Golf outing reaches $100K goal to endow EMU scholarship

The Greg O'Dell Golf Outing, which raises scholarship funds for criminal justice students at Eastern Michigan University, has reached its three-year goal of endowing a $100,000 scholarship fund. The outing has been held in mid-September over the last three years, with golfers competing in a scramble format at the Eagle Crest Golf Club in Ypsilanti. The third and final outing was held Sept. 19. Reaching the goal enables the University to continue awarding an annual scholarship of $4,000 to a criminal justice student from Eastern.

Leading up the fundraising effort has been the tournament's main sponsor, AT&T, which has contributed more than $25,000 to the effort. Other sponsors have included the EMU 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.

Two students, Brooke O'Neil and Timothy Nickels, have already been awarded the scholarship. O'Neil, the first winner, plans to become a professor in criminology. She graduated from Eastern last April with highest honors. A resident of St. Clair Shores, she excelled in her criminology and criminal justice courses at Eastern, along with taking on additional course work in white-collar crime and criminology to fulfill Honors College requirements. At EMU, she was active in student and community organizations, including Night Watch in the residence halls, Relay for Life and membership in Sigma Delta Tau Sorority.

Nickels, from Flint, carries a 3.65 GPA at EMU in addition to his many extracurricular activities, and is on target to graduate from EMU next April. While at EMU, Nickels has served as vice president of the EMU Residence Hall Association, representing the University at state and regional conferences, and now is the RHA's financial director. He currently works as a resident advisor, providing guidance to fellow students living in the residence halls.

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" spoke to O'Dell's longtime commitment to law enforcement and his goal to fund a scholarship for students seeking careers in the field.

An EMU alumnus, O'Dell became executive director of the EMU 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.

A native of Flint and graduate of Clio High School, O'Dell graduated from EMU in 1992 with a bachelor of science degree and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1996. Prior to joining Eastern, he 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, he served in numerous positions, including interim chief from November 2005 to June 2006.

To make a donation to the scholarship fund, visit

Published: Thu, Nov 20, 2014


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