Hillary Clinton visits Oakland University

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By Lauren Barthold | @bylaurenb

Photos by Timothy Pontzer | @timothy_pontzer

The former First Lady, Secretary of State, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton stopped by the O’Rena Thursday, October 16th to endorse U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters and gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer.

Hillary Clinton at OU: Annie Meinberg Speech by Wxou on Mixcloud

Hillary Clinton at OU: Richard Bernstein Speech by Wxou on Mixcloud

Nearly 3,000 people packed into the sectioned off arena to watch the rally where numerous Democratic candidates and leaders joined in for support. It was after Lieutenant Governor candidate Lisa Brown spoke when Peters, Schauer, and Clinton took the stage to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” around 6pm.

Hillary Clinton at OU: Clinton Introduction by Wxou on Mixcloud

Hillary Clinton at OU: Clinton on Women by Wxou on Mixcloud

Following Clinton’s speech, which touched on education, equality, and other “hard choices” (A plug for her latest book), she walked along the front row barrier signing autographs and taking selfies with attendees.

In the last week, Clinton has traveled to Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Louisville, and San Francisco endorsing other Democratic candidates.

WXOU was the only radio station in Michigan to broadcast the event live.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Rochester Community Walk


Last year in the United States, 39,518 people died by suicide—more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. And the annual suicide rate has been steadily rising for over a decade.

WXOU is proud to be a sponsor of the first ever AFSP Rochester Community Walk on Saturday, 10.12 1-4pm at Stoney Creek Metro Park. Donations will fund research to find better ways to prevent suicide, education programs to raise awareness in schools and workplaces, advocacy initiatives to support public policy that makes mental health and suicide prevention a priority, and support services for survivors of suicide loss.

For more information, visit afsp.org/walks. #endsuicide

A New Den on Campus: Oak View Hall Dedicated over Homecoming Weekend

By Timothy Pontzer


500 Golden Grizzlies have a new den as the newest dormitory on campus was officially dedicated on Saturday afternoon.

While Oak View Hall has been open since the debut of the fall semester, Saturday’s ceremony allowed for faculty, students and family members the chance to celebrate the new building.

“Oak View Hall is an amazing addition to campus and a great new way to build community for our residents,” said Kate Bergel, a Resident Assistant at the new facility. “I’m so excited to see the residents and staff blossom as the year continues.”

Large crowds were able to see the building for the first time as well tour the recently completed $30 million project. OU President George W. Hynd addressed the audience, citing the new site as progress towards the future.

“We now have about 14 to 17% of undergraduates living on campus and we’d like to drive that number up to be more of residential institution over time,” Hynd said. “Oak View is a wonderful step in that direction. It’s also a wonderful new home for our Honors College, which is another important part of our campus community.”

The Honors College took over a large share of the first floor of Oak View. The new space now allows for more students to join the specialized club as well as room to host events and activities. Previously, the HC was located on the ground level of Vandenberg Hall.

“The new Honors College facilities enable students to better connect to their studies through expanded study spaces and new technologies,” said Walter Lashar, a senior student in the HC. “It really helps solidify us as one of the best in the state, if not the entire nation.”

Students who were residents of the new dorm buzzed about some of the offerings, including amenities not seen in other living quarters on campus.

“I feel lucky to get to live here as a freshman,” Pharmacy major Nate Murray said. “It is really clean, has a mini café downstairs, and there are really cool places to hang out throughout the place. My room has great air conditioning, comes with its own fridge, and has a private bathroom, which is definitely the best feature.”

Located across from Vandenberg, Oak View Hall was built as a response to a near 40 percent increase in housing rental agreements.

“Today, we have been able to enjoy the celebration of the new beginning of this truly fantastic building,” Hynd said. “Students are going to have a great on-campus experience living in Oak View.”

A Tall Order: Elliott Tower Dedicated To Kick Off Homecoming Weekend

Elliott Tower

Elliott Tower

By: Timothy Pontzer (@Timothy_Pontzer)

Photos By: Anthony Spak (@SpakDaddy)

The Oakland University skyline gained its newest and most prominent member, as the Elliott Tower was officially dedicated on Friday afternoon.

The ceremony kicked off OU’s annual Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. This year marks the first time in school history that the festivities are taking place in the traditional fall season. Previously the events were celebrated in the winter months.

“This is truly a historic day thanks to Hugh and Nancy (Elliott),” said George W. Hynd, President of Oakland University. “This gift they have given to us all is now the icon of the institution.”

Hynd spoke to a crowd over 1000 students, alumni, staff and others who gathered on the newly laid lawn surrounding the steeple.

“The Elliott family is truly visionary and has made many indelible contributions to Oakland,” Hynd said. “Their legacy will forever be woven into the fabric of our school.”

The tower was the brainchild of Nancy Elliott. She and her husband Hugh donated $6.5 million dollars for the project, which began construction in April of last year.

“We’ve come to consider this as an extension of our home,” Hugh Elliott said. “We hope you enjoy this tower for generations to come.”

The highlight of the ceremony was the structure itself filling the crisp fall air with music. Dennis N. Curry, the official University Carillonneur, showed off the power and melodies of the 49-bell landmark.

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James P. Lentini, the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at OU, composed an arrangement specifically for Friday’s unveiling. Entitled Ulysses’ Sail, he honored one of the most prevalent Oakland logos with the song. It pays homage to the school’s motto, “Seguir virtute e canoscenza,” quoted from Dante’s Inferno. That epic poem features the Greek hero Ulysses aboard a sailing ship where he tells his men to “seek virtue and knowledge.”

“I was honored to do this piece,” Lentini said. “I think this tower brings great meaning to the whole university as we seek our future.”

Curry also played a joint venture with members of the Oakland University Brass Band, directed by Kenneth Kroesche. The finale included the carillon playing the school’s fight song as the entire crowd clapped and sang along.

“I’ve been looking forward to this day all year,” Oakland University Student Congress President Annie Meinberg said. “This tower is now the focal point of unity here, and will allow all of us to really take ownership of the university.”

NEWS: Oakland University appoints George Hynd as new president

By Timothy Pontzer | @timothy_pontzer


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Following a Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday morning, George Hynd was appointed as the new president of Oakland University.

Hynd becomes the sixth person to hold the position in school history, officially taking the office on Aug. 15. He currently is the provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at the College of Charleston, a post he has occupied since 2010. Before that, Hynd served in various senior roles at Georgia, Purdue and Arizona State.

“I am looking incredibly forward to being immersed in school,” Hynd said. “I truly believe OU is a gem in higher education in Michigan. I know we are going to have a lot of fun working together.”

Wednesday’s board meeting was only a formality, with Hynd being voted unanimously to the title.

Hynd replaces interim president Betty Youngblood who took over in June of last year. Youngblood was tapped after the abrupt retirement of Gary Russi in June 2013, the very same day that his wife, then-OU women’s basketball coach Beckie Francis was fired. Russi had held the presidency since 1996.

“After Dr. Russi left, we were very fortunate to have Dr. Youngblood within our ranks,” Board of Trustees Chairman Michael Kramer said. “She guided us with confidence and continued to move the university forward. Now George will continue that. His qualifications and abilities were a natural match for us at Oakland.”

Kramer explained the process of selecting a new president involved numerous interviews with nearly a dozen candidates. In the first week of July, three finalists were announced, each of whom were once again interviewed and participated in public forums on campus with students and faculty. Hynd was selected over James Spaniolo, the higher education adviser to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder; and Rodney Rogers, currently serving as the provost at Bowling Green.

“From the candidate’s perspective, the search committee’s process was outstanding,” Hynd said. “It was clear during the interviews that everyone felt so passionately about the school and the points of pride here at Oakland.”

Hynd said that he had his follow-up interview on July 1 and flew back home two days later. The next day he received a phone call that he had the job. However, he did not know when the decision would be announced until late Tuesday night. Kramer called Hynd and the new president boarded a midnight flight to Michigan, getting in at about 3 a.m.

“Students want to come here for all the right reasons, and I am no different,” Hynd said. “I’m ready to launch the ship.”

Hynd highlighted the various programs at OU, calling it a destination school. He remarked that he hopes to recruit his daughter –currently a senior in high school – to become a Golden Grizzly.

“When you read through the history of Oakland, Matilda Wilson had a commitment to the liberal arts,” Hynd said. “That is an incredible foundation for OU, but we also have seen a smart focus on healthcare and there is an outstanding school of education here.”

When asked what his first step would be, Hynd plans to come back before August and meet with every board member and the leadership committee. He wants to learn their aspirations for the school and start to collect some ideas moving forward. One key personal aspiration for Hynd was to see more students involved on campus.

“We really want this to be a campus community, with community in capital letters,” Hynd said. “Right now, only 14 percent of students live on campus. We need to be strategic and come up with thoughtful ways to bring in more students, because then they will be more engaged, have higher retention rates of learning, and they are more likely to graduate from here in four or six years.”

Despite only having stepped foot on campus twice, Hynd was very impressive with his extensive knowledge of Oakland. During his press conference and subsequent interviews, he routinely spouted off percentages, facts, famous alumni and more about the school where he is about to take the helm. When asked if OU could continue to grow and one day be looked at like a Michigan or Michigan State, he was quick with his answer.

“Absolutely, this school is extremely appealing in a variety of ways,” Hynd said. “Through the alumni that spread the good word around the world, they help to deliver the message that Oakland is an outstanding institution.”

Win Iggy Azalea and MAGIC! tickets


10481417_782984671721918_6759918699719292226_nOakland University Student Program Board brings Iggy Azalea and Magic! to Meadowbrook Music Festival on September 12th. WXOU has your chance to win! Fill out the form below, and listen all summer long!

NEWS: Oakland University names Jeff Konya as new Director of Athletics


By Timothy Pontzer | @timothy_pontzer


After nearly half a year without one, the Oakland University Athletic Department found a new leader.

On Monday, Jeff Konya was officially announced as the new Director of Athletics at OU. Konya will officially begin the post on August 11.

“Jeffrey Konya is a veteran leader with close to 20 years of athletics department experience and a record of progressively increased leadership responsibilities,” said Oakland University interim President Betty Youngblood. “He has been a member of several Division I athletics senior leadership teams that have seen success both internally and externally over the past several years.”

Konya currently serves as the Athletics Director at California State University Bakersfield, a position he has held since 2010. Before CSUB, he served in the athletics departments at South Dakota, Bucknell, Texas-San Antonio, Memphis, Southern Methodist, and Northeastern State.

Konya succeeds interim athletic director Robby Stewart. Stewart had held the role since early February, following the resignation of Tracy Huth. Huth was the Director of Athletics from 2007 until early this year.

“We want to win, that’s why we play the games,” Konya said. “We want our program to garner national acclaim.”

While victories and prestige will be an obvious focus for Konya, he also remarked on wanting to build relationships with players while helping them succeed outside the court or field. During his tenure at CSUB, nearly 50% of their student-athletes maintained a 3.0 GPA. During his career, Konya also taught several courses at the university level including Sports Law, Sports Ethics and Life Skills.

“It is my responsibility as a leader and educator to create an environment for our student-athletes to be successful academically, athletically and socially,” Konya said. “I firmly believe student-athlete development must be a priority and that our efforts are integrated with campus initiatives and opportunities.”

Konya called his selection a dream job and perfect fit, saying that he was returning to his roots. He was born in Royal Oak and grew up in West Bloomfield. Konya’s father (who was in attendance at Monday’s press conference) also previously taught night classes at OU.

One of Konya’s biggest accomplishments on his extensive résumé is his guiding of CSUB into the Western Athletic Conference in 2013. In addition, he helped the school gain positive notoriety, most notably in the form of a blue basketball court, the only one of its kind in the NCAA. Konya’s overall “New Gold Standard” campaign was distinguished as a finalist for the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrations (NACMA) Division I marketing department of the year.

While Oakland has already made a high profile conference switch (moving to the Horizon League last year), Konya’s marketing expertise certainly played a role in his hiring. His fundraising prowess – the CSUB athletic department raised over $2 million last fiscal year – makes him ideal for a school of Oakland’s stature.

“In my perception, Oakland University has a high ceiling for its athletics department and can quickly grow into one of the Top 10 properties in its respective NCAA classification,” Konya said. “In reaching this potential, it is my responsibility to be fiscally sound in practice and to seek revenue opportunities for growth, as well as to maintain an inclusive environment that values gender equity and cultural diversity for all members of the department while being reflective of the mission of the institution.”