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ODU’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Will Guide Tradition of Change and Adaptation, Broderick Says in Annual Address

Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick outlined a year of achievements of faculty, staff and students in his annual State of the University address on Tuesday, Aug. 21. But Broderick said continuing paradigm shifts in higher education nationwide will mandate that the university continue its tradition of change and adaptation.

In his address, to 1,200 community leaders and members of the ODU community, Broderick said the university is uniquely situated to tackle the changes as they arrive. "But we cannot - and will not - cease in our efforts to remain at the leading edge, our entrepreneurial spirit guiding our way."

In his morning address at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, Broderick said for the long-term health of Old Dominion, it's vital that the university examine several critically important issues that tie directly to its strategic plan goals.

The first is the continuing integration of the military with ODU. With more than 25 percent of the student body military affiliated, ODU has been recognized nationally as military-friendly. But the landscape is ever changing, Broderick said. "Our review will determine the university's next generation of support and services for our men and women in uniform."

ODU's eighth president said simple geography makes the port and maritime industry a priority of the university. Since the port is a critical component of the economic vitality of the commonwealth, Broderick said ODU is examining ways to extend its research and academic programs to help grow this resource.

Going forward, Broderick said the university also has plans to conduct a review of its regional higher education centers. "Established with the purpose of better serving the Hampton Roads community, these centers in Virginia Beach, Hampton and Portsmouth continue to have extended importance in Old Dominion's commitment to accessible and affordable education," Broderick said. "After several decades of operation, however, a strategic review is necessary to chart a course for future successes."

In the area of distance learning, Broderick said ODU's charge remains to be an innovator and pioneer in the use of technology, but he noted that the university's strategic challenge will be adapt to the changing marketplace.

Moving forward, the university seeks to increase its six-year graduation rates, raise the student retention rate to 83 percent, continue enhancing ODU's academic profile, and maximize student engagement and satisfaction, the president said. Fall enrollment will be approximately 25,000 students.

Broderick singled out nationally recognized students like Devon Taylor, who graduated from ODU in May and was accepted into Harvard Medical School with a full scholarship, and Matthew Portner and Rebecca Michel of the Darden College of Education, who won the top national awards in the American Counseling Association's international honor society competition.

"Make no mistake, Old Dominion University students can - and do - stand with the best students in the nation," Broderick said.

He also recognized the achievements of ODU's faculty, which helped the university attain top 100 national rankings in 18 research areas. Broderick said the Frank Reidy Center for Bioelectrics and Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center place ODU at the forefront, internationally, in their respective fields.

The president said ODU's achievements wouldn't be possible without support from the commonwealth and from private donors. He thanked Gov. Bob McDonnell and the Hampton Roads delegation of the General Assembly for the more than $30 million added to its state allocation in the past two years.

It has also been a banner year for private support. In April, ODU opened the 185-seat Goode Theatre, thanks to the generosity of philanthropists and art enthusiasts David and Susan Goode. ODU will begin construction early next year on a new art building at 47th Street and Monarch Way. In an exciting collaboration, the university has signed an agreement with the Chrysler Museum of Art to locate its Jean Outland Chrysler Library in the new art building.

"The library's more than 112,000 rare and unique volumes makes it one of the most significant art libraries in the South," Broderick said.

With much to celebrate, the president said it is important for ODU to look forward.

To read the entire State of the University address, SEE HERE

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