Roots, wings and growth celebrated at Presidential Inauguration

University community welcomed Ora Hirsch Pescovitz with smiles and cheers

After nearly a year of leading Oakland University, Ora Hirsch Pescovitz was formally, and in the opinion of many, finally, inaugurated as the university’s seventh president. A procession of faculty, cabinet members, Board of Trustees members and Presidential Scholars led Pescovitz into the O’rena on Friday, April 20.

Pescovitz entered the room sporting a smile and waved to or shook the hands of many of the students, staff and faculty who called out her name from the stands, something she has become known for around campus in the last year.

“We are both fortunate and grateful to have [Pescovitz] join us in our mission,” BOT Chair Richard DeVore said during opening remarks.

Pescovitz was welcomed by United States Senator Gary Peters, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer Glenn McIntosh and Indiana University President Michael McRobbie. Members of the faculty, staff and alumni also gave remarks along with 2017-18 Student Body President Lena Mishack.

It really takes a special kind of person to be welcomed so quickly into the hearts of students, not only as an esteemed leader, but as a friend as well,” Mishack said. “Furthermore, the importance Dr. Pescovitz places on diversity and inclusion across campus makes students from all walks of life feel accepted and safe. As a few of my friends and colleagues put it, Dr. Pescovitz is one of the best things to happen to Oakland University. I couldn’t agree more.”

Mishack also spoke of her acceptance to medical school, at which time she was at a Detroit Red Wings game with campus leaders. Mishack recalls telling Pescovitz her good news and that Pescovitz, a pediatrician, pulled her aside to share congratulations and advice.

On behalf of the student body, I welcome President Pescovitz to our Golden Grizzly family,” Mishack said. “Know that we celebrate your passion for Oakland University and your leading of our institution to new heights. I know that our university will have the brightest future with your leadership, and will have plenty of fun moments along the way.”

Following Mishack, students from the School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s Take Root group performed a dance and spoken word. Other performances included Music, Theatre and Dance’s Wind Symphony. Pescovitz says she regularly attends student performances on campus and is especially fond of the work done by Oakland’s newest school within the College of Arts and Sciences.

After DeVore and Provost James Lentini formally installed Pescovitz as the president, she delivered her inaugural address, titled “Roots and Wings.”

“A university at its best gives us strong roots to grow and powerful wings to fly,” she said.

Pescovitz spoke of her roots in family, friends, mentors and education. As for her wings, she feels she’s found them at Oakland.

“This is no time to settle or to be complacent,” Pescovitz said. “Like our founders, we will be bold. We’ll show that grit, and those guts.”

As she spoke of her hopes for great accomplishment at Oakland, she made one thing very clear:

“Don’t underestimate us… We’re just getting started.”