Oakland University inaugurates 7th president





Ora Pescovitz has officially been inaugurated as the seventh president of Oakland University.

Pescovitz, who was voted in as president by the Oakland University Board of Trustees last spring, began her tenure in July of last year. The university held the inaugural celebration on Friday, April 20 at the O’Rena Athletics Center. It was themed around the idea of “Roots and Wings.”

Photos: See scenes from the inauguration.

“A university at its best gives us strong roots to grow and powerful wings to fly,” Pescovitz stated in her speech, a copy of which was obtained by The Oakland Press. “That’s today’s theme: We’re celebrating Oakland’s unique history – our roots – as we build on that legacy by helping students develop their wings – to learn, to lead, and ultimately, to soar.”


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Her speech to community leaders, faculty staff and students touched on several areas of her personal philosophy and life, including her background as the daughter of a Civil Rights leader, Rabbi Richard Hirsch.

“We believe in the Jewish principle of Tikkun olam, a Hebrew phrase that means to ‘repair the world.’ This calls on us to do everything we can to improve the lives of others. Repair the world. And so, that is why I am here. That’s a big part of why I left a corporate job to return to academia,” Pescovitz said.

Pescovitz was previously Eli Lilly and Company’s senior vice president and U.S. medical leader for Lilly BioMedicines prior to accepting the president’s position at Oakland University.

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“I’ve returned to my own roots and I’ve also found my wings. It is a freeing, exhilarating feeling to be in the right place at the right time to do the most good for generations to come,” Pescovitz said.

Pescovitz also spent time during her speech speaking to the importance of higher education.

“Higher education is under attack. Critics contend that we are no longer relevant. That a four-year degree is too expensive and takes too long. And that universities haven’t kept pace with the cutting-edge needs of our workplaces. Some of these points are fair criticism, and we must do better for our students – or we’ll risk falling behind,” She said.

“We can, and we will, do more. But to suggest that higher education is a wasted effort or obsolete is just plain rubbish.”

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