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Lion fountain with blue skies on Kaufman Mall.

June 2, 2021

Dear Colleague:

As summer begins, hopefully ushering in the start of a sense of normalcy, I want to share some of the incredibly positive events and occurrences that have happened in our Monarch community over the last several months. One of them is that, for the first time in 18 months, I will not mention the COVID virus beyond this reference.

As we approach the start of a new fiscal year, we all can celebrate the 5 percent pay raise granted by the Governor and the General Assembly during the 2021 session. It is a well-deserved increase for our campus community and one we truly appreciate.

I'm also happy to report continuing good news for students on the question of educational affordability at ODU. For the third consecutive year, the Board of Visitors joined me in supporting a zero increase in tuition for most students. I strongly believed that, coming off two difficult financial years for most families and students, we were obligated to freeze tuition to ensure more students would be able to remain in school and persist toward graduation. Fees will also remain flat.

Without a lot of fanfare because of gathering restrictions, we hosted community health leaders as we broke ground on our new School of Health Sciences building, and we also dedicated the opening of the new Chemistry building and the Hugo Owens residence hall. Governor Northam and members of the Owens family joined me in that ceremony. These three buildings collectively represent a $213 million investment by the state in our campus, and the General Assembly during its recent session also granted Old Dominion permission to begin planning for a new biology building.

On the teaching side, Jennifer Fish and Ling Li captured the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Awards in March. Thirty-five of our faculty members have now received these prestigious awards, more than almost any other public or private college and university in the commonwealth.

Athletically, our women's tennis team participated in the NCAA tournament and defeated Arkansas before succumbing to top-ranked North Carolina. It was a wonderful season for Coach Dominic Manilla and his group, who also had one of the highest team GPAs in school history.

Not to be outdone, our baseball Monarchs, led by Coach Chris Finwood and star outfielder Kyle Battle, captured the C-USA championship in an exciting extra-innings game on Sunday and now head to the NCAA tournament for the first time in seven years. They are the 11th seeded team and will play Jacksonville Friday night.

I was equally thrilled to celebrate seven in-person graduation ceremonies with more than 4,000 graduates and 20,000 guests during a 52-hour period in May. It was a remarkable feat, and Karen Meier, Mike Fryling plus VPs Agho and Stansberry led the way. For this herculean effort, they have my sincere thanks.

Finally, our Capital Campaign has exceeded the $212 million mark. As part of that effort, donors recently contributed nearly $1.8 million towards new scholarships in STEM-H and women's athletics to honor Kate and me. These funds, coupled with previous gifts to the Perry Honors College and the Ripley volleyball scholarship - also in our name - bring the total to nearly $3 million.

We are so grateful to many current and former members of the Board of Visitors for leading this effort, which we hope is not finished.

I hope you, too, are inspired by these positive developments, and I wish you an enjoyable summer.


John R. Broderick

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