Letter to the editor: OUAA support for Russi

By Katie Wolf

Dear Editor,

On the behalf of the Oakland University Alumni Association, and as the declared date for an Oakland faculty “no confidence” vote approaches, we wish to convey our steadfast support for the presidency of Dr. Gary Russi.

For more than a decade, Dr. Russi has led Oakland University to great heights and in the process transformed a relatively unknown university into one today that is regionally known and respected and on its way to national recognition. Through careful planning, collaboration and wise use of resources, Dr. Russi has overseen impressive growth at OU while protecting and enhancing its academic core.

Student enrollment alone has increased by 28 percent since 1999, and with it the growth of faculty.  In 1996, the number of full time faculty totaled 380. Today, our faculty ranks total 527. Since 1996 the university has added an impressive 58 new degree programs and gained doctoral research classification by the Carnegie Institute. Faculty are receiving record amounts of external funding to support path breaking research with funding levels reaching $12.3 million in 2009.

Oakland is a thriving university that has forged hundreds of partnerships that bring untold benefits to students, faculty and alumni. Glance around campus today and you’ll find one that is buzzing with activity, not only in student life opportunities, but in campus infrastructure and improvements. During Dr. Russi’s presidency, he has overseen the expansion, renovation and growth of nine new buildings, adding quality teaching, learning and student life space as well as technology enhancements.

Oakland recently received 10-year, re-accreditation from the North Central Association, affirming the quality of its programs and governance. In February, the university received LCME preliminary accreditation for a new medical school, which will transform and elevate Oakland University, its reputation, recruitment and degree equity.

Add to these accomplishments Oakland’s move to Division I athletics in 1998; a new business incubator on campus and in Macomb County; and completion of the university’s first-ever comprehensive campaign, concluding one year ahead of schedule and surpassing its goal.

All of this has been achieved in the midst of annual declines in state funding to higher education, making Oakland’s growth and evolution all that more impressive.

We’re proud of our alma mater and urge Oakland faculty to vote against a resolution of no confidence.  A no confidence vote now would be a black mark upon all that has been achieved for OU. Let’s not damage Oakland’s success and reputation when it is poised for even more greatness.

Respectfully submitted,

Adrienne Bass

Gregg Garrett ’97 SECS

John Ganfield ’81 SBA

Director for Alumni Relations Chair, OUAA Board

Immediate Past Chair

Lynn Gross ’87 SBA

John Hruska, Jr. ’89 SBA

Anthony Thornton ’76 CAS

Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary