OU President’s newest gift doubles her established scholarship program

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icon of a calendarMarch 19, 2024

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OU President’s newest gift doubles her established scholarship program
Oakland University has received additional gift funding of $1.33 million from university President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz to support the significant expansion of the Pescovitz Presidential Scholarship program.

Oakland University has received additional gift funding of $1.33 million from university President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz to support the significant expansion of the Pescovitz Presidential Scholarship program that offers direct scholarship support to academically exceptional high school graduates.  

This generous gift will now allow for eight new awardees each year, doubling the previous number of annual awards. The gift will also create an endowment for scholarships in perpetuity. Scholarship applications are currently open to Platinum Presidential Scholar awardees for the fall.

The Pescovitz Presidential Scholars are supported by a Presidential Scholar Medallion Program that provides personalized, strategic planning throughout a scholar's entire academic journey in the Honors College at Oakland University. This highly individualized program will continue to be administered by Honors College Dean Graeme Harper, with the goal of fostering scholarly work and building leadership skills for the next generation of community, civic, health, scientific, art, communication and business leaders.  

“By expanding the number of Pescovitz scholarship opportunities, we will attract even more high-achieving new students to OU, supporting my vision to make Oakland University the ‘university of choice,’” said Pescovitz. “Students earning these scholarships will be ensured of getting special Honors College experiences that they cannot find anywhere else. I predict students selected for these scholarships will be the future leaders of America in their respective fields, including as CEOs of businesses, sought after engineers making breakthrough discoveries in energy and automotive, our future political leaders, caring healthcare leaders, biomedical investigators breakthroughs, and exceptionally creative artists who will transform how we look at our world. They will come to us with great gifts and talents and leave here even more prepared to make an impact in whatever paths they choose.” 

To qualify, students must demonstrate intellectual accomplishments and creativity, an ability to solve problems, and a commitment to improving their communities. Applicants are asked to submit a 1,000 word essay on how they have created or supported initiatives to ensure the success of others, to describe the leadership roles they have held and to highlight positive impacts generated by their work, using specific examples. They should outline their aspirational vision for the future and what they hope to gain from an Oakland University education. They are also asked to explain any obstacles that they have had to overcome to achieve their goals. Interested students can learn more at:

“President Pescovitz recognizes the value of growing the number of our highest-achieving students and is consistently leading by example," said Harper. “Her gifts are sure to leave an indelible mark on Oakland University and change the world for the better through her personal investment in our students.”

Harper added that Honors College Counselor Jenna Przeslawski will work with the Pescovitz Presidential Scholars to assist in developing specialized workshops, special training programs and other unique facets of the curriculum to meet the individual goals of each scholar. She will also coordinate and implement programs that the scholars create to enhance their experiential learning activities and enhance their academic transcripts.

According to Mike Westfall, vice president for University Advancement, Pescovitz’s latest donation brings her cumulative lifetime philanthropic support to the university to $3.16 million in gifts and commitments during her tenure as president. Those gifts have benefitted more than 50 different areas across the university.

Pescovitz Presidential Scholars - Unique aspects of the Medallion Program: 

  • Exclusive opportunities for making meaningful connections both on and off campus - mentorship and mentoring from leaders in the university and outside of the university (e.g. in industry, in non-profit organizations, in the community)

  • Personalized, guided support for professional development; including academic, career, and personal goals, with licensed professional counselors in The Honors College

  • Specialized Presidential Scholar Internship Programs available year round; summer, fall, & winter semesters. These Presidential internship programs vary by semester to provide students with a variety of experiences

  • Events exclusively for Pescovitz Presidential Scholars to collaborate and work together toward successful humanitarian projects

  • Support and encouragement for the development and implementation of special projects and events brought forth by scholars themselves

  • Special notation on student transcripts each semester by way of "Honors Pescovitz Presidential Aspire" noted on their academic transcript, each year

  • Pescovitz Presidential Scholars, upon completing the Medallion Program, will receive a special Presidential Scholar Medallion and recognition at commencement. 


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