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Pathway Retention Award

Pathway Retention Award (PRA): A Scholarship Opportunity for Talented, Diverse Students Advancing the Mission of ODU

The Pathway Retention Award (PRA) was established by The Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity to promote the persistence/matriculation of diverse students attending Old Dominion University (ODU). This award seeks to recognize the value that diverse students bring to the university, including students from underrepresented backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

Submissions made during this academic year will be awarded for the next academic year. The distribution of the Award seeks to support students in their pursuit of academic excellence. Award recipients may receive:

  • a specified Meal Plan, which is an extension of the on-campus dining meal plan, eligible in select on-campus retail food service establishments (i.e. ODU Food Court, Starbucks, etc.)
  • AND/OR a specified ODU Bookstore Award

After a virtual event last year, the 2022-2023 face-to-face Pathway Retention Awards Luncheon was held March 23rd. This year 13 students received the Meal Plan and/or Bookstore Awards. The Event was hosted by John Wiley, Assistant for Diversity Initiatives, with remarks provided by September Sanderlin, VP of Human Resources, Diversity and Equity, and Dr. Veleka Gatling, Interim Assistant Vice President of Equity and Diversity. Our student speaker was Mary McFadden.

Students of diverse talents and abilities who are prepared to use their knowledge and experience to advance the ODU campus community towards a culture of inclusive excellence are encouraged to apply. Deadline for 2023-24 submissions is Wednesday, December 7, 2022.


Submissions to be awarded for the 2022-23 academic year are closed. Students can apply now for the 2023-2024 academic year award by submitting the online PRA Application Form.

Students meeting basic criteria to compete for the PRA must submit a one-page Word document essay on the following topic:

"Visible Equity" has been defined as putting systems, resources, and measurements in place to ensure that intentional attention is given to the people, practices, and policies that operationalize diversity, inclusion, and equity. Given this definition, what does visible equity mean to you and how can we create safe, inclusive, diverse spaces through this concept on our campus? What would your role be in promoting visible equity?

Submissions should follow the following formatting guidelines:

  • One page
  • 12-point font
  • Times New Roman
  • 1 inch margins
  • single or double spaced

Award recipients are expected to serve as a secret shopper for Auxiliary Services and attend two end-of-the-year award luncheons hosted by The Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity and Auxiliary Services. Please note that other scholarships or financial aid may restrict student eligibility. Accepting this award may impact other financial aid that a student receives.

Deadline for the 2023-24 submissions is Wednesday, December 7, 2022.

Contact Information

John Wiley
Assistant for Diversity Initiatives
Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity
Old Dominion University
4111 Monarch Way, Suite 106
Norfolk, VA 23508
Office: 757-683-3141
Fax: 757-683-5844

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