Community Engagement

Retiree Spotlight: Jo Hairston

A look back at her incredible career at Oakland University

Jo Hairston sitting on a bench with fountains in the background

Pioneer Club

icon of a calendarSeptember 21, 2021

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After a remarkable 32-year career at Oakland University, it was not easy for Jo Hairston to step into retirement in January 2021. “There are many wonderful things about retirement, but it has been a life changing experience,” says Jo. She considers the friendships she made at OU a key ingredient to a fulfilling and happy life.

Jo began her career with OU in 1989 as a secretary in the School of Business Administration. She later worked with the benefits team in the Department of Human Resources and in the Provost’s Office, before taking on the role of Executive Associate to the President.

Counted among Jo’s favorite memories at OU are the many monumental events she helped coordinate. These include the campus visits of former President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox Quesada, and the inauguration celebrations of OU Presidents George W. Hynd, Ed.D. and Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D.

She also enjoyed joining the Women of OU Critical Difference Scholarship Committee and has maintained her involvement with this program during retirement.

Retiring in the midst of the pandemic meant that Jo had to wait on some of the traveling and other activities she had hoped to experience right away. As restrictions were lifted, she gradually resumed an active lifestyle and is now enjoying quality time with family and friends, including her eight grandchildren.

Jo often thinks of her time at OU and is looking forward to reconnecting with friends at upcoming Pioneer Club events. “Relationships are important,” she says. “I’m glad the Pioneer Club provides a way to keep in touch.”

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