And the name of the new building on campus is…


Shelby Tankersley

Hillcrest Hall nears completion, Oakland awaits a donor to rename it.

Hillcrest Hall might be the new name for the ninth residence hall on campus, but it may not be the name forever. That is, until someone is willing to donate a generous amount of money to the school, the name will remain Hillcrest.

Angie Schmucker, the vice president of development and alumni relations, was able to share the policy and details of proceeding with naming gifts from the marketing and communications office.

A naming gift is a rare philanthropic opportunity to make a gift that will transform the university in some way and may create a legacy with a person, a family or an organization for an extended period of time, perhaps in perpetuity,” the policy states. “Also, because a naming opportunity may be available only once in the university’s history, great care must be taken to assure that the naming gift is adequate to set the pace for future naming gifts as well as to provide a level of funding consistent with an exceptional level of excellence, and to maintain that exceptional level of excellence in the future.”

Gifts to the school can be paid in multiple ways including cash or securities. These can be made over five calendar years, and there is also a binding legal document to memorialize the gracious supporter and their given amount.

In the past, Oakland University mainly looked to faculty with prominent roles in the school to be used for naming buildings. Now the university is looking toward more alternative means to solidify the school’s financial security.

The university’s development office has felt that a great way to recognize someone’s financial contributions through having buildings named after donors such as Elliott Tower. Other buildings like the Human Health Building remain generic so that future contributors can place their name on the building or even just a room.

Room 208 in Oak View Hall is an example of being named after a contributor, as it’s now The Laidlaw Room. 

“We wanted to stay away from names related to Meadow Brook since that is already such a large attraction,” James Zentmeyer, the University’s housing director said.

”We wanted to find a name that could be distinctive as well as descriptive of the geographical placement of the building. We asked several student staff members about how they felt about Hillcrest and we received a lot of positive feedback.”

Overall, the Board of Trustees set criteria for how the naming will be carried out and continually work together with the president’s cabinet to find appropriate names for each building as well as donor. They want to stray away from confusing names such as Pioneer Court being confused with the Pioneer Food Court.

“In the future, I think we’re going to be looking toward advocating for more opportunities to get names for critical and important rooms at OU,” Zentmeyer said.