Alumni Voices

Pioneer Profile: Gail Ryckman

Pioneer Profiles

icon of a calendarJuly 21, 2022

icon of a pencilBy Joan Rosen

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Gail Ryckman joined Oakland University in 1974 and liked it so much that she stayed for 42 years. She claims with a laugh that she outdates most of the buildings on campus, but her career is one that demonstrates perseverance worthy of note.

Gail was hired as a clerk in the accounting office. While initially she did not plan to stay at OU long-term, she excelled in her role as an accounting clerk, which led to increased responsibility and promotions. In the early 1980s, she transitioned to working in personnel records with University Human Resources (UHR). Gail found her new role rewarding and enjoyed the contributions she was making to the university. For this reason, she decided to make her career at OU.

She soon began working part-time toward her degree, while continuing her full-time job. Although it took fourteen years to complete, in 1999 she was able to accomplish the goal of earning a Bachelor of Science in human resources. While it took much perseverance on her part, she credits her supportive family and work environment at OU.

Gail soon became a manager in UHR. As a manager, she was able to work with units all across campus to assist with hiring. Also, as part of her managerial duties, she planned and oversaw the Employee of the Month program and the Years of Service events. She still returns to campus to support these appreciation events.

Since retirement, Gail continues many of the activities that she and her husband, Mike, have participated in for many years. Mike, a U.S. military veteran, has been active in the North Oakland VFW Post. Gail has joined him as a member of the auxiliary. She edits the Post’s newsletter and interviews veterans to get their stories for the publication.

Gail and Mike cherish their fully-restored 1955 Chevy pick-up truck. They take it to rallies and shows in various cities, including Detroit for the Dream Cruise. They enjoy spending time with their daughter and two grandsons who live just a few minutes away in Oxford. They also stay busy taking care of their two rambunctious German shepherds and look forward to fitting in more traveling in the months ahead.

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