Looking Back: Oakland University’s glow up

To be independent is something everyone strives for in life. It’s what an after break up glow up is all about. When Oakland University decided to break up with Michigan state and started undergoing the final stages of separation, they had a glow up of their own.

With the goal of separating completely from Michigan State University by January 2, 1970 — all William Sturner, the one representing the University Steering Committee at the time, was waiting on was a signature from the Board of Trustees.

Once both universities were separated, they were be able to grow at a much faster rate. While this looked like it was going to be a problem back then, that the administrators wouldn’t be able to keep up,things ended up working out just fine 

The next part of the OU glow up, was changing their image. Before OU meant representing being a Golden Grizzly, we were known as the Pioneers. Back in the 80s, a lot of students didn’t even know how to describe what a Pioneer was.

OU announced in 1983 that they were looking to change their mascot name to something better, more catchy. Both the nickname and logo needed an upgrade and OU was asking students to lend a helping hand.

There was a campus wide contest was set in place to find the perfect name for the dreamy Oakland University. The athletic department on campus was sponsoring the consent giving people the incentive to enter.

“The change will let us do more publicity. It will also be easier to create an animal or something else. It’ hard to think of a logo when you are thinking of a Pioneer,” Paul Hartman, the Athletic Director at the time said.

The goal was hopefully to make OU more recognizable so it stood out among the community better. It was going to be an easy adjustment because back then, not a lot of things said “OU Pioneers” on it. 

“We want a name that will last a long time,” Hartman said. “We could probably make the change right away, but it probably wouldn’t be a very good idea to change the name right in the middle of the school year.”

The only difficult part of this big of change was the gymnasium floor, but the athletic department was the majority of the people that wanted and asked for a change. 

Students were able to enter the contest with just their nickname idea, then the top ten were picked to come up with the logo to go with their nickname. The finalist won a $50 prize. Golden Grizzlies won the contest, and the history of OU was changed.

“I am very excited about the change. It’s hard to relate to Pioneers in sports,” Stan Blackford, the Sports Information Director at the time said. “When I think of a Pioneer, I think of turn of the century Pioneers crossing the great prairie.”

Since these developments and changes OU has been thriving with its independence and new logo, and will continue to do so in the years to come.

This article was written using The Oakland Post’s archives. These archives are available to the campus community via the library in the front of  The Oakland Post’s office.