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President's Corner: September 2017

During the past year, Old Dominion University achieved two milestones of note:

The university recorded the highest graduation rate in its history. Old Dominion also awarded the largest number of bachelor's degrees - more than 4,000.

The credit goes to the students for their hard work, as well as the faculty and staff members who helped support and empower them to meet their potential.

Their success relies on focus and perseverance in the classroom, but it's also boosted by strong relationships outside class. Research has shown that students who connect in a meaningful way to their campus and to the people who work and live there - other students, faculty and staff - are more likely to graduate.

That's why we're about to start work to enhance extracurricular life.

Webb University Center is the hub of student life, with more than 300 clubs. We will be renovating the first floor to provide more space for student organizations and activities.

We are a diverse community, and this will allow students from a variety of backgrounds to better connect and network with one another and broaden their experiences. In the process, it will expose more of them to the staff of our Office of Leadership & Student Involvement and Office of Intercultural Relations. And their time in Webb also can help instill leadership skills and a collaborative mindset that will benefit them when they join the workplace.

About 25 percent of our students have ties to the military. We realize they, too, need a location to congregate and share experiences. So we are developing a gathering space for veterans and other military-affiliated students in the former Education Building. To put all of our resources in one place, we will also move our Military Connection Center there.

All of this work will be done in 2018. We hope this will provide an even more rewarding experience for our students - and that it will help even more of them graduate.

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