Diversity at OU: firsts

 

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:  Oakland University 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: Oakland University Archives

1959: OU's First International Students

diversityproject_030diversityproject_024OU enrolls its 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, p. 5.

2. "Vietnam Student Enrolls at MSUO," The Oakland Observer, 29 January 1960, p. 1.

Images: Oakland University Archives

1960: Association of Women Students

Photo of women walking across OU Vandenberg BridgeImage: Oakland University Archives
The University forms an on-campus organization for women students: 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.  

1962: First OU Enrollment Statistics by Gender

First OU Enrollment Statistics by Gender OU starts reporting student enrollment by gender.  According to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, a total of 1, 259 students enrolled in the Fall 1962 semester: 615 women and 644 men.

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

1965: First OU African American graduate

Isaac Jones is the first African American  graduate at OU. He received a BA in Sociology. In 1968, Jones is fatally shot. 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 portrait in Oakland Center. Photographer: Johnnie R. Blunt

1965: Pontiac-Oakland Education Assistant Team

Students create POEAT - the Pontiac-Oakland Education Assistant Team - , a project to pair volunteer students with Pontiac school children. 4th, 5th and 6th grade students from Pontiac schools are brought to campus for days of cultural and recreational activities.

1966: Project Upward Bound

Project Upward Bound Scholar Life Cycle Project Upward Bound is founded. A federally funded program, it serves underachieving high school students who have the potential for post high school training. Its mission is to provide academic, social, cultural, and career enrichment that prepares students to succeed in higher education.

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 disadvantaged teenagers 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 Image: Oakland University Archives

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

1969: First OU African-American Celebration Month

OU African American celebration month news clipsIn February 1926, Carter G. Woodson initiates Negro History Week--a recognition of African-Americans' historical contributions (1). By February 1969, Oakland University extends this event to a month-long celebration, seven years before the United States Federal government officially recognizes Black History/ African American Celebration Month (2). 1. Source: Library of Congress, African American History Month: About 2. "OU Sets Events on Black History," news clip from The Eccentric, 13 February 1969 Image: Oakland University Archives  

1970: International Students and Scholars

International Students and Scholars In July, the International Students and Scholars Office is established. As noted on its website, ISSO " is committed to building an international campus through service, support and advocacy to nurture global citizenship and multicultural appreciation."

Image: OU International Students and Scholars Office

1971: OU La Raza Day

OU La Raza DayOakland 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: The Hispanic Outreach Program

1974: Black Alumni Association

The OU Black Alumni Association is established in June.

2006: Asian-American Celebration

collage of diversityproject033, 041, 042, and 043From January  30 to February  3, OU holds its first  Asian-American Celebration  to recognize the uniqueness of cultures that "fall within the boundaries of Asia," including Russia, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan.

Image: Oakland University Archives

Photos courtesy of the Oakland University Archives.