No Worries, OU: Rochester Isn't Ready to Let You Go
City officials respond to a callout for the university's address to be changed from Rochester to Auburn Hills.
When a national audience heard "Live from Rochester, Michigan" at the start of the GOP Presidential Debate last November, leaders of the city the university calls "home" were beyond proud.
"From our perspective, it's obviously a really good thing to get the recognition from OU because it's growing, internationally, as an institution," said Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino.
But according to published reports, a neighboring city wants to get in on that pride.
Auburn Hills leaders told a writer for The Oakland Press earlier this month that it's time the university acknowledged its geographic position to this international audience it is attracting.
“We want OU to start recognizing that they are in Auburn Hills, which is a world-class, high-tech area in the community," Auburn Hills City Councilman Henry Knight told the newspaper writer.
While the campus sits partly in Rochester Hills and partly in Auburn Hills, its address is officially Rochester — a town that's technically 5 miles away.
According to a historical timeline of university events, when Matilda Wilson donated the land and the money for the university in the 1950s, she "demanded" that the address be Rochester — and asked the U.S. Postmaster to make sure it could be so.
Auburn Hills councilwoman Anne Doyle, an OU professor, called the Rochester address "ludicrous."
In his Monday column in The Detroit News, Neal Rubin put the issue in perspective.
"Ask anyone — including OU students — where you'll find the school, and there's an overwhelming likelihood the answer will be Rochester," Rubin wrote.
"If you stood at the border of Rochester, however, and decided to walk to class, you'd be in for a surprise. And you'd be late."
In both published reports, Auburn Hills officials hinted that they are urging university officials to consider changing the address.
Vettraino said the city of Rochester is not taking an official position advocating one way or another. "From our perspective, it's an issue specific to OU itself — it's their address," Vettraino said. "Certainly we reference OU as a great local institution, just like Chrysler in Auburn Hills and Rochester College in Rochester Hills."
"Locally, I think people understand where it's located in relationship to the city of Rochester and they understand it's a way to honor a person."