Oakland University’s new President announced


Taylor Stinson

Ora Hirsch Pescovitz will be Oakland University’s highest paid president to date..

Shelby Tankersley, Editor-In-Chief

A standing-room-only crowd at Oakland University welcomed its seventh president, Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, with applause and cheers Thursday, May 4.

Pescovitz will become the second woman president of OU when she begins on July 1. She will earn $457,500 in the first year of a five-year contract.

She will replace George Hynd, who has served as OU’s president for the last three years. The national search for a replacement began shortly after September 2016 when Hynd’s contract was not renewed. The Board of Trustees narrowed the search down to Pescovitz and Carl Camden.

“I think we were very transparent in this process,” Board of Trustee Chair Richard L. DeVore said. “We were open in the end just like we said we would be. We are convinced we found the right person.”

Much like her open campus forum, Pescovitz accepted the job sporting black, gold and an OU pin. She was met with a happy audience, DeVore hadn’t even finished making the announcement before the room erupted in applause.

“I want to give extreme thanks for your confidence in me,” she said. “This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity.”

Pescovitz said she was happy to see students so involved in her selection process, especially the attendance at her open forum that took place during finals week. She said she is excited to enter such a community.

Her four goals are to achieve academic excellence, make an affordable education, apply student knowledge to solve problems and activating economic growth in OU’s community: what she called the four A’s. She also wants the campus to get to know her and her family.

“I look forward to getting to know the students personally,” she said. “I believe the university is for the students.”

Pescovitz wants to hold quarterly meetings with students in student-centered places on campus like the OC to hear about their concerns. And despite her medical background, she looks forward to working with the arts-based departments.

Because she has been with Eli Lilly since 2014, Pescovitz addressed some of the concern faculty expressed in having a business person be the president of a university in a survey. She plans to use her business experience and 21 years of academic experience to make her mark on OU.

“There are many lessons from industry are relevant to academia,” she said. “For example, I learned some things about running a meeting more efficiently from being in the business. I’m not going to turn Oakland University into a business, but I have learned things that will help.”

Her first goal is to learn to do her job well so she can best serve the university.

“I may be going to president school,” Pescovitz said. “Even though I’m 60-years-old and I’ve been at a lot of schools, I’ve never been a president. So I’m going to be doing lots of learning.”

Some of that learning will come from her transition with Hynd. When she takes office on July, she will begin transitioning with Hynd until he leaves office on August 14.

At the Board of Trustees meeting on June 5, Pescovitz was present via phone. This meeting was Hynd’s last and was transitional in their presidencies. The meeting decided a 3.74 percent tuition increase that Pescovitz will administer. Her first BOT meeting will be on August 7, nearly a month after she has been in office.