by Geoff Larcom, Published October 03, 2012
The Greg O'Dell Golf Outing, held Friday, Sept. 28 at Eastern Michigan University's Eagle Crest Golf Course, raised more than $40,000 toward its goal of endowing a $100,000 scholarship fund to benefit criminal justice students at EMU.
O'Dell, a highly respected former chief of police at EMU, died in Dec. 2011. The outing's motto, "Keep His Dream Alive" spoke to O'Dell's longtime commitment to law enforcement and his goal to fund a scholarship for students seeking careers in the field.
The inaugural event, held on an ideal warm and sunny day for golf, sold out, with golfers playing in foursomes using a scramble format on the championship course. Leading up the fundraising effort was the tournament's main sponsor, AT&T, which contributed $8,000 to the effort.
Other sponsors included the Eastern Michigan University Foundation, Varnum Attorneys at Law, First Martin Corporation, Miller Canfield, the University of Michigan, visitypsi, Buck Consultants, the LaFontaine Family Dealership, EMU President Susan Martin and Anthony Walesby.
Following the golf event, members of O'Dell's family along with numerous friends and supporters gathered for a buffet dinner alongside the golf course. Speakers to the capacity crowd included Kathy O'Dell, Greg's wife, who spoke of his love and respect for golf and its rules, along with his devotion to Eastern Michigan.
EMU President Susan Martin also spoke at the gathering, along with Roy Wilbanks, chair of the EMU Board of Regents, current EMU police chief Bob Heighes and Donna Selman, a professor of criminal justice at EMU who thanked the group for its strong support of EMU students in the criminal justice program.
This week, Wilbanks noted the central importance of safety and security on a college campus, and spoke of O'Dell's major role in creating programs that help protect Eastern's students and staff.
"Greg had an unwavering commitment to EMU, and he oversaw so many advances in terms of safety and security on our campus," Wilbanks said. "He came here at a very important time in the life of the University, and really made a difference at Eastern."
President Martin said, "We are delighted with the great turnout and support for this inaugural Greg O'Dell event. Greg was widely admired for his deep contributions to the community, to Eastern, and as a key member of our leadership team. He made an enormous impact at EMU in making our campus safe and welcoming. He is deeply missed."
O'Dell, an EMU alumnus, became executive director of the Eastern Michigan University Department of Public Safety in 2008.
The years that followed saw a wide variety of safety improvements at EMU, including the opening in fall 2009 of a new Department of Public Safety headquarters in a remodeled building at the northwest end of campus, at a cost of only $3.9 million. During O'Dell's tenure, EMU increased campus foot patrols, established a crime-solving unit, increased campus surveillance and greatly enhanced residence hall security.
O'Dell graduated from EMU in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree and then received his Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1996. He was also a graduate of the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Va., and the EMU School for Staff and Command.
Prior to joining Eastern, O'Dell served as the deputy chief of the Ann Arbor Police Department for four years. During his almost 20 years with the Ann Arbor Police Department, O'Dell served in numerous positions, including interim chief from November 2005 to June 2006. He joined the Ann Arbor Police Department as an officer in 1988 and became a detective in 1993, was promoted to sergeant in 1998 and promoted to lieutenant in 2000.
O'Dell was born in Flint in 1957 and graduated from Clio High School. He died on December 23, 2011 and is survived by Kathy and his two daughters, Kelly and Erin.
To make a donation for the scholarship fund, please go to the EMU Foundation website at https://www.emufoundation.org/index.php/public-give.html?fund=01954.
Eagle Crest Golf Club, a championship caliber layout recognized as both playable and challenging, is located at 1275 S. Huron Street, Ypsilanti, MI.