Gary Russi spent almost 20 years as the president of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, before retiring from academia in 2013. A number of initiatives enacted by former president Gary Russi can still be seen on campus, including the school’s new medical program.
Oakland University recently graduated its first ever class from the William Beaumont Medical School. In a ceremony on “Match Day,” the school’s 47 graduating medical students received acceptance letters from residency programs all over the nation, including the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina and the University of Michigan Medical Center. Graduates will complete residencies in various fields of medicine, such as anesthesiology and physical medicine.
While the students will officially graduate in May, the graduating class enjoyed a moment of shared relief at seeing the next step in their medical careers come into focus. Oakland’s William Beaumont Medical School is currently the youngest recognized medical program in the United States and the newest program since Florida State University’s more than a decade ago.
Gary Russi, PhD, a retired academic administrator, spent his last 18 years in education as the president of Oakland University. Under the leadership of Dr. Gary Russi, Oakland University constructed the William Beaumont School of Medicine, the first new allopathic medical school in Michigan in more than four decades.
William Beaumont School of Medicine recently received full accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. A prestigious designation, the achievement represents the school’s sound educational structure and performance toward helping students obtain their medical degrees. The accreditation makes the school eligible for select federal grants as well as opens up new opportunities to access federal programs. Additionally, students are now qualified to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination and accept residencies approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education following graduation.
Schools eligible for accreditation must have an established admissions policy and selection criteria. Student services that assist with financial aid, health care, and personal and academic counseling are also stipulations for consideration. In addition, a five-year plan outlining infrastructure use and technological resources is necessary, to demonstrate the viability of the school’s long-term operations. For information about the Liaison Committee on Medical Education accreditation requirements, visit http://www.lcme.org.
Prior to his 2013 retirement, Gary Russi served as president of Oakland University in Michigan, a position he assumed in 1996 after two years as vice president of academic affairs. He earned his PhD in pharmacology and toxicology in 1972 from the University of Kansas and subsequently taught those subjects as a professor at Drake University before advancing to various senior administrative positions there. At Oakland University, Dr. Gary Russi was instrumental in setting and meeting the challenging goal of changing the school from a comprehensive university to a major research institution.
Established by a generous gift from Alfred and Matilda Dodge Wilson, which included $2 million in funding as well as the couple’s 1,500-acre estate in Oakland County, Michigan, the University of Michigan-Oakland enrolled its first students in 1959. It was renamed Oakland University in 1963 and became independent in 1970.
Oakland University today educates more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students, most of whom are Michigan residents. It offers bachelor’s degrees in 139 different programs, and advanced degrees and certificates in 125. The William Beaumont School of Medicine, which opened in 2011, serves 325 medical students, and the Human Health Building, which opened in 2012, now houses the university’s schools of health sciences and nursing and provides them with state-of-the-art research facilities, clinical spaces, and laboratories.
As it progresses toward its goal of becoming one of America’s major research institutions, Oakland University is home to numerous research projects and centers, including the Center for Biomedical Research, the Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership, the Fastening and Joining Research Institute, and the Ken Morris Center for the Study of Labor and Work, among many others.
During his 20 years with Oakland University from 1993 to 2013, Gary Russi served 18 years as its president, leading the implementation of 64 academic programs and the construction of an honors college. During his tenure, Gary Russi also had the distinction of being recognized as an honorary member of the Golden Key National Honor Society Oakland University chapter for ten years.
As one of the largest and most well-recognized honor societies, the Golden Key National Honor Society maintains a global presence with more than 400 chapters and over 2 million members. In its efforts to change lives through scholarship and leadership, Golden Key International launched the SPARK a Change initiative, its first-ever international outreach program, at its 2014 International Summit.
An estimated 1 in 5 adults is illiterate, and even children with access to public education often face many socioeconomic challenges that prevent them from realizing fulfilling careers. With the intent of supporting children in at-risk communities, the SPARK a Change initiative pools Golden Key resources in order to touch at least 400,000 lives. To that end, each chapter is encouraged to do its part in helping Golden Key International raise 400,000 hours of community service and $40,000 by 2017. Proceeds will go toward fostering literacy, education, and life preparedness in youth.
To find a local Golden Key chapter or to register a SPARK a Change event, visit http://www.goldenkey.org/programs-privileges/service/
Gary Russi served as president of Oakland University for nearly 20 years. During this time, he not only increased the student population by 8,000 but also added more than 60 new academic programs. Over the course of his presidency, Gary Russi was also an active member of the Oakland University chapter of the Sigma Xi Research Society.
One of the world’s oldest and most expansive scientific organizations, Sigma Xi is an international honor society for scholars of science and engineering. The organization was established in 1886 with the mission of recognizing achievements in scientific research while also encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration among scientists and engineers. Over nearly 130 years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have won the Noble Prize. These members are commemorated in the Hall of Honor at the Sigma Xi Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, the society’s headquarters. In addition to serving as a place to honor distinguished members, the center also contains the organization’s administrative offices, a conference facility, and the editorial offices of American Scientist magazine. A bimonthly, award-winning publication dating back to 1913, American Scientist is Sigma Xi’s premier academic journal, offering insight into innovation across all facets of science and engineering.