October 18, 2022

Gerald and Inez O’Brien Scholarship

Gerald and Inez O’Brien both grew up in Saginaw County and were married for over 30 years before Gerald passed away at an early age. After graduating from high school, Gerald attended the General Motors Institute (GMI), now Kettering University, where he studied mechanical engineering. After graduating from GMI, he began working at General Motors (GM). In 1981, Gerald invented a tri-pot universal joint housing for General Motors for which it took GM six years to receive a patent. In 1982, GM began using his invention in nearly all of their passenger cars. By 1987, Gerald’s invention saved General Motors over $15 million and he was awarded the prestigious General Motor’s Boss Kettering Award for his invention. Despite Gerald’s serious long-term health problems, he never faltered in his love for the outdoors and his drive and determination to continue to have a positive outlook on life.

After graduating from Saginaw High School, Inez worked a few years as a legal secretary until marrying Gerald and beginning a family. Inez always wished to attend college and said not attending college was one regret she had in life. Gerald and Inez both believed strongly in education and supporting family and friends. In addition, they each treasured their lifetime neighbors and knew the importance of building relationships with their community neighbors and enjoying life. This scholarship memorial fund was created by their daughter, Ann Pavlik, and son, Dr. Keith O’Brien. The fund will strive to recognize those giving back to the community and those facing challenges head on, even when life throws roadblocks along the way.  


  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Resident of the Great Lakes Bay Region
  • Graduating senior from any Saginaw County high school
  • Full-time enrollment
  • Pursuing an associate or undergraduate degree or Career and Technical Education (CTE) training
  • Special essay required

Evaluation Criteria

  • Work experience (40)
  • Essay on career goals (20)
  • Special essay (20)
  • Overall involvement (10)
  • Academic performance (5)
  • Community service (5)