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Northwood University Receives Nearly $1.5M from Oakley Estate

October 18, 2021

Northwood University has received a nearly $1.5 million gift from the Thomas F. and Harriet S. Oakley Family Trust. Their generous donation will benefit Northwood’s growth plans outlined in the University’s 2021-26 Strategic Plan.

Justin Marshall, Vice President of Advancement and Business Development, worked with Larry Uyeda, the Oakley Family Trust trustee, to coordinate the gift.

“Tom Oakley was a ‘bootstraps’ type of guy who worked hard for everything he had and was always willing to share with others,” Marshall said. “His grit aligned well with Northwood University’s founders, who used every day to make the dream of a new college a reality. Tom’s military service to his country also gave him a deep appreciation for the freedom the United States of America safeguards and Northwood’s stalwart defense of greater liberty for all.”

Tom’s wife, Harriet, was his perfect complement and believed in a well-rounded education that included creative arts, and she would certainly appreciate a portion of the gift being used to improve the aesthetics of the campus.

“Harriet Oakley appreciated the commitment to the business and the arts, as she had a passion for the more imaginative elements of life,” Marshall said. “She knew that the freedom Tom loved also inspired the creative vision of artists, musicians, and performers of all types. She had faith in Northwood University’s educational mission to raise young men and women who aspire to have successful careers in business and to be patrons of their communities and the arts.”

The nearly $1.5 million gift is the first gift from the trust. Northwood University will work closely with Harriet’s brother, Larry Uyeda, to honor the Oakley family appropriately. Oakley’s desire was for Northwood University to use the gift for the campus’s greatest needs and purposes.

University leadership will use the funds to support elements of Northwood University’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. The philanthropic partnership will help:

  • Support the University’s commitment to free enterprise by enhancing digital resources and online learning tools dedicated to The Northwood Idea.

  • Physically enhance the University’s Freedom Trail and ongoing Mall Walk Improvement Project funded with more than $3 million in support from more than 250 donors.

  • Increase support of the University’s Omniquest Program, which annually introduces students and the community to an influential and inspirational book.

  • Benefit future generations of Northwood University students through a permanent gift to the University’s endowment.

“Northwood University is grateful for Tom and Harriet Oakley’s generosity. We rely upon transformational gifts to build our reputation as America’s Free Enterprise University. We will continue to be the destination for those who believe in liberty to invest in our important educational mission,” said Northwood President Kent MacDonald.

Donors interested in making their gift to Northwood University may visit our Give page or contact Northwood’s advancement office at (800) 622-9000.

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