Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, president of Oakland University in Rochester Hills, received a three-year contract extension from the board of trustees. Her contract now runs through June 2025.
Pescovitz receives an annual salary of $483,170, but she took a voluntary 20 percent pay reduction due to COVID-19. She lives at the on-campus presidential house, Sunset Terrace, and also receives a monthly car allowance.
“My time as president at Oakland has been one of the greatest privileges of my life,” says Pescovitz. “I am humbled by the endorsement from the board of trustees, and I am excited about the promise of a university with limitless potential. I look forward to working closely with our faculty, students, and staff to find innovative ways to make sure Oakland evolves continually as a vibrant and thriving higher education community.”
Her role as president positions Pescovitz as the leader of the college. She began the job four years ago with a listening tour and has worked to make communication a focal point of her administration. One hallmark of her time at Oakland is the “Reimagining OU” project, an effort to utilize student and faculty input to make the school a top choice for prospective students.
And Pescovitz, who proudly goes by “Momma Bear,” was a fixture at campus events such as basketball games before the pandemic.
“We are very fortunate to have President Pescovitz leading Oakland University,” says Tonya Allen, board chair. “Her relentless drive, engaging personality and uncompromising vision make her an inspirational and extremely effective leader.”
Under Pescovitz, the college launched the largest fundraising campaign in its history; placed diversity, equity, and inclusion among the school’s strategic goals; and led a statewide campaign for funding equity among public colleges. The school also increased graduation rates and created programs to address student debt under her leadership.
Pescovitz also created and funded three distinct endowments in honor of her mother, her parents, and her children. These endowments prioritize biomedical ethics, supporting diverse faculty, and student global engagement, respectively.
Personal gifts and commitments to OU surpassed $750,000 during her four-year tenure.
“The best leaders inspire not just through words, but more importantly by their actions,” says Michael Westfall, vice president for advancement. “President Pescovitz’s significant personal philanthropy, tireless external engagement, and unwavering commitment to securing resources for OU students and programs are testaments to her leadership.”
Pescovitz, a medical doctor by training, serves on a range of boards including Priority Health, Michigan Association of State Universities, Horizon League, Detroit Drives Degrees Leadership Council, and Detroit Economic Club.
Prior to Oakland, she was senior vice president and U.S. medical leader for BioMedicines at Eli Lilly and Co. and CEO and vice president of medical affairs at Michigan Medicine. During her tenure at the University of Michigan, she oversaw $3.3 billion in revenue and $490 million in research funding.
She has also served as executive associate dean for research affairs at the Indiana University School of Medicine and interim vice president for research administration at Indiana University. Pescovitz was also previously president and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.