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Every year Oakland University's Graduate School recognizes its students and faculty for a job well done. View all of the available awards from the list provided below.  

The Don and Jan O'Dowd Graduate Award goes to a top graduate student annually, who has made outstanding contributions through exemplary leadership and/or service at Oakland University, and/or the surrounding community. 

The Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of individual faculty who serve as mentors to OU graduate students and their outstanding contributions to students' academic, intellectual and professional development. We encourage all current graduate students to nominate their mentor today.

Nominations are due Monday, November 4, 2024 by 5 pm.

Winners will be recognized at Founders Day and will receive a $1,000 award to be paid to the faculty.


Faculty members, including department chairs and graduate program coordinators, from academic departments offering a master's or doctoral graduate program are eligible. In addition, nominees must:

  • Be active in graduate education at OU for a minimum of three years
  • Not have won this award in the previous five years


Faculty can contribute to the development and support of graduate students in a variety of ways. The following criteria are intended as general guidelines for nominating faculty members:

  • Encourages graduate student publication, external grant funding, conference presentations, and other professional development opportunities
  • provides a supportive environment which facilitates the development of best performance and talents from graduate students
  • cultivates the development from student to colleague
  • acts as an advocate and mentors graduate students in administrative, organizational, and professional matters
  • attracts graduate student to OU through active recruitment and academic/scholarly reputation
  • educates students in the culture and procedures appropriate to their discipline; helps students network with other scholars in their field
  • promotes intellectual growth and critical thinking
  • provides career guidance to students to find professionally-relevant employment
  • actively assists students progress through the degree in a timely manner and helps students develop in those areas particularly critical to their professional success

Nomination process

Nominations may only be made by graduate students and all nomination materials must be prepared by graduate students. If more than one student wishes to nominate the same faculty member, students may prepare one nomination form and nomination letter as a group. When submitting a group nomination, please select one member of the group as the primary nominator.

All sections of the nomination form must be completed and received by the published deadlines. The award selection committee will not review incomplete application.


The recipient of the award will be selected by the Graduate Council. The decision of the selection committee is final and not subject to a review process.


To acknowledge the critical importance of producing quality dissertations and thesis, Oakland University established an annual competition to confer up to two graduate dissertations and one thesis award. The intent of the award is to showcase excellence in graduate work, and to partially defray the cost of producing an outstanding document. Faculty members choose one STEM and one Non-STEM dissertation or thesis for this annual award.

The awards are $1,000 for a Ph.D. dissertation and $750 for a master’s thesis.

Winners of 2023

  • Most Outstanding Thesis Award: Taylor Crews, Psychology, M.S.
  • Most Outstanding Dissertation Award: Kwaku Twum, Biomedical Sciences: Health and Environmental Chemistry, Ph.D.

Winners of 2022

  • Dr. Lubna Khasawneh - Most outstanding dissertation award - System Engineering
  • Michael Powers - Most outstanding thesis award - Biological Sciences

Graduate School

O'Dowd Hall, Room 520
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2700

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.