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Online Exhibits

Kresge Library front of building

Kresge Library's 60th Anniversary

In 2021, we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary by offering a digital collection showing photographs of the library throughout the decades.

Woody Varner exhibit

Durward Belmont (Woody) Varner collection

Durward Belmont (Woody) Varner became the first Chancellor of Michigan State University - Oakland (the future Oakland University) in January 1959 and he led the young university through 10 years of growth and success.

Land of healthful delight exhibit

The Land of Healthful Delight: Highlights from the Rod and Sue Wilson collection

This exhibit highlights selected items from the Rod and Susan Wilson collection of Rochester History, which the Wilsons donated to Oakland University in 2019. The collection documents the history of Rochester and Avon Township through thousands of photographs, letters, postcards, publications, and artifacts.

pioneer pete exhibit

Pioneer Pete

Pioneer Pete was OU's first unofficial mascot until he was replaced by the Golden Grizzlies in 1998.

Black Alumni Association

Black Alumni Association

The Black Alumni Association (BAA) was established in 1974 and held its first reunion on June 1 that year. BAA’s initial mission was to recognize notable achievements made by members of the black community at OU and has since grown to offering scholarships, awards, and events in support of African American students and alumni.

Cadet Engineering

Cadet Engineering

The Cadet Engineering program was a ground-breaking program for under-represented youths from local high schools, funded by Upward Bound. It was initiated by OU's School of Engineering in 1970.

Student Newspapers

Student Newspapers

The first student paper, the Oakland Observer (1949-1969) was followed by Focus at Oakland, the Oakland Sail, and since 1987, the Oakland Post.

Academy of Dramatic Art


Between 1967 and 1977 the Academy of Dramatic Art trained dozens of students to be professional actors.

Student Life exhibit

Student Life at OU

OU students have set up organizations since the opening of OU in 1959, from women's student organizations to political, cultural, and social organizations.

Buildings at Oakland

Buildings @ OU

Learn the history of Oakland University buildings and explore the development of the campus on the former Meadow Brook Estate.

LGBTIQA at OU and in Michigan

LGBTIQA at OU and in Michigan

Read an overview of LGBTIQA history at OU, and of some LGBT organizations in Michigan since the 1970s. Mary Catherine Moeller has prepared the exhibit as part of a Women and Gender Studies internship.

Diversity Online Exhibit

Diversity at OU

Explore a timeline of diversity topics and events at Oakland University, ranging from the first international students in 1959 to the first African-American Month celebration in 1969 to a 2011 NSF grant to increase the number of women in STEM fields.

Saints and Sinners Online Exhibit

Meadow Brook
Music Festival

While the Festival has changed from its initial conceptions in regards to programming, it has retained its status as a prominent cultural center within the musical community.    

Saints and Sinners Online Exhibit

OU: Early History

Oakland University opened its doors in 1959, on a brand new campus carved out of the Meadow Brook Estate, with 2 buildings, 24 faculty and about 570 students.

The story of how a few men built this university from scratch is a unique tale of vision and dedication.

Saints and Sinners Online Exhibit

Saints and Sinners

Saints and Sinners, by Marshall Fredericks, was Oakland University's first major exterior sculpture. The seven bronze figures represent good, evil, temptation, knowledge of good and evil, a saint of the church, a mother and child, and a warrior saint.

Sculptures on Campus Online Exhibit

Sculptures on Campus

The campus of Oakland University boasts a number of outdoor sculptures by well-known artists, most of them with local roots. The most recent addition, The Grizz, is the mascot of the university.


OU Libraries Timeline

OU Libraries Timeline

Explore the history of OU Libraries through the years starting with the temporary library before the ground-breaking ceremony on October 17,1960 up to the latest developments. You can browse by decade or by topic.




Previous Exhibits at Kresge Library


Curtis Armstrong at OU

January - February 2019, Lobby of Kresge Library

Risky Business, Revenge of the Nerds, Supernatural.... These are some of the movies and series actor Curtis Armstrong starred in. Come and see photos and other memorabilia that Armstrong, an OU alum, donated to the university.

Additional material is on display in the Nyberg Room, KL.

photo of Curtis Armstrong today

Dorm life at OU in the early days

November-December 2018 - Lobby of Kresge Library

What was it like to live in Fitzgerald House, the first student residence at OU? What did "Fitz" and the other dorms look like in the 1960s? Photographs and other materials from the archives illustrate the evolution of student life on the OU campus.

Additional material is on display in the Nyberg Room, KL.


Student at his desk in a dorm

The Oakland Center

Summer 2018 - Lobby of Kresge Library

What did the "OC" look like in 1960? Photographs and other materials from the archives illustrate the evolution of this central gathering place on the OU campus.

Additional material is on display in Room 242, KL.

Entrance sign for the Oakland Center

African Americans at OU

February 1, -28, 2018 - Lobby of Kresge Library

Created for African American Celebration Month, this exhibit covers the life of African American students and employees at OU from the 1960s to the present, the support offered by the university to minorities, and partnerships with Pontiac.

Additional material is on display in Room 242, KL.

African American student Wilson Award winner

2016 Homecoming

Sept. 24, 2016, 1-2pm - Kresge Library, Nyberg Room (room 242, main floor)


An exhibit of historic photographs, documents and objects that tell the story of OU.

aerial view of campus in the late 1960s

The Detroit Broadside Press story

Feb. 1-29, 2016, lobby of Kresge Library.
Exhibit in celebration of African American month.


The Broadside Press, based in Detroit, has published African-American poetry since 1965. It was founded by Dudley Randall, a librarian at University of Detroit and a poet himself.

The exhibit showcases his books and those of prominent African American poets like Gwendolyn Brooks, from the collections of Kresge Library. Some copies are signed by the authors.

Randall cover

Randall autograph

Holidays at OU

Nov 16, 2015-Jan.31, 2016, lobby of Kresge Library

Come and see the exhibit on holidays and winter seasons at OU! Historic photographs and documents illustrate winter sports on campus, the Snow Carnival, Meadow Brook Hall holiday celebrations, and more.

Vandenberg Hall in winter

Athletics at OU

Sept. 16-30, 2015, lobby of Kresge Library

Did you know OU had a ski tow in the 1960s? The exhibit in the lobby of Kresge Library features numerous photos, artifacts and documents illustrating athletics at OU from its founding in 1959 to the present.

Homecoming 2015

Mourning Lincoln

May 2015 - Lobby of Kresge Library

An exhibit to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination, using materials from the Springer Collection of Civil War and Lincoln history.

Ford's theater at the time of Lincoln's assassination

African Americans at OU

January 21, 2015-February 28, 2015 - Lobby of Kresge Library

Created for African American Celebration Month, this exhibit covers the life of African American students at OU from the time of the civil rights movement to the present, the support offered by the university to minorities, and the numerous events celebrating African American history at OU.

Additional material is on display in Room 242, KL.

Class of 1964 Reunion: Oakland in 1964

Sept. 20-30, 2014, Kresge Library, Room 242

Class of 1964, come and remember life at Oakland in the early 1960s! Photos, documents and objects are on display in the library. You will be able to browse the Oakland Observer and much more!


Sept. 20-30, 2014, lobby of Kresge Library

While attending Homecoming check out the exhibit in the lobby of Kresge Library. It features photos, objects and documents illustrating athletics and academic life at OU from its founding in 1959 to the present!


Homecoming 2014

Oakland in 1967

June-Sept., 2014, Lobby of Kresge Library

In Fall 1967, 44 Oakland University students went on a study abroad tour in Asia. They stayed in Hong Kong for a semester’s class work under the direction of professors Henry Rosemont and Edward Buote.


OU students welcomed in Taiwan

Growth at Oakland University

March 3-June 21, 2014, Lobby of Kresge Library

OU has grown dramatically since 1959: from 570 students the first year to over 20,000 in 2013-2014; from 3 original buildings to over 40. With growth came exciting opportunities and perplexing challenges. Members of the OU community have all experienced the impact of OU’s growth first hand.


Growth at Oakland University

Created by Name / Updated on May 4, 2020 by Name

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