Oakland University has continued to grow since its
beginning. When it first opened in 1959, only 570 students
were enrolled. The charter class graduated in 1963 with 125
students receiving diplomas. Today, more than 16,000
students attend classes at OU each fall, and there are more
than 62,000 alumni.
Oakland University was created in 1957 when the late Alfred
and Matilda Wilson donated $2 million and their 1,500-acre
estate to Michigan State University to start a new college
in Oakland County. Named Michigan State University Oakland,
the college enrolled its first students in 1959. The name
changed to Oakland University in 1963. In 1970, the Michigan
Legislature recognized the maturity and stature of Oakland
University by granting it autonomy, and Michigan's governor
appointed OU's first Board of Trustees.
In 1908, John and Matilda Dodge purchased a 320-acre farm on
what is now Oakland University's campus. As co-founder of
Dodge Brothers Motor Cars, John Dodge quickly prospered in
the burgeoning auto industry. When he died in 1920 from
influenza, he left Matilda one of the nation's wealthiest
Alfred and Matilda Wilson
Matilda later married Alfred Wilson, a lumber broker. The
Wilsons expanded the estate to 1,500 acres and built Meadow
Brook Hall, a 110-room, 80,000-square-foot,
Tudor-revival-style mansion. The mansion, built between 1926
and 1929, cost about $4 million. The Wilsons also added
numerous farm buildings, recreational facilities, formal
gardens and a modern-style house known as Sunset Terrace
before donating their estate to Michigan State University.
Quality Academic Programs
"U.S. News & World Report" ranks Oakland University among
national public universities in the 2003-04 edition of
America's Best Colleges.
"U.S. News & World Report" ranks the Oakland
University/Beaumont Graduate Program of Nurse Anesthesia
sixth in the United States in its 2004 edition of the "Best
Graduate Schools." It also is the only nurse anesthesia
program in the country to receive a $300,000 grant from the
Department of Health and Human Services for program
development, according to the Federal Register.
The Princeton Review included Oakland University in its
first edition of "The Best Midwestern Colleges." Oakland is
featured among the top 150 schools in 11 states along with
Indiana University, Notre Dame, Northwestern, University of
Chicago, University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin.
Oakland is ranked as one of the nation's most underrated
schools in the 2004 edition of The Unofficial Unbiased Guide
to the 328 Most Interesting Colleges, based on classroom
experience, campus environment and student life, along with
Arizona, Duke and the University of Chicago.
The Department of Art and Art History began offering a
Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art in the fall 2003
semester. The liberal arts degree is offered in only five
The College of Arts and Sciences began offering a Master of
Arts in liberal studies in fall 2003.
OU's School of Nursing introduced two new master's degree
programs, a Master of Science in adult/gerontological nurse
practitioner and a Master of Science in nursing education in
the fall 2003 semester.
The School of Business Administration introduced the Product
Life Cycle Management Program to address the essentials of
effective product management, from the initial stages of
product conception through full production. Experienced
practitioners and guest lecturers lead each of five
three-day workshops with readings, lectures, exercises,
cases and active practice. The courses are offered as stand
alones or toward a certification of completion if
participants complete the series.
OU's Rhetoric, Communication and Journalism Department
joined with the English Department and OU administration to
improve student writing and communications skills across the
board by creating a program called Writing Across
Curriculum. The program introduces writing and
communications more prevalently in all subject areas, from
accounting to zoology, with the idea that the more writing
and communication work a student does the more proficient he
or she will become in it.
Oakland's Honors College offers highly motivated students
seeking a rich, valuable and challenging undergraduate
education an intimate and intellectually friendly
atmosphere. The program offers a specially designed core of
general education courses in art, literature, western
civilization, international studies, social science,
mathematics, logic and computer science, and natural science
The master's program in public affairs/administration
received a six-year accreditation from the National
Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.
OU offers freshmen tools to help them meet the challenges of
their first year of college with a Web-based student success
program called Freshman OUtlook. The program delivers weekly
tips, advice and resource links right to the Oakland e-mail
address of each student in the program. Parents of new
students may participate in a complementary program called
With a $2-million grant from the National Institutes of
Health, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Xiangqun Zeng and
Assistant Professor of Biology Gabrielle Stryker are
attempting to create a novel biosensor to distinguish the
presence of hazardous biological or chemical agents. The
hand-held device will instantaneously detect a single
molecule of anthrax, smallpox, HIV or SARS.
Oakland University charter faculty member Paul Tomboulian
earned the title of Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.
Tomboulian, who came to the university in 1959 as the first
and only chemistry professor, served for 35 years as
department chair. He garnered OU's first research grant,
initiated the first undergraduate research program and
introduced the first science-based environmental health
major in Michigan. Only 10 faculty members have received the
distinguished professor rank.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded Daniel
Aloi, assistant professor, mechanical engineering in the
School of Engineering and Computer Science a $413,000 grant
to develop a satellite landing system for aircraft. The
study, "High Fidelity Antenna Model Development for Creation
of LAAS CAT-I Siting Criteria," will be completed on campus
and at the Oakland County International Airport in Pontiac.
The National Science Foundation awarded Balaji Rajagopalan,
assistant professor in the School of Business
Administration, a $154,790 grant to research "Virtual
Investing-Related Communities and Online Investing: A Study
of Adoption, Usage, Performance and Policy Implications."
Rajagopalan is researching how information is generated,
discussed and diffused within investment-related virtual
Frank Giblin, associate director of the Eye Research
Institute, won a $150,000 grant from NASA to study the
effect of radiation in space.
As part of a course assignment, Oakland University's
marketing students developed marketing plans to promote the
Pontiac School District within the community. Mukesh
Bhargava, marketing professor, and his students created
marketing plans for the Pontiac School District in their
Promotional Strategies class. Students presented their work
to district officials who reviewed the ideas to use in
Hosted by OU's Center for Multicultural Awareness, four OU
students earned $5,000 scholarships at the 11th annual
Keeper of the Dream Banquet in 2003: junior education major
Crystal Wilkerson, sophomore women's studies and sociology
major Sumeera Younis, sophomore biochemistry major Steven
Townsend and junior elementary education major Crystal
Allen. Bank One, Champion Enterprises, the OU Alumni
Association and William Beaumont Hospital generously
sponsored scholarships in 2002 and 2003.
Oakland University recently created the International
Education Office to increase awareness of the numerous
opportunities for students and faculty to study and teach
abroad. The office serves as a one-stop international
education center for students and promotes international
faculty teaching opportunities and exchanges. OU students
can study abroad at prestigious institutions in Austria,
China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and
Oakland's nationally acclaimed University Trustee Academic
Success scholarship program (OUTAS) helps OU create an
ethnically and culturally diverse group of high-achieving
students. Ranked as one of the seven best student retention
programs in the nation by "Black Issues in Higher Education"
magazine, the program also received the Noel-Levitz
Retention Excellence Award. The OUTAS program is made
possible through support from the OU Foundation.
Oakland University's Entrepreneurship Institute teaches
business skills to 25 disadvantaged teens through a one-week
residential educational experience. Through classroom
instruction, mentoring sessions and experiential learning,
participants learn what it takes to be successful
entrepreneurs. Students receive a $500 scholarship and
compete for additional financial awards through a business
plan competition. SBC and the Kauffman Center for
Entrepreneurial Leadership provide financial support for the
Oakland University's student affiliate of the Society of
Automotive Engineers (SAE) achieved its best-ever finish at
the 2003 Collegiate Design Series Formula SAE competition in
May at the Pontiac Silverdome. The engineering students
conceived, designed, fabricated and competed compact
formula-style racing cars in the four-day design
competition. OU finished 13th out of 140 teams overall,
outpacing last year's 123rd-place finish. Steven Sharf and
David Fischer, both longtime supporters of the School of
Engineering and Computer Science and OU, provided funds to
purchase materials for students to use in building cars from
Oakland's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team finished
in the top 16 in the country at the 2003 SIFE USA National
Exposition. The team also was named a finalist in three
separate exposition competitions: Business Ethics and Social
Responsibility, Financial Independence, and
Entrepreneurship. Teams from 146 universities and colleges
from around the nation competed in the exposition. This was
sponsored in large part by SBC.
Junior nursing major Jeri Raab earned the 2003 Lorene R.
Fischer Award from the Detroit Newspapers, who named her
Michigan Student Nurse of the Year. A panel of judges
comprised of nurses, instructors and various nursing board
members selected Raab from a field of 150 nominees. Award
criteria includes high academic achievement, active
participation in the community and involvement in direct
patient care. Raab received $500 and a trophy in recognition
of her honor. She also was accepted for a Mayo Clinic summer
As a Langley Research Summer Scholar, Matt Rizzo, SECS
alumnus, spent 400 hours over 10 weeks this summer working
at NASA with a mentor on computer and electronics
programming for an Autonomous Air Vehicle.
OU journalism major Andrea Zarcynski earned an Outstanding
Communication Student Scholarship from the Detroit Chapter
of Women in Communications. She was one of only three
Michigan students to receive this honor.
OU junior Mike Helms garnered national media attention as
one of the NCAA's top scorers in Division I men's
basketball. The guard finished third in the nation with a
26.9 points-per-game average. Helms, along with sophomore
guard Rawle Marshall and sophomore forward Courtney Scott
led the nation in scoring for three players on the same
team. Helms also was named the Mid-Continent Conference
Men's Basketball Player of the Year and an honorable mention
All-American by the Associated Press in 2002-03.
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) named the
Oakland University ASSE section the outstanding Student
Section in the nation for 2002-03. In addition, two OU ASSE
members earned scholarships. Bobbie Schaefer was awarded a
$5,250 United Parcel Service Scholarship, and Stacy Ruby won
a $3,375 Ford Motor Company Scholarship.
On average, Oakland's statistics show that more than 89
percent of its graduates are employed within the first four
months following graduation.
OU's men's cross country team won its first ever Mid-Con
championship in the 2002-03 season.
The women's soccer team won its third straight Mid-Con
Tournament title and made its second straight NCAA
Tournament appearance during the 2002-03 season.
The men's soccer won its first Mid-Con Tournament title and
made its first trip to the NCAA Tournament as a Division 1
team in the 2002-03 season.
OU's men's lacrosse club finished its most successful season
in 2002-03, ending with a 15-3 record and number 10 ranking
in the United States Lacrosse Intercollegiate Associates
OU's women's swimming and diving team claimed its second
consecutive National Independent Conference championship
title in 2003, edging out Northern Arizona by only one
point. Along the way, the Golden Grizzlies set four NIC
records, five pool records and 10 school records.
The OU men's swimming and diving team placed 27th in the
country at the NCAA Championships in March 2003, the highest
finish ever for the Golden Grizzlies. Five members of the
team represented Oakland at the three-day NCAA meet,
including junior Sean Broadbent, freshman Scott Dickens,
senior Doug Drazin, freshman Eric Lynn and sophomore Chris
The Golden Grizzlies softball team qualified for the NCAA
Championships for a second consecutive year after winning
the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament title and finishing
the season at 34-26-1 in the 2002-03 season.
The Mid-Continent Conference named OU junior Ryan Rzepka its
2002-03 Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the most
prestigious individual honor given by the league. Rzepka, a
defenseman for OU's men's soccer team, is just the second
student-athlete from Oakland to be selected for the honor.
President George W. Bush personally recognized Oakland
University student Lenwood Compton, an elementary education
major, twice in the 2002-03 academic year for his
outstanding service as a member of AmeriCorps. In October
2002, Compton served as a Freedom Corps greeter, an honor
bestowed upon individuals who best exemplify the president's
call to service, at the Oakland County International
Airport. In January 2003, President Bush invited Compton to
sit with First Lady Laura Bush during the State of the Union
address in Washington, D.C. Compton also participated in a
national panel on mentoring at the behest of President Bush.
The Eye Research Institute received a five-year, $1-million
Vision Research Infrastructure Development Grant from the
National Eye Institute in 2003. OU and the ERI will receive
a total of $1 million over the term of the grant. The award
will support two laboratory research modules, Ocular
Ultrastructure and Cell and Molecular Biology, and will
permit the institute to purchase a real-time Polymerase
Chain Reaction machine and establish a Microarray Analysis
The Oakland University Research Advisory Committee named 30
student recipients of the provost-sponsored University
Student Research Scholar Awards. The research scholar
program exposes students to the challenges and excitement
gained by pursuing independent research projects with $1,000
grants for approved projects.
OU's School of Engineering and Computer Science opened the
Fastening and Joining Research Institute in spring 2003. The
mission of the FAJRI is to pursue fundamental and applied
research and to develop and disseminate new technologies in
the area of fastening and joining engineering. This research
will improve the safety and reliability of equipment,
machinery and mechanical structures. FAJRI received $3.8
million in grants from the federal government as well as
support from DaimlerChrysler.
DaimlerChrysler named Oakland University's Product
Development and Manufacturing Center a "Center of
Excellence" in recognition of its system engineering
training and consulting work. Established in 1997, the PDMC
is an internationally recognized entity providing education,
applied research and technology transfer for the auto
Recognized as one of the country's 110 doctoral
research-intensive universities by the Carnegie Foundation
for the Advancement of Teaching, Oakland University offers
students opportunities to work directly on research projects
with expert faculty.
Oakland University has been instrumental in forming a new
Oakland County SmartZone. The initiative combines the
expertise and innovation of university researchers with the
production of businesses and the tax support of cities to
expand existing technology labs and attract research
companies. SmartZone includes Oakland County, Rochester
Hills, Auburn Hills, Southfield, Oakland University and
Lawrence Technological University.
Thomas M. Cooley Law School extended its successful
partnership with Oakland, a year after the two schools
joined forces to offer Cooley classes on OU's campus. The
partnership allows students to take the first two years of
Cooley's standard curriculum at OU.
Alumnus Barry Klein contributed $2 million to fund the Barry
M. Klein Endowed Chair in Culture and Globalization in the
Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Barry M.
Klein Endowed Scholarship benefiting Honors College
The new Crittenton Hospital Medical Center Multimedia
Laboratory, made possible through a $75,000 grant from
Crittenton Hospital, advances the Oakland's ability to
deliver a distinctive undergraduate education in the School
of Nursing by providing a setting where students can
practice skills, use interactive technologies, work in teams
and gain confidence.
Through a collaboration of government, business and
education, Oakland University, in partnership with
Automation Alley, participated in a trade mission to China
in spring 2002. Through the mission, OU will continue
supporting education needs in Oakland County by providing
global partnering opportunities to its students, faculty and
business partners. OU is exploring strategic partnerships
and student and faculty exchange programs.
Oakland's School of Education and Human Services joined
forces with Cranbrook Institute of Science to offer five-day
courses in earth science and astronomy for teachers of
grades 3 through 12. Using hands-on activities for teaching
both sciences, each course investigated important concepts
outlined in the Michigan Curriculum Frameworks.
Oakland will serve as a host institution for first and
second round games in the 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball
Tournament. The NCAA Tournament Committee selects hosts
based on a variety of factors, one of which is proximity to
a large, professional arena, such as The Palace of Auburn
Hills where the tournament will be played. The 2006
tournament will be the first time OU has hosted an NCAA
event since becoming a Division I institution in 1998.
In its exclusive state-by-state rankings, "Golf Digest"
ranked OU's R & S Sharf Golf Course 21st among Michigan's
855 golf courses. The 18-hole championship course and
state-of-the-art practice facility, which opened in 2000,
was designed and built by nationally renowned golf course
architects Rick Smith and Warren Henderson.
"USA Weekend" magazine cited the Oakland University chapter
of the Golden Key International Honour Society in its April
27, 2003, issue honoring those contributing to the 2002 Make
a Difference Day. The magazine recognized the chapter for
planting trees and shrubs in a vacant lot on Detroit's east
side where homes for economically disadvantaged families are
to be built.
Oakland University and the Pontiac Oakland Symphony
Orchestra are partnering to provide high-level orchestral
performances to the Oakland County community, while offering
Oakland University music, theatre and dance students the
chance to interact and perform with a regional symphony
orchestra. The symphony orchestra will now be known as the
Oakland Symphony, with the rehearsal space, equipment and
instruments provided by Oakland University. The orchestra
will continue to perform in Varner Recital Hall on Oakland's
campus as well as in other venues in the region.
Oakland University provides its student body and the
community with opportunities to listen to, and sometimes
interact with, regional, national and international leaders.
In the last year alone, OU has hosted President George W.
Bush and Poland President Aleksander Kwasniewski during an
official state visit, one of the state's gubernatorial
debates and past Poland President Lech Walesa.
OU is one of 170 sites selected to be part of the National
Writing Project, a professional development program for
teachers looking to improve student writing. Partners in
OU's Meadow Brook Writing Project include Detroit Public
Schools, OU's Public School Academies, Oakland Community
College, the Pontiac School District and the Macomb
Intermediate School District.
For the eighth straight year, Oakland University is
reporting an enrollment increase. Fall 2003 student
enrollment was 16,576 students, a 3.2 percent increase over
fall 2002 enrollment. Freshman enrollment is up 12 percent,
with undergraduate student totals increasing 2.6 percent and
graduate student totals increasing 5.6 percent.
The Oakland Center (OC), OU's student center, opened doors
to its addition in fall 2003. The expanded center provides
330 more seats in the food court, a 7,000-square-foot
multi-purpose room that can seat 600, a 24-hour computer
lounge featuring wireless Internet connectivity and an
80-seat coffee shop. A new atrium for South Foundation Hall
provides an unobstructed view of the new glass façade of the
remodeled Oakland Center.
Oakland University is in the midst of its first year-long
campuswide effort to study its athletics program as part of
the NCAA Division I certification process. Specific areas
include academic and fiscal integrity, governance, rules
compliance, and commitment to equity, student-athlete
welfare and sportsmanship. NCAA Division I programs must be
certified every 10 years to ensure the integrity of the
institution's athletics operations. The university community
and the public have an opportunity to comment via a Web site
developed for this purpose.
Oakland County home of OU
Oakland University is located in Oakland County - the third
most affluent county in the United States and the fastest
growing county in Michigan. Oakland County houses facilities
for nearly 200 Fortune 500 companies, including five world
headquarters. More than 400 internationally owned companies
also are located here.
Oakland County's rolling hills, wetlands and woodlands
provide beautiful neighborhoods and plenty of year-round
recreation. The surrounding community also offers an
abundance of entertainment, cultural and other social
opportunities. Together, all this makes Oakland County a
great place to live, work and go to school.
Here are just a few of the activities offered in the
Art Museum — The sixth-largest fine arts museum in the
United States — The Detroit Institute of Arts — houses more
than 60,000 works and is located in downtown Detroit.
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Cider Mills — Goodson, Paint Creek, Rochester and Yates
cider mills all are located in Rochester and offer seasonal
opportunities for outings.
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Concerts — A variety of concerts and special events are held
at the Palace of Auburn Hills, DTE Energy Music Theatre,
Meadow Brook Music Festival and the Pontiac Silverdome.
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Historical Museum — Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village,
located in Dearborn, is the nation's largest indoor/outdoor
history museum, which includes 88 acres of historic homes
and buildings spanning 300 years of American history.
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Historical Sites — Besides Meadow Brook Hall on OU’s campus,
there are a number of historical sites in the area including
Olde World Canterbury Village in Lake Orion, which is the
former farm of newspaper publisher Howard Scripps.
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Movies — Students can watch movies on campus or check out
listings at the many area theaters.
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Nightlife — A thriving nightlife can be found in downtown
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Sporting Events — You can attend sporting events on campus,
or a short drive away is the Palace of Auburn Hills for
Detroit Pistons men's basketball, Detroit Shock women's
basketball and Detroit Fury arena football.
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Zoo — The Detroit Zoo is located not too far away in Royal
Downhill Skiing - Three downhill skiing resorts are located
in Oakland County.
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Golf Courses - You can golf on OU's two golf courses or at
the more than 30 courses located in Oakland County.
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Parks - Besides the many city and township parks, Oakland
County has 11 different county parks and 8 state parks that
offer year-round recreation including camping, hiking,
swimming, boating, fishing, golfing, biking, picnicking,
cross-country skiing, ice skating and ice fishing.
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Recreation Trail - The trailhead for the 8.5-mile Paint
Creek Trail, which is a non-motorized recreation trail for
hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding,
is located in downtown Rochester.
• Many close-by neighborhoods offer shopping districts such
as Rochester, Birmingham and Royal Oak.
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• The Village of Rochester Hills, an outdoor shopping center
with several restaurants and upscale shops, is located next
to Oakland’s campus.
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• Five major shopping malls also are located near Oakland’s
campus including Great Lakes Crossing, Lakeside Mall,
Oakland Mall, Somerset Collection and the Summit Place Mall.
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• Olde World Canterbury Village extends over 21 acres and
contains the Kings Court Castle restaurant and 18 specialty
shops, including Always Christmas, a 90,000-square-foot,
year-round Christmas store.