Monday, April 1, 2013

This Month in Rochester History

The members of the first graduating class of Oakland University received their diplomas fifty years ago this month.  Commencement was held on April 19, 1963 for 125 graduating seniors, 19 of whom were residents of the Rochester area.  Beverly Donato of Auburn Hills was valedictorian of the first class to earn degrees from the new university. At the ceremony, Matilda Dodge Wilson received the institution's first ever honorary doctorate.

OU's charter class had enrolled in 1959 with 570 members, but suffered a high rate of attrition. According to the university's web site, so many students flunked their first semester at the new school that officials created a policy whereby failing grades could be "erased" from the student record if the student successfully repeated a failed course.

Half a century later, Oakland University has an enrollment of nearly 20,000 students and a first-year retention rate of better than 70%. The university boasts more than 80,000 alumni.

1 comment:

  1. As a 6th grade student at North Hill (Mr. Palmer's class) in 1964-65 we were bussed over to Oakland University to use the university's swimming pool. For most of us, it was the first time we'd ever had the opportunity to swim indoors.