From Pioneers to Grizzlies: Oakland University celebrates its alumni


There are now 100,000 nurses, journalists, engineers and other successful professionals across the world that got their start right here.

By Alexus Bomar

In December 2014, Oakland University celebrated 100,000 alumni. There are now 100,000 nurses, writers, engineers and other successful professionals across the world that got their start right here.

Oakland University was first founded in 1957, and they were known as The Pioneers. At that time, the unofficial mascot was known as “Pioneer Pete.” 

The Oakland University Alumni Association (OUAA) is a community of alumni and friends who maintain an active role in many programs that support the university.

Once you graduate from OU, you become part of this community to make a difference for students in the future.

The OUAA benefits the university by sponsoring several different activities, including person-to-person networking. The OUAA members offer their personal, professional and/or financial resources. Members act as liaisons between the university and the community.

OUAA has several scholarships offered and each has unique eligibility criteria. If your parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle is an alumni of OU, then you have a chance to receive OUAA’s Legacy Award or Legacy Transfer Award.  

After graduating from college, many OUAA members choose to move to places that attract talent and help find long-term success that college graduates crave.

However, many alumni are still here in Michigan – working in some of the top companies such as Quicken Loans and Chrysler.  Some alumni even come back to OU to become part of the staff.  

While 669 alumni live outside the U.S., there is one alumni living in each county here in Michigan.

Students can get involved in upcoming alumni events: Stuff your resume with Jay Block on March 4 at 8 p.m., Attend the Capitol on March 10 or check out the Oakland Symphony Orchestra at the DSO on April 1 at 6 p.m.

To find out more information about OUAA, check out Oakland University’s Alumni Engagement homepage.

        Quick Pioneer Facts:

  • First OU unofficial mascot

  • Pioneer Pete was the mascot from 1957 to 1997

  •  The pioneer costume consisted of a fringed leather jacket, moccasins, a coonskin cap & a toy rifle

    Quick Grizz Facts:

  • Debut at a basketball game against MSU on Nov.17, 1998

  • Grizz Gang- OU’s official athletics spirit squad

  • Grizz statue built in 2008, located by the Athletic Center

    Quick OU Facts:

  • OU was part of MSU

  • September 17, 1959-First Convocation

  • 1963- First Graduation, known as the Charter Class, includes 125 members

  • September 2013- 50th “Golden” Reunion