Oakland University Board of Trustees names Ora Hirsch Pescovitz next president

Oakland University Board of Trustees names Ora Hirsch Pescovitz next president
Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D.

Following a national search involving 61 candidates, the Oakland University Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to appoint Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., as its president, beginning July 1. Pescovitz becomes the university’s seventh president, succeeding George W. Hynd, who is completing a three-year term.

Pescovitz, 60, joins Oakland after serving as Senior Vice President and U.S. Medical Leader for Lilly Bio-Medicines at Eli Lilly and Company since October 2014. She has spent nearly her entire adult life in universities since her time as a student at Northwestern University, including the University of Minnesota, Indiana University and the University of Michigan. Pescovitz was selected by Oakland’s Board of Trustees over fellow finalist Kelly Services CEO Carl Camden.

“Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz has the ability to foster and guide the university toward a bright future given her expansive experience and leadership positions, coupled with her broad vision for OU,” said Ric DeVore, chair of OU’s Board of Trustees. “Based on her performance throughout the entire interview process and the open forum with the campus community, she emerged as the right leader at the right time who can continue the development of academic excellence at Oakland University, as well as lead the garnering of additional fiscal resources.”

Pescovitz, a renowned pediatric endocrinologist and researcher, has published more than 190 manuscripts and books. Her many awards and honors include:

  • Election to the National Academy of Medicine
  • Distinguished alumni awards from both the Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern University
  • NIH Research Career Development Award
  • Outstanding Faculty Educator awards from the University of Minnesota
  • Indiana School of Medicine Faculty Teaching Award
  • Indiana University Teaching Excellence Recognition Award
  • “Power Players in Life Sciences and Technology” by Indianapolis Business Journal
  • Distinguished Hoosier from Indiana Governor Mitchell Daniels
  • “Influential Women in Indianapolis” by Indianapolis Business Journal
  • Sagamore of the Wabash Award for Excellence from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
  • Crain’s Detroit Newsmaker of the Year (2010)
  • Robert H. Williams Distinguished Leadership Award of the Endocrine Society

“As I went through the presidential search process, I was impressed by the students, faculty, staff and Board and realized that that this was the right next step for me both professionally and personally,” Pescovitz said. “I am eager to join OU and share the knowledge, insights and life experiences I have accumulated during my career as we work to maximize our potential for the benefit of the campus community and, in particular, the students.”

Pescovitz added, “I wish to commend the other finalist, Carl Camden, who is pursuing the next phase of his career in public service at a time when our state and region need leaders to dedicate time to important civic and regional issues.”

Pescovitz announced she is establishing a scholarship fund in order to provide support for students.

Pescovitz served as the University of Michigan’s first female Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Health System CEO from 2009-2014. There, she led a system that included three hospitals, more than 120 health centers and clinics, and the University of Michigan Medical School. She oversaw $3.3 billion in revenue and $490 million in research funding.

She also spent an extensive, 21-year career at Indiana University in a variety of roles, including Endowed Professor, Executive Associate Dean for Research Affairs at the Indiana University School of Medicine, President and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children, and Interim Vice President for IU’s Research Administration. Much of her research focused on the physiologic and molecular mechanisms responsible for disorders of growth and puberty, and the development of novel therapies for these conditions.

Her late husband, Dr. Mark Pescovitz, was a renowned transplant surgeon at Indiana University. She is the proud mother of three children, two in-law children and three grandchildren. Her significant other is Dr. Dan Walsh, a widower, who is a cardiologist.