Community Engagement

A Vision for Engineering and Computer Science Education

Glenn A. Jackson, Ph.D., spent 29 years teaching at Oakland University

A man standing with his arm on a railing and the O-Rena court in the background

Pioneer Club

icon of a calendarJune 17, 2021

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Oakland University was only a few years old when Glenn A. Jackson, Ph.D., began his tenure in the School of Engineering in 1967. Later named the School of Engineering and Computer Science, Jackson was the seventh faculty-member hired in the school and the first to retire in 1996.

Jackson served in the Air Force during the Korean War and worked in industry before enrolling at the University of Michigan. Fresh from his graduate studies, Jackson was impressed by the dedication, determination and resiliency of the students he met at OU.

Jackson enjoyed a 29-year career at OU, which included serving as chairman of the Computer Science department in the School of Engineering – a department he helped develop. He says his time at OU was rewarding, and he is glad to have spent his teaching career growing programs that continue to impact students today. “When I came to OU, the School of Engineering taught one course in computer science. Many new programs have been added over the years, and enrollment is still growing,” says Jackson.

Another significant milestone for the university was the addition of an athletics program. Jackson explained that many faculty members were initially concerned that sports would take away from the university’s emphasis on academic excellence.

In 1972, when Oakland University joined the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), Jackson was appointed faculty representative and, among other duties, helped to verify the eligibility of athletes each semester. He also served as chairman of the university’s athletic committee and, later, as faculty lead on the transition of OU to NCAA athletics. In recognition and appreciation for his service to Oakland University and his compassion and care for those around him, Jackson received the George Wibby award in 1989.

A former basketball player for his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Denver, Jackson is a lifelong fan of the game. He and his beloved late wife May attended every OU men’s and women’s basketball game for many years.

The Oakland University community continues to play a significant role in Jackson’s life. He and his wife moved into his current home in the university’s faculty subdivision across from campus in 1968, where they raised their two sons, Alan and Mark. “It’s a very friendly subdivision,” he says. “Residents frequently walk and talk with each other, and it’s a great place to raise kids.”

Although life slowed a bit as a result of the pandemic, Jackson is very pleased to again be spending time with his family, which includes two grown grandchildren, Ryan and Emi. Both have chosen careers in computer science. He was also happy to return to Rochester’s Older Persons Commission. Glenn and his wife both served on the design committee of the thriving community center where he remains an active member.

Jackson’s contributions to Oakland University helped to shape the campus we know and love today. His vision as a faculty member and his continued friendship as professor emeritus will be felt by generations of students to come.

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