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Positioning ODU for Maritime Excellence

Through the years, Old Dominion University has developed strong partnerships internally and externally to advance our work in fields such as resilience, bioelectrics and cybersecurity. I'd like to update you on our latest such collaboration, in the maritime area, which I am confident will yield significant benefits for Old Dominion, Hampton Roads and beyond.

ODU has already distinguished itself in the maritime field with programs such as our International Maritime Institute and both undergraduate and master's degrees in maritime and supply chain management. The movement to take our efforts to the next level began with ODU's Economic Development Catalyst Task Force. The task force, co-chaired by Old Dominion's Nancy Grden and community leader Dubby Wynne, identified the maritime domain as a key focus for the region and University.

The work of the task force also led to the creation this year of the Hampton Roads Maritime Collaborative for Growth & Innovation, bringing together more than 40 representatives from such sectors as business, the Navy and economic development. Old Dominion will have a significant role at the collaborative. I am the co-chair, and Nancy has been named its initial executive director. Plus, one of its eight initiatives is to help position ODU for "global prominence" in maritime endeavors.

Nancy also co-chairs the newly formed Old Dominion Maritime Initiative Work Group, along with Mileta Tomovic, a professor in the Departments of Engineering Technology and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering. The work group - which includes representation from all colleges, the Graduate School and the Office of Research - will forge a game plan for Old Dominion to achieve global prominence in this important sector.

Old Dominion already has 27 academic programs and 11 academic centers with a direct maritime connection, plus many others, across all colleges, with potential tie-ins. We will strengthen our position by doing what we do best at ODU - pursuing a multidisciplinary approach, breaking down walls between disciplines. To move forward, we will draw from our already successful work - and find new connections - in resilience, offshore wind energy and unmanned autonomous technology, among other areas.

For its part, the region boasts numerous attractive assets and opportunities, including the world's largest naval base and the deepest harbor on the East Coast, as well as an emerging digital port and advanced digital shipbuilding capabilities.

Together, we can make this University and region a maritime model for the world.

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