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A gift to propel flooding research

In my recent State of the University speech, I announced one of the most significant gifts that Old Dominion University has received during my presidency.

Joan Brock, an alumna and longtime supporter of Old Dominion, has donated $3 million to our new Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience, or ICAR. Specifically, Joan's donation will allow us to hire an international thought leader to serve as executive director of ICAR.

Sea level rise and flooding resiliency has emerged as a key research area for Old Dominion, with growing consequences for Hampton Roads and other regions. This gift will allow us to further expand our scope in such areas as research, education and outreach.

One of the new institute's major initiatives will be Recover Hampton Roads, which will create a data-intensive warehouse to expedite housing recovery after a severe weather event. We envision this as a model for communities across the country.

We believe in the value of partnerships and collaboration, and this project is no different. The executive director of ICAR will play a dual role, also serving as the senior resilience strategist for the City of Norfolk.

Not only will this strengthen our already significant relationship with the city; it will also provide more opportunities to put our research to use.

Joan's donation is just the latest of several acts of generosity from her family.

She and her late husband, Macon, donated $1 million toward Brock Commons, the outdoor amphitheater on Monarch Way, which opened in 2015. In addition, the Brocks established a $100,000 endowment for a

scholarship for a junior or senior in good academic standing who tutors high school students through the ACCESS College Foundation.

Just as the recipients of the Brock scholarship are paying it forward, so, too, will Old Dominion make the most of Joan's gift for the benefit of our region and other communities.

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