OU President’s $1M gift for scholarships cultivates next generation of leaders
Oakland University will receive a $1 million gift to support scholarships for academically exceptional high school graduates. The gift, made by Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, will be administered by OU’s Honors College with the goal of fostering scholarly work and leadership skills of the next generation of community, civic and business leaders.
“We are committed to improving the quality of life in the region, and an essential part of that is to cultivate students’ potential and leadership abilities that will have a transformative impact on our communities,” said Pescovitz. “Oakland’s mission is built on the vital connection between students’ success and community success.”
The newly named Pescovitz Presidential Scholarship program provides direct scholarship support for students entering/enrolling beginning next fall, and creates an endowment for scholarships in perpetuity. To qualify, students must demonstrate intellectual vision and creativity, an ability to solve problems, and a commitment to improving their communities.
“With the anticipation of returning to campus for a new school year, and especially after the challenges our students overcame during last year’s pandemic pivot, we thought it was an exciting and appropriate time to announce this latest investment in our students,” said Pescovitz.
The scholarships are to attract high-achieving students and support Pescovitz’s vision to make Oakland University the ‘university of choice.’”
Her recent donation brings her cumulative lifetime philanthropic giving to the university to $1.78 million in gifts and commitments during her tenure as president. Those gifts have benefitted 51 different areas across the university.
Earlier this year, President Pescovitz created two endowments with gifts and commitments of $500,000. A third endowment was created in 2020 with a gift of $25,000. The endowments include The Malouf, Pescovitz, Ruchim Family Endowment for Global Student Experiences; The Rabbi Richard G. and Bella Hirsch Faculty Endowment for Racial and Social Justice Endowment; and the Bella Rozencweig Hirsch Endowment for Biomedical Ethics.
"Once again, President Pescovitz has demonstrated her unwavering commitment to student success with another remarkable gift to Oakland University,” said Mike Westfall, vice president, University Advancement, who noted the president’s recent gift follows in the legacy of philanthropy established by OU founder Matilda Dodge Wilson.
“This magnificent new scholarship has the potential to change the world for the better through students right here on our campus,” said Oakland University Honors College Dean Graeme Harper. “It's going to support high-achieving students who commit not only to their own success, but to the success of others and our community."
Honors College enrollment has been steadily increasing in recent years. The college graduated a record 164 students this past year with 83 earning their degrees as Presidential Scholars. That is 40 more Honors College graduates than in any other year in OU’s history and four times the number of graduates from nine years ago.