 million for scholarships; and
  • formation of the first athletics volunteer committee dedicated to fundraising.
Hugh and Nancy Elliott share thoughts about their generous gift to the Oakland University community.
The Elliott’s philosophy on giving is simple, said Hugh Elliott. “When you give, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. I learned many years ago – and it’s true – that even if you give just a little bit, over time, it adds up.”

Eric Barritt, the university’s vice president for Development, Alumni and Community Engagement, added, “To quantify the impact of the Elliotts’ generosity to Oakland University over the years is likely impossible, as it has, without a doubt, helped countless students looking to improve their personal and professional lives through higher education.”

Design and construction timeline details for the carillon are expected to be developed over the coming months, and a groundbreaking ceremony is tentatively planned for the university’s Founders’ Day celebration in mid-April of 2013.