Distinguished Alumni Service Award: John Hruska, BGS `86 & SBA `89
John Hruska, BGS `86 & SBA `89
Executive Director, Treasury Services, JP Morgan Chase
John transferred to Oakland University from Michigan State University to pursue a bachelor of general studies degree, and then continued on at OU to obtain a master’s degree in business administration.
John built his career with J.P. Morgan over the last 30 years, starting with the legacy National Bank of Detroit in the Branch Training program. He currently serves as the Executive Director, Treasury Services Manager covering the Automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers of the Automotive and Transportation Industry for the Corporate & Investment Bank of J.P. Morgan.
His involvement with OU has been long standing as well. His dedication to Oakland is apparent in his service to the OUAA Board of Directors, where he was a member from 2001 until 2016. He has served as a member of the executive committee for ten years, most recently as chair (2012-2014) and immediate past chair (2014-2016). John also sat on the OU Accounting and Finance Advisory Board within the School of Business Administration.
Past OUAA Board member and chair, Gregg Garrett, SECS `97, noted, “John is never afraid to advocate on behalf of the Association. He has always been able to meet with campus leadership whenever possible to ensure the voice of the greater alumni population is heard.”
Under John’s leadership, the OUAA Board approved a comprehensive review of its strategic plan in 2013. His institutional knowledge and passion for OU was instrumental in the process; the strategic plan is designed to impact the work of the Board through 2018. “John has a great balance to be able to push the OUAA forward, while at the same time being gentle with many of those who were being touched by the change,” remarked Garrett.
An active member of his community, John also served on the Automation Alley International Business Services Advisory Council, Lansing Housing Coalition Board of Directors, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Lansing Board of Directors, Adult Community Member of Rochester College Concert Band, and the Michigan State University Alumni Band. John was a member of the Leadership Oakland Class XVIII.
Part of a Legacy family, John lives in Rochester Hills with his wife Kelle and three daughters, Britne, BIS `13, Brandi and Marissa. An avid golfer, John also enjoys woodworking, songwriting and playing the piano and guitar. Read More
Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award: Addie Williams, LMSW, JD, SEHS `73
Addie Williams, LMSW, JD, SEHS `73
President and CEO, Spaulding for Children
For the past 16 years, Addie Williams has served as the President and CEO of Spaulding for Children, a private non-profit child welfare agency specializing in services to children placed in the public child welfare system. Under her visionary leadership, Spaulding was named as the “Best Managed Non-Profit” with a budget over $3 million by Crain’s Detroit Business. She established the Spaulding Institute for Family and Community Development and the Academy for Family Support and Preservation, the current site of National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation, a project of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services-Children’s Bureau.
James Novell, program manager for Michigan Supreme Court-State Court Administrative Office said, “Addie’s tireless efforts to improve both our state and nation’s child welfare systems have garnered my deepest respect and admiration. She is devoted to ensuring children of parents whose rights have been terminated are adopted into safe, stable, nurturing homes.”
OU’s Organizational Leadership professor and chair, David Strubler, is currently working with Addie on a community service project promoting adoptions in Michigan. "The Tapestry- A Story Concert for a Cause" featuring musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra will premiere at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center and be webcast by Detroit Public Television on November 20, 2016, during National Adoption Month.
In total, Addie has more than 40 years of experience working in the child welfare, legal and educational fields. She is a licensed attorney, certified mediator, licensed social worker, and adjunct professor at Wayne State University.
She received her Bachelor of Arts from Oakland University in 1973, her Master of Social Work from Western Michigan University and her Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University School of Law. She has received numerous accolades including being named as “An Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and a “Woman of Excellence” by the Michigan Chronicle. She was included in “Who’s Who in Black Detroit” and received the African American Achievement Award presented by the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit.
Addie’s is a Pioneer-now-Grizzly legacy family. She met her husband, Wesley Williams Jr., former OU basketball player, while attending the university and both of their children Aisha D. Williams and Wesley T. Williams are Oakland alums.
Odyssey Award: James Sherry, MD, PhD, CAS `75
James Sherry, MD, PhD, CAS `75
Professor of Immigrant, Refugee and Global Health,
Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy at the City University of New York and Director, USAID Translating Research to Action (TRAction) Project
Dr. Jim Sherry is a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy of the City University of New York (CUNY) where he leads the Center for Immigrant, Refugee and Global Health. Jim also serves as Director of the USAID Translating Research to Action (TRAction) Project which focuses on building implementation research capacity in low-and middle-income countries focused on maternal, neonatal and child health.
A 1975 graduate of the biology department within the College of Arts and Sciences at OU, he is also a licensed physician with doctorate degrees in medicine (University of Michigan), biochemistry (Carnegie-Mellon University) and clinical training in pediatrics (Children’s Hospital of Michigan).
Jim has extensive program, policy, governance, and institutional development experience in global health, including 17 years as a senior officer and director in the United Nations System with broad-ranging responsibilities at UNICEF, UNAIDS and WFP including: support to the establishment of the Children’s Vaccine Initiative, UNAIDS and the Global Fund; the re-establishment of basic health care services in postwar Rwanda; the negotiation of global health policy by the UN General Assembly and Security Council; and the design of the Ending Child Hunger (REACH) Initiative.
Previous assignments have included serving as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in India as Director of Biomedical Research and Technology Development with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as a Chief of Staff in the U.S. Congress for the Honorable Sander Levin, as Professor of Global Health and International Affairs at the George Washington University, and as Chief Science Officer at the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy of the U.S. Department of State.
Dr. Moon Jae Pak, clinical professor of health sciences at OU, remarked on the success of his former student in his nomination letter. Jim’s “academic interest, sense of social and international obligation as well as the feeling of commitment to the maternal, neonatal and children’s health worldwide” prompted his great success in his field.
Jim currently serves on the Board of Directors/Trustees of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS); the Eurasia Medical Education Program of the Institute for Health Policy Analysis; UNAIDS-USA; and the Alliance for Healthcare Competitiveness. He is also a Visiting Professor and Co-Chair of the International Advisory Board of the James P. Grant School of Public Health at the BRAC University School of Public Health in Bangladesh.
Spirit Award: John Stoll, CAS `00
John Stoll, CAS `00
Wall Street Journal Global Auto Editor and Detroit Bureau Chief
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 2000, John found his true calling in journalism – his minor program at OU. From Crain Communications to Reuters to Ford Motor Company, John is now the Wall Street Journal's Detroit Bureau Chief with responsibility for editing global automotive coverage.
Throughout his many professional achievements, John has remained a strong advocate for OU. “No matter where his career takes him, he always finds his way back to campus. He is an active ambassador for the College and shares his experience with our students as a lecturer,” said Kevin Corcoran, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at OU.
Having taught multiple courses for the journalism program, students describe him as engaging, knowledgeable and supportive. Garry Gilbert, program director for journalism remarked, “His editing position at The Wall Street Journal puts a heavy demand on his time, but he always makes time to help the students and recent graduates. John becomes an invaluable piece of their Golden Grizzly network.”
In recent years, John’s connection to OU has grown through the OUAA. He has been featured as a speaker for the award-winning Leadership OU program and for the College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony. In the summer of 2016, he was named to the inaugural prominent alumni list, which currently includes 42 of OU’s most successful alumni.
Prior to his current role with the Wall Street Journal in Detroit, John was based in Stockholm, with responsibility for Nordic, Baltic and European tech coverage. He joined the paper in 2005, covering General Motors and the American automobile industry, including breaking major stories on the bankruptcies that reshaped Detroit's Big 3 and the auto-parts supply chain. In 2013, John was an editor and reporter helping lead a team of journalists at the Vatican covering the conclave that elected Pope Francis. That coverage was the basis for a book titled "From the End of the Earth to Rome."
John has been the recipient of the Overall Excellence Award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2008, and honored by the American Society of Business Publication Editors, and New York Newspaper Publishers Association.
John and his wife Kimberly live in Rochester hills with their four children. A Golden Grizzlies basketball fan, John also enjoys running, rock climbing, golfing and spending time with his family.
Alumni Community Service Award: Nicholas Kristock, SBA `13 and `14
Nicholas Kristock, SBA `13 and `14
Founder, Fleece & Thank You
Nicholas Kristock has founded multiple non-profit organizations, most recently Fleece & Thank You, an innovative 501(c)3 operating charity that connects the donor directly to their cause through video message technology and delivers comfort and hope in the form of a fleece blanket and personalized video message to children suffering in the hospital. Because of Nich’s leadership, Fleece & Thank You has generated more than 6,000 blankets within its first six months of operation.
“Through all his achievements, what shines through is Nich’s passion for helping others,” said Claudette Zolkowski, director of communications and marketing for the School of Business Administration, Oakland University. “It is this character trait that makes him an exceptional recipient for recognition by the OUAA.”
A double alumnus of Oakland University, Nich graduated in 2013 with his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and completed his Master’s of Business Administration a year later. While attending OU, Nich was a three-year captain of the men’s varsity soccer team and helped lead the program to three conference championships. He achieved multiple accolades for his success in athletics, student activities and community service including the 2013 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award given to the top graduating senior in all of Men’s NCAA Collegiate Soccer and the “Student Leader of the Year” Award from the Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development. He was also the first athlete to receive the Human Relations Award, given to the top graduating senior exemplifying leadership, service, and humanitarian efforts on campus and in the local community.
Nich has non-profit experience dating back to 2012 when he founded Gigs For Good, which provided funding for mission trips for high school students. Upon graduation in 2014, Nich played professional soccer for two years in Brisbane, Australia and continued to pursue his passion of non-profits, having a hand in five major non-profits while he lived there.
After returning to the U.S., Nich has continued his involvement with OU. He is a member of the OUAA Board of Directors and the Young Alumni Council and will be participating in the award-winning Leadership OU program as an alumni mentor beginning this fall. In May, he was honored during the OUAA’s inaugural 10 Within 10 Awards ceremony, which recognizes 10 young alumni for their contributions to the community and their professions.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Tara Michener, MA, LPC, NCC, SEHS `12
Tara Michener, MA, LPC, NCC, SEHS `12
Author, Counselor, and Speaker
Tara Michener is an award winning author of “Who I Am Not What I Am”, “100% Real”, “Summer Camp Survival”, “No Longer Besties”, and “Teen Life Crisis”. A 2012 graduate of the Masters of Counseling program, Tara founded TMI, LLC, a company that promotes diversity through books, speaking engagements and training curriculum. She is also founder of Professionals Against Bullying and Students Against Bullying and owner of Michener Associates Counseling Center.
As a graduate student, Tara worked diligently to bring anti-bullying awareness to campus through various efforts including the implementation of “Unbully”, the first ever anti-bullying conference at OU. Tara was recognized for her efforts to advance diversity on campus with the Keeper of the Dream award and Leadership in Diversity award.
As an alum, Tara has given back to the Center for Multicultural Initiatives by helping to vet and evaluate those interested in the role of peer mentor, sharing resources and presenting on the topic of anti-bullying for the annual women’s retreat, and attending the annual Keeper of the Dream event as a past winner. In the past year alone, Tara served as a Leadership OU mentor, volunteered as a career mentor at the annual Speed Networking event, and was appointed to OUAA’s Young Alumni Council.
Tara’s Leadership OU mentee, Dema Iskander, CAS, `16, benefitted first-hand from her leadership and advice. “Despite Tara’s busy work schedule, she somehow still managed to make time for me and for all of the organizations she is so dedicated to,” said Dema. “Her passion for her practice is quite obvious and Tara excels in everything she does because of this.”
Tara is a mental health contributor for Metro Parent and WDET Detroit Today. She has been featured in various media outlets such as CW50, MY TV20, and PBS. Tara was named Michbusiness One Person Wonder Award winner in 2014, one of L. Brooks Patterson’s Elite 40 Under 40 in 2013, Madonna University’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award winner in 2011, and received the Salute to Diversity Award by Corp! Magazine in 2010. Tara serves as a Princeton Prize in Race Relations chair, Novi Rotarian, Novi Public Library Board of Trustee Vice President, and TEDx speaker.
Honorary Alumni Award: Thomas E. Kimble
Thomas E. Kimble
Co-Chairman, OU/Pontiac Partnership
Thomas Kimble serves as one of the driving forces behind the Oakland University Pontiac Initiative as a member of the steering committee and co-chair of the coordinating committee. “Tom is passionate about the revitalization of Pontiac and promises to be a strong ally of OU in our Pontiac Initiative,” said Kevin Corcoran, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “His willingness to give back and advocacy of OU makes him the ideal candidate for the OUAA Honorary Alumni Award.”
Tom has vast experience in community relations and philanthropy both on a national and local level. As state president of AARP Michigan he lead its 1.5 million members and served as the organizations key spokesperson. He has served as chairman of the board of directors for several organizations including Oakland County Workforce Development, Oakland Family Services, Hospice of Michigan, The Arts League of Michigan and the Holiday Extravaganza Parade. His previous board involvement includes Baker College of Auburn Hills, Hosteling International USA and the National Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of the USA.
Tom was employed at General Motors for 30 years, including roles as Vice-Chairman of the General Motors Foundation and Director of GM’s Global Philanthropic Administration. He was responsible for leading GM’s Contributions Planning Board, the governing body for GM’s contributions and memberships. The Board was accountable for setting corporate policies and processes, and guiding direction for GM’s philanthropic activities globally. Under Tom’s leadership, GM’s contributions totaled $125 million per year.
After his retirement from GM in 2002, Tom became a board director at Clarkston Financial Corporation, a bank holding company. He also serves on the board of its Clarkston State Bank operations, where he chairs the audit committee.
Although the Oakland University Pontiac Initiative was created in the fall of 2014, Tom’s involvement with OU began in 1998 when he joined the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board. After completing his board service in 2009, Tom became a CAS Ambassador and was invited to participate on the Dean’s Campaign Council.