OU Libraries Timeline: students


1959: First OU "For Credit" Classes

diversityproject_021First "for credit" classes begin on September 21 with 570 students (1). Race and gender statistics are unavailable for this group.

Image: OU Kresge Library Archives

1. In July 1958, OU offers non-credit continuous education class in a converted chicken coop. See OU Firsts

1959: Lynn Anderson Ruth: First OU Student

Lynn E. Anderson First OU StudentChosen from a pool of students who finished in the top half of their class, Lynn Anderson Ruth registers for classes at Michigan State University - Oakland and receives student number 000001, making history as the first MSUO student.

Image: OU Kresge Library Archives

1959: OU's First International Students

diversityproject_030diversityproject_024OU enrolls first international student, Aydin Ilgaz, a 19-year old male from Istanbul, Turkey (1). Dang Xich Lan (above right), a 29 year old from Vietnam, enrolls in January 1960 (2).

1. "MSU-O Has First Foreign Student" The Oakland Observer. 11 December 1959, page. 5.
2. "Vietnam Student Enrolls at MSUO" The Oakland Observer. 29 January 1960, page 1.

Images: OU Kresge Library Archives

1959: Temporary library

First library at North Foundation Hall Temporary library quarters were set up at North Foundation Hall. Books were available with 'complete freedom' (no restrictions on number that could be borrowed, no due dates, no fines, and, initially, 24 hour library access). Material was shelved alphabetically to make it available before it was catalogued.

1960: Association of Women Students

Photo of women walking across OU Vandenberg BridgeUniversity forms an organization for women students on campus: the Association of Women Students (1). This association is briefly mentioned in the October 14, 1960 Academic Senate meeting minutes.

1. Oakland Observer, Oct. 21, 1960, p.3, v.2:no.2.

Image: OU Kresge Library Archives

1961: Kresge Library Opens

Books being moved into the new Kresge Library building

October 27, 1961: Library contents moved from North Foundation Hall to the new Kresge Library building. Students helped by pushing books on book trucks over from the former library at North Foundation Hall, and by loading and unloading books. All materials were moved in three and a half hours. The building was officially dedicated the following spring. View the program for the dedication.

1962: First OU Enrollment Statistics by Gender

First OU Enrollment Statistics by GenderEarliest date that OU reports student enrollment by gender. According to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, a total of 1, 259 students enrolled in the fall semester: 615 women and 644 men.

Image: "Enrollment by Gender" Office of Institutional Research and Assessment

1965: Isaac Jones

isaac_jonesIsaac Jones is the first African American OU graduate. He receives a BA in Sociology. Jones is fatally shot in 1968. OU creates a scholarship in his name (see Chancellor Varner's speech for dignity and justice for all and 1968 Isaac Jones Memorial Scholarship entry below).

Image: Photo of Isaac Jones in Oakland Center. Photographer: Johnnie R. Blunt

1965: Library learning

A library information test was taken by 1,000 Oakland University students during orientation week. As a result, 230 students signed up for a short course to prepare them for learning at the library, which was taught two days a week for three weeks. Library knowledge test

1965: Student library committee

The Student Library Committee of the Kresge Library began operation.

1967: Project 20

diversityproject_011In an effort to create a more ethnically diverse student population, OU admits 20 African American high school graduates under the Project 20 initiative. Funded by local businesses, Project 20 "aim[s] at dis-advantaged teen-agers whose high school grades [are] too low to admit them to college. Instead of past achievement they [are] selected on the basis of their potential and motivation". In June 1971, twelve Project 20 students graduate from OU (1).

1. The Sunday News-Detroit, June 13, 1971 p. 22A

1968: First OU Woman Engineer

Ann Auten, a native of Athens, Michigan, is the first female graduate from the OU School of Engineering (1).

1.Lakeland Tribune, August 8, 1968

1968: Isaac Jones Memorial Scholarship

Isaac Jones Scholarship NoticeShortly after the February 3rd murder of Issac Jones, OU's first African American graduate, the University establishes the Isaac Jones Memorial Scholarship fund. The financial aid gift is awarded to promising African American high school graduates from Pontiac, Michigan. Pontiac Central High graduate Cecilia E. Brown (picture above) is the first recipient.

Image: OU Kresge Library Archives

1968: Matilda R. Wilson fund established

The Matilda R. Wilson Memorial Fund for the purchase of reference and bibliographic works was established by the students of Oakland University. Students agreed to a slight increase in fees in order to support the library's reference collection. Chancellor Varner and Sue Adams Wyatt unveil plaque

1969: Gender Inequality and Women's Rights at OU


Like its peers, Oakland University has struggled with gender inequality. During the last half-century, the University has produced numerous reports that analyze pay and promotion gaps between male and female faculty and staff. These reports also describe differential achievement levels and opportunities between male and female students.

In 1969, the Women Right's Committee produced "On Encouraging Sexual Equality at Oakland University," a five page document that recommended programmatic and structural changes that would facilitate a more welcoming environment for female student, staff, and faculty. In 1971, the Oakland chapter of the American Association of University Professors produced "Report of the Status of Women at Oakland". This report was updated in 1978. In 1993, the Task Force on the Status of Women at Oakland University issued it's own report. Together, these reports illustrate a history of challenges and successes for women at OU.

Image: OU Kresge Library Archives

1970: Student protest

A group of students, protesting university policies on gender issues, environmental concerns, and military recruitment on campus, took approximately 2500 books from the library and held them at the Oakland Center as a way of attracting attention to their causes. librarytimeline_023(2)  

1971: OU La Raza Day

la_razaOakland University Latin-American staff and students, in conjunction with the Admissions Office, sponsors the university's first "La Raza Day". La Raza Day is a campus visitation program, culturally oriented to Latino high school students. The goal of the program is to "promote cultural awareness and to explore the opportunities and facilities available in higher education for...Latino student[s]". The second annual La Raza Day is briefly mentioned in the April 18, 1972 Oakland University Newsletter.

Image: La Raza from Constitution Warrior

1981: Black Profiles Booklet

OU Black Faculty and Staff BookletDean of Students, Manuel H. Pierson, approves the production of "Oakland University Black Profiles," a booklet of OU African American student leaders, faculty, and staff. Distributed on October 27, 1981, this publication was compiled to facilitate solidarity and academic success within the OU African American student population.

Image: OU Kresge Library Archives

1985: Term paper clinic

The library offered a 'Term Paper Clinic' (half-hour one-on-one meetings with a librarian) to assist undergraduates with their research and writing.

1988: Hispanic Heritage Month

Dancers perform during OU's 2012 Hispanic Celebration Month On September 15th, Hispanic Heritage Week was expanded to a month long celebration (see information on the Center for Multicultural Initiatives website). A dance performance from the 2012 OU Hispanic Heritage Month is featured above.

Image: Hispanic Celebration Month

1992: Origins of OU Center for Multicultural Initiatives

Oakalnd U. protestors want minority postApproximately 150 African-American students conduct a sit-in at President Sandra Packard's office, in protest of lack of an office for minority affairs. This action results in the creation of an Office for Minority Equity a year later. Glenn McIntosh is appointed Director In January 1994 (OU Senate Minutes, January 13, 1994). OME is later renamed the Center for Multicultural Initiatives.

Image: OU Kresge Library Archives

1993: Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives


Originally housed within the Office for Minority Equity, the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives "serves as a resource and is charged with promoting and furthering the university's commitment to the principles of diversity inclusion and equal opportunity." The Office is linked to several diversity and inclusion initiatives: Presidential Diversity Award, Employee Resource Groups (ERG), and ADVANCE: WISE@OU.

The above picture features several international students from an early 1960s "foreign student tea'. From left to right: Angelique Sherman (Liberia), Mary Finkelstein (Cuba), Elizabeth Davis (Liberia), Wolfe Metzger (Austria). Also included Director of Admissions Herbert Stoutenburg (standing, far right) and Mrs. Stoutenburg (seated, far right).

Image: OU Kresge Library Archives

2003: SAFE Program for OU LGBTQIA Community

SAFE logoS.A.F.E. (Students, Administration, and Faculty for Equality) is established. According to the October 23, 2003 campus news release, SAFE is "a new organization committed to providing an open and supportive environment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) campus community. Program participants, or "allies," are available for assistance and also help challenge homophobia, heterosexism and other forms of discrimination".

Image: SAFE

2011: CMI C.O.R.E. Summer Bridge Program

A diversity initiative headed by the Center for Multicultural Initiatives, Collectively Oakland Retains Everyone (C.O.R.E.) Summer Bridge Program is a free, week-long residential experience on campus, designed to help new students bridge the gap between high school and college, while building relationships and honing academic skills. The Bridge Program is the first step in helping first year working-class and other minority students succeed at Oakland University. After the Summer Bridge Program, CORE students meet with mentors weekly to facilitate academic progress. They are also required to live on campus during their first year.

Image: CORE

2013: OU Minority Enrollment 2013

OU Office of Institutional Research and Assessment reports minority student population of 4,012 in its fall 2013 headcount. This represents roughly 21% of the total student population. This number does not include possible minorities among the 1,013 unreported students. For more information, please consult Office of Institutional Research and Assessment Student Profile.

2013: Women as Majority of OU Student Population

OU women medical studentsAccording to the OU Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, 20,169 students enrolled in the fall 2013 semester. Approximately 66% are women. This percentage seems to reflect gender enrollment statistics compiled by the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Undergraduate students

Graduate students

Image: OU Women medical students

Photos courtesy of the Oakland University Archives.