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Old Dominion University began its tradition of excellence when it was founded in 1930 by the College of William and Mary, the second oldest university in the United States. Established as an extension of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia, Old Dominion began educating teachers and engineers. The two-year school rapidly evolved into a four-year institution, and was granted independence in 1962 as Old Dominion College.

Considerable growth in enrollment, the expansion of research facilities and preparation for the addition of graduate programs led the Board of Visitors to approve the name change to Old Dominion University. Now Old Dominion is a powerhouse for higher education with six colleges: Arts and Letters, Business and Public Administration, Education, Engineering and Technology, Health Sciences and Sciences. Old Dominion has offered master's degrees since 1964 and Ph.D.s since 1971. The University has achieved designation as a Research University (high research activity) from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Proud of its past, Old Dominion constantly looks to the future and prides itself on its continually expanding research and teaching programs. An ever-evolving university, Old Dominion is an agent of change for its students, for the region and the nation it serves. Old Dominion is Virginia's forward-focused, public doctoral research university for students from around the world who want a rigorous academic experience in a profoundly multicultural community. Our nationally recognized faculty use real-world expertise and innovative teaching methods to challenge students to achieve their highest goals. Our determined entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving drives cutting-edge research, eminent scholarship and strategic partnerships with government, business, industry, organizations and the arts.

For more information about the history of the University, please see the Special Collections and University Archives website at https://odu.edu/library/special-collections.

Pride & Traditions

ODU fans at a football game

Monarchs and pride are inseparable! Learn about some of the traditions and pride that drive that ODU Monarch spirit.

75 Great Moments

Big Blue in the Bookstore

75 great moments in ODU history, republished from the fall 2005 issue of Old Dominion University Magazine.

Honorary Degrees

Graduates Wave to Family

The university honors individuals who have made a positive impact on the university, community and society as a whole by bestowing them with an honorary doctorate in their field of practice.