Oakland University

Not to be confused with Oakland College or Oakland City University.
Oakland University
Motto Seguir virtute e canoscenza (Italian)[1]
Motto in English
Seek virtue and knowledge
Type Public
Established 1957
Endowment $84 million[2]
President George W. Hynd
Students 20,169 (Fall 2013) [3]
Undergraduates 16,594 (Fall 2013) [4]
Postgraduates 3,575 (Fall 2013) [4]
Location Campus is in Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills
Mailing address:
2200 N Squirrel Rd Rochester
, Michigan, U.S.
Campus Suburban; 1,443 acres (5.8 km2)
Colors Black & Gold[5]
Nickname Golden Grizzlies
Website www.oakland.edu

Oakland University (OU) is a public university located in the cities of Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills, Michigan.[fn 1] Situated on a 1,443-acre (5.84 km2) campus, it was co-founded by Matilda Dodge Wilson and John A. Hannah. It is the only major research university in Oakland County, from which the school derives its name, and it serves much of the Metro Detroit region.[8] The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has classified OU as a Doctoral Research University.[9]

Oakland University was initially under the banner of Michigan State University as Michigan State University–Oakland, or MSU-O. It opened in 1959 with 570 students and three buildings. In 1963, it became known as Oakland University.[10]

The university's athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Golden Grizzlies. They are members of the Horizon League.



In 1908, John Francis Dodge and his wife Matilda purchased a farmhouse and 320 acres (130 ha) of land known as Meadow Brook Farms, located in central Oakland County.[11] Matilda inherited John's fortune upon his death in 1920 and soon remarried to a lumber baron, Alfred G. Wilson. The couple then built Meadow Brook Hall on the land between 1926 and 1929.[12]

Michigan State University–Oakland

Oakland University was created in 1957 when Matilda Dodge Wilson and her second husband, Alfred Wilson, donated their 1,443-acre (5.84 km2) estate to Michigan State University, including Meadow Brook Hall, Sunset Terrace and all the estate's other buildings and collections, along with $2 million. Main campus buildings were completed on Squirrel Road in Pontiac Township (now the city of Auburn Hills). Originally known as Michigan State University–Oakland, the university enrolled its first students in 1959 and was renamed Oakland University in 1963.

Oakland University

The university has been officially independent since 1970.[13] Wilson asked U.S. Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield to let the university use a Rochester, Michigan mailing address (2200 N Squirrel Rd, Rochester, Michigan 48309[6]), even though the main part of the campus was in Pontiac Township (now the city of Auburn Hills). After Wilson reminded him that she had contributed to his administration, Summerfield granted her request.[14] Rochester is five miles (8.0 km) and two cities away from the main campus buildings.

In September 2009, tenured faculty members represented by the OU chapter of the AAUP went on strike.[15] Issues of contention included the University claiming ownership of professors' copyrights and patents,[16] refusing to allow faculty input into matters of class size and curricula,[17] reduction of health benefits and a three-year salary freeze. The salary freeze was in contrast to OU president Gary Russi, who had just received a $100,000 raise.[15] The University Board of Trustees maintained that the strike was illegal and filed a lawsuit against the Oakland AAUP.[17] After a week's strike, the faculty and administration came to an agreement on a three-year contract, which was implemented.[18]

In January 2012, 56-year-old student Joseph Corlett was suspended for a year from Oakland University after writing “Hot for Teacher” in his Advanced Critical Writing class.[19] He referred to the course instructor as ‘stacked’ and graphically compared her to a sitcom character he fetishized in a 33-page essay.[20] On March 15, 2013, Joseph Corlett filed a $2.2 million federal lawsuit against Oakland University alleging violations of his 1st and 14th Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.[21] The lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Duggan.[20]

During the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, Oakland University hosted a debate between Republican presidential candidates on November 9, 2011. CNBC televised the debate nationally, and the Michigan Republican Party co-sponsored the debate with CNBC.[22][23] Eight candidates participated: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum.

On February 12, 2013, the Oakland University Board of Trustees approved a $65 million investment in campus expansion and improvement projects. Scheduled for completion by the fall of 2014, projects included are: construction of a nearly $30 million student housing complex; dramatic enhancement of outdoor recreation and athletic fields; construction of a 1,240-space parking structure, and; construction of new headquarters for facility and grounds maintenance operations.[24]

The Board appointed George W. Hynd president of the university in July 2014.[25] He replaced Dr. Gary Russi, who retired in August 2013.[26] Russi had replaced Dr. Sandra Packard on an interim basis in 1995 and was appointed president by the Board of Trustee in 1996. Russi's retirement was announced in June 2013, on the same day his wife, Oakland head woman's basketball coach Beckie Francis, was fired.[27]

For the Fall 2013 semester, OU had an enrollment of 20,169 students.[4] OU is the 12th largest college or university in Michigan, 8th largest of 4-year universities. (Based on 2012 enrollement of 19,740)[28]


University rankings
Forbes[29] 529
Washington Monthly[30] 271

Oakland University offers 139 bachelor's degree programs and 127 graduate programs (professional certificates, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees). The main academic units of the university are the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business Administration, the School of Education and Human Services, the School of Engineering and Computer Science, the School of Health Sciences, and the School of Nursing. Additionally, OU supports an Honors College and various study abroad programs.

The Oakland University – Beaumont Nurse Anesthesia Graduate Program began in 1991 as a collaborative initiative to address the nurse anesthesia shortage and provide an exceptional educational environment for training Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. Authority for the program is shared between Oakland University and Beaumont Health System.[31][32] In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked the program tied for 17th in the nation.[33]

Oakland University's School of Business Administration (SBA) is one of only 170 business schools – out of 8,000 worldwide – to hold the elite AACSB-International accreditation in both business and accounting, and also offers Michigan's only Executive MBA program with concentrations in Health Care and IS Leadership.[34] In 2009, the SBA celebrated its 40th anniversary.

In 2008, Oakland University officials announced that the Thomas M. Cooley Law School-Auburn Hills campus has become the exclusive educational law school of Oakland University, and that Oakland University is now the exclusive education partner university of Cooley Law School's Auburn Hills campus.[35]

In 2007, plans were established to start a medical school on the OU campus in partnership with William Beaumont Hospital called the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB or OUWBSM) came to fruition. The medical school was founded in 2008 with classes starting in fall of 2011. OUWBSM is the fourth medical school in the state of Michigan to offer the M.D. degree, received over 3,200 applications for the inaugural class of 50 students. OUWBSM has 225 students as of Fall 2013 and 500 are planned by 2017.[36] The founding dean of the Medical School is Robert Folberg, M.D.[37]

As part of its research mission, OU also supports a number of major research centers and institutes, including the Center for Biomedical Research, the Center for Robotics and Advanced Automation, the Fastening and Joining Research Institute, the Human Systems Initiative, and the renowned Eye Research Institute. Furthermore, OU's Smart Zone Business Incubator (OU INC) provides entrepreneurial resources and expertise to support and foster new technology-based and life science businesses.

Research institutes and centers

OU is home to major research institutes and centers addressing a broad range of interests and industries, including biomedical, public affairs, technology, engineering, education, international studies, and more.


Elliott Tower, completed in 2014

In addition to its location in the cities of Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills, Oakland University maintains an official hometown relationship with the nearby but not adjacent city of Rochester, Michigan.[8] University and city officials signed a partnership agreement in 2003 to officially recognize the relationship between Rochester and OU.[39] In 1959, Rochester Village (now city) officials renamed the one-mile-long (1.6 km) Fifth Street in downtown Rochester "University Drive" to showcase Rochester as a "college town". The road is called Walton Boulevard adjacent to the University in Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills. This is often confused with University Drive in Auburn Hills, which originates at OU's main entrance in Auburn Hills, and continues west into downtown Pontiac. In 2005, the Rochester area was ranked 39th in the CNN/Money Magazine list of the Top 100 American cities in which to live.[40]

OU's campus, which encompasses 1,443 acres (5.84 km2), includes trails and biking paths and two nationally ranked golf courses.[41]

Oakland County

The university's land in Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills is divided into the Main Campus, Meadow Brook Estate, and two golf courses.[42]

Main Campus

Meadow Brook Theatre, which was founded at OU in 1967, is the largest non-profit professional theater in Michigan, and presents a wide variety of award-winning productions throughout the year.[43] Additionally, the Oakland University Art Gallery, which was formerly known as the Meadow Brook Art Gallery, presents at least six different exhibitions each academic year, in addition to hosting a variety of lectures, performances and symposia.[44]

Kresge Library is the main library of Oakland University. It consists of four floors of study rooms and open-area tables. It also contains the Oakland University Archives, the Historical Abraham Lincoln Collection, the Jane M. Bingham Historical Children's Collection,[45] and a tech center.[46] The library is named after Stanley and Sebastian Kresge who were both present for the library's opening in 1962.[47]

In 2009, an 18-hole disc golf course opened. Grizzly Oaks was co-designed by student Jarrett Schlaff and licensed by the Professional Disc Golf Association.[41]

OU's student union, the Oakland Center, was renovated and expanded in 2003. The Oakland Center houses the offices of student organizations, a large food court with multiple restaurants, the student bookstore, a cafe, a pool hall and gaming center, a Student Technology Center, the campus newspaper The Oakland Post, computer labs, conference rooms, as well as the offices of the university radio station, WXOU (88.3 FM). OU also has its own television station (OU TV) which is broadcast on-campus and to the local community.

The campus also offers recreational facilities for intramural sports and for OU's 16 NCAA Division I athletic teams, including the lighted Upper Athletic Fields, the indoor Sports Dome, fields for varsity baseball, softball, and soccer, facilities for basketball, handball, track and weight training. The campus Recreation Center houses OU's state-of-the-art natatorium, and the Athletics Center O'rena, a 4,000-seat field house, is the home court for OU basketball and volleyball.

Meadow Brook Estate

This portion of Oakland University consists of the historic Meadow Brook Hall and the land and buildings surrounding it. The hall, which is a 110-room Tudor revival–style mansion completed in 1929 as OU founder Matilda Dodge Wilson's Oakland County estate, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Meadow Brook Hall is the fourth-largest historic house museum in the United States, and housed a vast collection of historically significant art and furniture, including paintings by Rembrandt, Anthony van Dyck, Rosa Bonheur, Gilbert Stuart, Joshua Reynolds, John Constable, and Thomas Gainsborough, as well as sculptures by Antoine-Louis Barye, Frederic Remington, Cyrus Edwin Dallin, and Herbert Haseltine. Meadow Brook Hall is frequently utilized by the OU community as a site for select university functions, including the popular student event the Meadow Brook Ball.[48] Until 2010, Meadow Brook Hall and its grounds were the site of the annual Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance, one of the largest collector car shows in the world.[49]

The Meadow Brook Music Festival is an outdoor entertainment venue with an on-site pavilion which accommodates close to 8,000 people. In addition to being the site of spring-time graduation ceremonies, Meadow Brook Music Festival also hosts comedians and musical acts. Meadow Brook Music Festival is managed by Palace Sports and Entertainment.[50]

Golf courses

Oakland University has two nationally ranked golf courses that make up most of the southern portion of its land. Katke-Cousins sits on 320 acres (130 ha).[51] Some of the course's 18 holes remain from the 9-hole course John Dodge built when he lived at the estate. The other course, opened in 2000, is the R & S Sharf course.[52]

Macomb County

An office plaza in downtown Mount Clemens, in Macomb County, was donated to the university in 2010 by Gebran Anton and Stuart Frankel. It was repurposed and opened for the fall 2011 semester as the Anton/Frankel Center. It offers several undergraduate and graduate programs.[53]

Oakland University is also among the 12 colleges and universities offering programs at Macomb Community College's University Center.[54]


The O'rena

OU Fight is the Oakland University fight song. Previously known as the Pioneers, the school's teams were renamed the Golden Grizzlies.

Oakland University was used as a training camp for the Detroit Lions in 1989.[55]

Oakland University's men's soccer team became the first Oakland team to move past the first round of their sport's respective NCAA tournament in 2007.[56]

Student life

Although many of Oakland's students commute from surrounding areas, there are more than 2,000 who live on campus in a variety of residence halls, student townhouses, and university apartments.[57] The residence halls include Fitzgerald House, Hill House, Hamlin Hall, Van Wagoner House, Oakview Hall, and the East and West Towers of Vandenberg Hall. Residential learning communities on OU's campus include Scholars Tower and the Residential Honors College community. Eight additional buildings make up the Matthews Court student townhouses, and six major Tudor-style buildings house the University Student Apartments, which were completed in 2002.

Campus life is enhanced by more than 200 registered student organizations, ranging from cultural and religious groups to Greek organizations. Fraternities represented at OU include Theta Chi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Pi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Sigma Phi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia(in Fall of 2015), and Iota Phi Theta. Sororities include Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Sigma Tau, Gamma Phi Beta, Phi Sigma Sigma, Sigma Sigma Sigma (in Fall of 2015), Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho. The so-called Cottage District of campus, which consists of homes originally built for workers employed at the old Meadow Brook Estate, now contain fraternity and sorority houses. Only one (Theta Chi) has an official chapter house off-campus. Additionally, the university owns an adjoining tract of land to the east of the main university campus, which was developed into a neighborhood in which many OU faculty members currently live.


Oakland University's motto is Seguir virtute e canoscenza ("Seek virtue and knowledge").[58] It is a quotation from Dante's Inferno, Canto XXVI, 1. 120. These are the final words of Ulysses' speech to his men urging them to sail on in pursuit of knowledge and experience of the world – even beyond the pillars of Hercules, traditionally the frontier and limit of legitimate exploration. The three-line stanza in Italian, and English:

Considerate la vostra semenza
Fatti non foste a viver come bruti
Ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza.

Consider your birth
You were not made to live like brutes
But to follow virtue and wisdom.


Arts and entertainment


Government and politics



Sports and media


  1. The campus is physically located in the cities of Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills but OU's mailing address is in the nearby, but not adjacent, City of Rochester.[6][7]


  1. OU Motto, Seal and Logo
  2. "Oakland University Fast Facts" (PDF). Oakland University. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  3. "Fall Headcount & FYES 1959-2013 - Office of Institutional Research and Assessment - Oakland University". oakland.edu. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 "10-Year Undergraduate and Graduate Enrollment Fall 2004 - Fall 2013" (PDF). oakland.edu. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  5. "Logo and Colors - University Communications and Marketing - Oakland University". Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  6. 1 2 "Home - Oakland University". oakland.edu.
  7. "Oakland University – Campus Map".
  8. 1 2 "About the Community".
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  10. "Oakland University". Retrieved July 27, 2015.
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  12. "Meadow Brook". Meadowbrookhall.com. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  13. "OU Timeline – OU History".
  14. "OU Timeline – OU History". 1958: Matilda Wilson demands that the university's address match Meadow Brook Hall's Rochester address, even though the main campus lies in Pontiac Township (now the City of Auburn Hills). She prevailed by reminding U.S. Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield that she had been a generous contributor to his Republican administration.
  15. 1 2 David N. Goodman, "Strike by Professors Leads to Canceled Classes in Michigan." Associated Press via The New York Times: September 3, 2009
  16. Williams, Audrey J. (10 September 2009). "Strike Settled, Oakland U. Professors Return to the Classroom". chronicle.com. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  17. 1 2 Santiago Esparza and Mike Martindale, "OU Lawsuit: Strike is Illegal", The Detroit News, September 8, 2009
  18. Jeff Greer, "Oakland University in Michigan's Strike Ends." US News and World Report: September 10, 2009
  19. "'Hot for Teacher' Student's Appeal Denied: Suspended for Writing an Essay". FIRE. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  20. 1 2 "No First Amendment right for student who wrote 'Hot for Teacher' essay, judge says". nydailynews.com. Associated Press. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2014. Joseph Corlett, 57, sued Oakland University after being suspended for his racy, explicit essay. ‘Such expressions, while possibly appropriate in some settings, need not be tolerated by university officials,’ the judge said in tossing the suit.
  21. Goldstein, Sasha (29 May 2013). "Michigan college student sues after suspension for writing 33-page essay about attractive professor". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 6 October 2014. Joseph Corlett, 57, wrote Van Halen homage ‘Hot for Teacher’ essay after being inspired by his own instructor, who he describes as tall, blond and ‘stacked.’
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  23. Oosting, Jonathan (November 10, 2011). "Who stood out at GOP debate? Oakland University faculty, students weigh in (poll)". MLive.com. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
  24. "New construction projects to transform campus, add parking, housing". Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  25. Kidd, Andrew (9 July 2014). "Oakland University appoints George Hynd next president". Oakland Press. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  26. "Oakland University to pay ex-president $230K in deferred compensation". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  27. "Gary Russi steps down as Oakland University president; wife fired as basketball coach". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
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  29. "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016.
  30. "2016 Rankings - National Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
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  32. "Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA) – Graduate Admissions – Oakland University, Rochester, MI". .oakland.edu. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  33. "Best Nursing Anesthesia Programs | Top Nursing Schools | US News Best Graduate Schools". Grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
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  35. "News – News at OU – Oakland University". Oakland.edu. September 15, 2008. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  36. "Oakland University William Beaumont School Of Medicine Welcomes First Class - Press Release". Oakland University. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  37. "Administration - Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine". Oakland University. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  38. "Eye Research Institute". Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  39. "OU and City of Rochester announce partnership".
  40. "Rochester, OU's college town ranked in top 100 cities".
  41. 1 2 "Grizzly Oaks disc golf opens » The Oakland Post". Oaklandpostonline.com. September 16, 2009. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  42. "Campus" (PDF). Oakland University.
  43. Meadow Brook Theatre
  44. Oakland University Art Gallery
  45. . Library Thing https://www.librarything.com/venue/14428/Oakland-University-Kresge-Library. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  46. Zemke, Jon (3 September 2009). "Oakland U opens new tech center in Kresge Library". Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  47. Spina, Tony. http://reuther.wayne.edu/node/9044. Retrieved 22 December 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  48. "Students vying for Meadow Brook Ball tickets flood the basement of the Oakland Center » The Oakland Post". Oaklandpostonline.com. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  49. "General Info". Concoursusa.org. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  50. "Palace Sports & Entertainment". Palacenet.com. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  51. Oakland Technology Park, Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills: Environmental Impact Statement. 1986. p. 316.
  52. "Oakland University Opens in Macomb County". Macomb County. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  53. "Macomb University Center". Macomb Community College. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  54. George, Thomas (August 7, 1989). "Toothless Lions Hope to 'Restore the Roar'". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  55. "Oakland History - Year by year timeline". goldengrizzlies.com. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  56. "Ask OU – Housing – Oakland University". Oakland.edu. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  57. "OU Motto, Seal and Logo – OU History – Oakland University". Oakland.edu. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  58. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "From Freddy Krueger to Olympic athletes". The Oakland Press. March 18, 2005. Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2009.
  59. "A.P.J. Abdul Kalam – Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost – Oakland University". Oakland.edu. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  60. "N.R. Narayana Murthy – Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost – Oakland University". Oakland.edu. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  61. "From Pop-Ups to Pop Quizzes: Former Tiger Now a Classroom All-Star". royaloak.patch.com. Retrieved September 25, 2012.

Further reading

Coordinates: 42°40′22″N 83°12′57″W / 42.672659°N 83.215776°W / 42.672659; -83.215776

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