February Moments: Diversity
Beginnings of Diversity
In 1966, Margaret Simmons becomes the first African American student to earn a degree - a master's in English - from Old Dominion.
A year later the school hires its first full-time black faculty member, art professor A.B. "Alex" Jackson. . .
Oral History with Charles Burgess
Charles Burgess served ODU in various capacities since 1955: professor, first Dean of Graduate Studies, Vice President and Provost for Academic Affairs, and Dean of Arts and Letters. In his 2010 oral history he discusses integration at ODU, including the hiring of A. B. Jackson.
. . . and in 1969, senior class president Ronald Horne becomes the first African American student to earn a bachelor's degree.
Arthur "Buttons" Speakes, the first black athlete recruited by a predominantly white college in Virginia, joins the Monarch basketball team in 1965.
Oral History with Coach Bud Metheny
According to Coach Bud Metheny: "Buttons" was one of the finest athletes that I've ever had or been associated with. His contribution to the team that year just couldn't be measured. He was just a tremendous person. He played well on the field, he hit, he ran, he hustled, he did everything that a coach could ask. And as a result he is one of our better players over the years. - Arthur "Bud" Metheny, interviewed May 29, 1975
Oral History with Norman Pollock
Norman Pollock taught history at ODU from 1964 through 1998. In a 1999 interview, Norman Pollock discusses the ODU campus during the time of the civil rights movement.
Women's Center, Women's Studies Added
The Women's Center opens in 1976. Among the first of its kind in the country, it focuses initially on serving older women returning to school.
See also, the Women's Center digital collection.
For more information about the history of the Women's Center, Women's Studies, athletics, and other women's activities on campus, visit the Women at ODU digital exhibit.
Oral History with Alfred Rollins
Alfred Rollins served as president of ODU from 1976-1985. In a 1999 interview, he discusses his recollections about women's programs at ODU.
A year later, the first Women's Studies Program in Virginia debuts. Carolyn Rhodes coordinates the program in its pilot year and its early success leads to a permanent program in 1978.
Oral History with Carolyn Rhodes
Although the Women's Studies program was started through the efforts of many people, Carolyn Rhodes, an emeritus professor of English and Women's Studies, is often credited as being the guiding force behind the program and its most ardent and loyal supporter. In a 2009 interview, she discusses how the Women's Studies program began.
Firsts in Women and Minority Appointments
Dorothy Doumar is appointed as Old Dominion's first female rector in 1978. A member of the Board of Visitors since 1972, she continues to serve until 1983. Her history-making year as rector is followed in 1979 by the appointment of Ulysses V. Spiva as the university's first African American dean (Education) and the appointment of Betty Diener as the first female dean (Business). Roseann Runte, ODU's first female president, leads the university from 2001 to 2008.
Lambert's Point Program Reaches Out
In 1992, Old Dominion establishes the Lambert's Point Summer Programs, offering educational, recreational and employment opportunities to children from the nearby, low-income Lambert's Point neighborhood. Founded by Cecelia Tucker, ODU's director of community relations, the program has reached out to approximately 3,400 children since its inception. This program was further expanded in 2014 through a partnership with the Life Enrichment Center to expand the reach of this program to the greater community and prevent the "summer slide" in students' academic performance over the summer break.
Oral History with Cecelia Tucker
President Koch hired Cecelia Tucker in 1991 partly to heal ODU's relationships with the African American community and local neighborhoods. In a 2009 interview, Cecelia Tucker discusses the beginnings of the Lambert's Point program.
Most of the oral histories and digital materials are from the University Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives. See Resources.