Three honored with OU’s top student awards

Three honored with OU’s top student awards
Wilson and Human Relations Award winners
Pictured from left: Carlie Austin, Zachary Walker, OU President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz and Caroline Wolber.

Each spring, the Oakland University Board of Trustees takes time to recognize three senior students for distinguishing themselves as outstanding scholars and leaders on campus and in the community. 


The Alfred G. Wilson and Matilda R. Wilson awards – the most prestigious honors the university presents to students – have recognized OU’s top male and female scholars and leaders since 1965. The awards commemorate the Wilson family, whose generous donation of land and financial resources helped establish the university in 1957.


The Human Relations Award recognizes a student who has made a valuable social impact within the university community. A committee that reviews nominations from faculty, staff and students selects award recipients. Recommended candidates are ultimately approved as honorees by the vice president for student affairs and chief diversity officer, and the president.


Matilda R. Wilson Award: Carlie Austin, Nursing


Carlie Austin has been a leader on OU’s campus, in the classroom and in the surrounding community. Her academic achievements include being a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society and the winner of numerous scholarships. Along with being the first African American to receive the Tekla Strom Ylvisaker Scholarship, Austin is a 2016 recipient of OU’s Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Award, which recognizes students who promote racial and cultural understanding on campus.


Additionally, Austin was a member of the School of Nursing Dean’s Circle, Student Nurses Association of OU and Black Student Nurses Association of OU, as well as an Orientation Group Leader. She has served the community by volunteering at Grace Centers of Hope, making blankets for children in hospitals, and being a youth leader and Sunday School teacher at her church.


Alfred G. Wilson Award: Zachary Walker, Biomedical Sciences


Through his involvement in athletics, campus organizations and global outreach efforts, Zachary Walker has made a positive impact on the local community and the world. He’s served others by participating in mission trips to renovate a church in Belize, work at an orphanage in Guatemala and work at medical clinics in Panama.


He was also a member of OU’s soccer team, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Stellar Oncology Club, which provides care packages to cancer patients. Working with Oakland University’s Autism Outreach Services (OUCARES), Walker helped provide soccer camps for children on the autism spectrum – all while maintaining a 3.86 GPA, making the Dean’s List every semester and receiving the Durward B. Varner Scholarship.

Watch the YouTube video created by Oakland University's Athletic Department where Walker talks about his Wilson Award.


Human Relations Award: Caroline Wolber, International Relations, and Public Administration and Public Policy


Caroline Wolber took on the challenge of pursuing two degrees at OU, while making tremendous contributions to OU’s campus life. She was a member of OU’s Honors College and Sigma Pi Alpha Political Science Honor Society, and also served as a writing consultant at the university’s Writing Center.


In addition, she was a champion for various social causes through her involvement with the Young Democratic Socialists of OU, Feminists of OU, ONE Campaign at OU, UNICEF and NextGen Michigan. She also participated in several OU Days of Service, an initiative devoted to making a difference in the community, and volunteered at Immanuel Lutheran Church in her hometown of Macomb, Michigan.  


To learn more about the Wilson and Human Relations Awards at Oakland University, visit the website