by Geoff Larcom, Published September 27, 2013
YPSILANTI – The Greg O’Dell Golf Outing, which raises scholarship funds for criminal justice students at Eastern Michigan University, netted more than $34,000 in its second year, putting the event well within reach of its three-year goal of endowing a $100,000 scholarship fund.
The golfers competed in a fun scramble format Sept. 20, on a cloudy, humid day at the Eagle Crest Golf Club in Ypsilanti, MI.
Last year’s inaugural event raised more than $40,000. Leading up the fundraising effort has been the tournament's main sponsor, AT&T, which has contributed more than $15,000 to the effort.
Other sponsors have included the Eastern Michigan University Foundation, Varnum Attorneys at Law, First Martin Corporation, Miller Canfield, the University of Michigan, visitypsi (Ypsilanti Area Convention and Visitors Bureau), Buck Consultants, Conor O’Neill’s, EMU President Susan Martin, Regent Emeritus Thomas Sidlik and Anthony Walesby.
After the event, golfers gathered for dinner, remarks, a raffle and a silent auction. The highlight was hearing from Brooke O’Neil, winner of the first O’Dell scholarship.
O'Neil, who carries a 3.96 GPA at EMU in addition to her many extracurricular activities, plans to become a professor in criminology.
"I was awestruck when I found out that I was the one to receive the scholarship," O'Neil says, citing the other excellent students who were in the running.
O'Neil, from St. Clair Shores, has been on the EMU Dean's List for six consecutive semesters. She has excelled in her criminology and criminal justice courses, along with taking on additional course work in white-collar crime and criminology to fulfill Honors College requirements.
She has been exceptionally active in student and community organizations, including Night Watch in the residence halls, Relay for Life and membership in Sigma Delta Tau Sorority.
The scholarship awards O’Neil $4,000 to help pay for her senior year of studies.
"Teaching criminology would give me the ability to show others how much it affects our everyday lives, and will allow me to show people that the field is vastly different from how it is portrayed in the media through TV and in movies," O'Neil says.
O'Dell, a highly respected former chief of police at EMU and an avid golfer, died in Dec. 2011. The outing's motto, "Keep His Dream Alive" speaks to O'Dell's longtime commitment to law enforcement and his goal to fund a scholarship for students seeking careers in the field.
O'Dell, an EMU alumnus, became executive director of the Eastern Michigan University Department of Public Safety in 2008 after a distinguished tenure with the Ann Arbor Police Department.
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 $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.
He 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.
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 was born in Flint in 1957 and graduated from Clio High School. He died on December 23, 2011 and is survived by his wife, Kathy, and his two daughters, Kelly and Erin.
The third and final Greg O’Dell Golf Outing will be held at Eagle Crest next September.
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.