In the summer issue of the Oakwood Magazine, which is being produced as we speak, I observed that many miracles regularly occur at Oakwood University. We know that God has His hand and His favor upon this institution in a very special way. Oakwood is not perfect, but it is purposed. It is here to serve God's mission.  Any worthwhile mission encompasses growth, and growth means change....

Kisha and I took one last picture together at a farewell luncheon earlier this week.
On behalf of our University administration, faculty, staff, and student body, I want to say a special "THANK YOU" to Ms. Kisha R. Norris, M.Ed., CFRE, for the needed work that she provided our institution. Her arrival at Oakwood five years ago was crucial to where we are today. Kisha provided much-needed infrastructure building and capacity building within Advancement & Development. She brought to our operation the professional training of a CFRE by helping us understand the difference between philanthropy and fundraising. Her work with the annual UNCF Gala was vital to continuing our legacy of service to the HBCU network and the Huntsville community. Kisha's work with the 'Oakwood on the Road' program is a great contribution to the advancement of OU.

I believe that one of Kisha's greatest legacies will be the work that was done in publications, social media and marketing.  During her tenure, Oakwood became a major presence on multiple social media platforms, and her passion for social media leaves our institution stronger because of her contribution. Kisha will be pursuing a doctoral degree in education, and teaching online for Oakwood University. As we part ways for now, we wish her only the best for her future.
Cheri Wilson, M.A., CFRE
Building on the foundational infrastructure established by Kisha, I wish to welcome Mrs. Cheri Wilson back to Oakwood University as Executive Director for Advancement and development. Her proven leadership and deep passion for the mission of Oakwood will be vital to the success of our mega-capital campaign. We are preparing to advance and accelerate the future building of capital projects like
  • the Health and Wellness Center,
  • the complete renovation of Peterson Hall,
  • the building of our endowment, and
  • a complete outfitting of our community action clinic. 
We believe that God prepared Cheri for this moment through her work both at Oakwood, but also outside of Oakwood in the United Negro College Fund as a Director of regional fundraising for Alabama and Mississippi.  As we turn our attention to this major campaign, we look forward to adding many, many partners to Oakwood as friends of our unique mission. I have asked Cheri to apply her laser focus to these major fund and friend raising initiatives. Welcome, Cheri.
During our annual Colloquium next week, one of the plenary sessions will be presented by Alphonce J. Brown, Jr., ACFRE, who conducts fundraising trainings and workshops throughout the world. We are looking forward to his presentation on "The Campus and The Capital Campaign."

Many of you now know what we have known here at Oakwood for 70 years: The Aeolians are the best! 

Through disciplined rehearsals with award-winning director Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand, cooperative fundraising, God-given talent, creativity and passion, The Aeolians of Oakwood University have won the Pavarotti Trophy as the 2017 Choir of the World! Their participation in the world-renown 2017 Esisteffod Competition in Wales seemed almost destined to fail, except God intervened. That is just the kind of goals that we undertake here at Oakwood.

Because of miraculous support of our alumni and friends, the ministry of The Aeolians of Oakwood University has been shared once again with the world audience. Thank you for helping us share the ministry of the Aeolians.

Oakwood Farms
Industry Recovery in Action

We are convinced that God is strategically steering our institution in our industry recovery program.

Many of us remember when Oakwood operated numerous industries, when students could work their way through Oakwood, and our industries taught valuable workplace skills. In speaking to thousands of our alumni and friends annually, virtually everyone says "We need to bring the industries back." However, our 21st century industries cannot simply be a return to traditional industry because our era has changed drastically.

One of Oakwood's most recent miracles is the re-opening of Oakwood Farms, in a 21st-century way. God is blessing the Oakwood Farms in ways that are beyond our comprehension! 

Members of the President's Council recently went on a short "field trip," to one of the farm locations near Burrell Hall, to see first-hand the work that our farm manager Artis Sidney is doing with Oakwood Farms.

Oakwood Farms is designed to work in concert with the UNCF Career Pathways Grant (CP-GEM) and Healthy Campus 2020 (HC2020). The CP-GEM plan is creating an aligned and comprehensive strategy for facilitating students' success in matriculation, graduation, and workforce placement. HC2020 seeks to make Oakwood the healthiest campus in America by imparting to our students intentional health management skills purposed to optimize each student's personal health status. 
We invite your prayers as we prepare for Colloquium 2017.  Colloquium is the annual four-day gathering of administration, faculty, and staff to refocus and reenergize our pursuit of mission. This year's theme is "Oakwood in the 21st Century--Delivering the Promise. "  August 1-4 are our dates for the annual event.  

In just a few short weeks, the Fall semester will begin. We are excited at the prospect of another school year, and we claim God's continued presence on these hallowed grounds. We are grateful for your decision to send your students to Oakwood University, for your prayers, and financial support. 

There are 100 things that I could share with you, but that's it for now. Thank you for your commitment to the mission of Oakwood University.

Yours in Service,
Leslie N. Pollard, Ph.D., D.Min., MBA