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Nancy Grden Appointed First Director of Strome Entrepreneurial Center

Nancy L. Grden, general manager for Genomind and a long-time entrepreneur, has been hired as the first executive director for the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, beginning in January.

Grden, a strong supporter of Old Dominion University and its efforts to create a campus-wide entrepreneurial culture, previously served as chair of the Executive Advisory Council for Old Dominion's Strome College of Business, and was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the ODU Educational Foundation.

She brings significant experience in leading growth and development of new and emerging organizations across several business sectors and government, with an emphasis on health care and human services.

Provost Carol Simpson said Grden is the right person to lead the Strome Entrepreneurial Center as it begins its important mission of fostering a campus-wide culture of entrepreneurship.

"Nancy brings to ODU considerable business acumen and experience as a successful entrepreneur," Simpson said. "She is already a wonderful mentor and role model to our students. We are thrilled that she has agreed to assume this new role and look forward to exciting times ahead for the Strome Entrepreneurial Center."

Grden was instrumental in the formation and launch of Genomind, a personalized medicine biotech company for neuropsychiatry, and responsible for its development, commercialization and strategy. She is also founder and president of Avenir LLC, which specializes in entrepreneurship and innovation.

She is a long-time supporter of ODU's efforts to build entrepreneurship into the curriculum for students from all academic disciplines. Grden was also instrumental in the creation and growth of the innovative Executive Mentor Program offered by the Strome College of Business to high-achieving students.

"It is an honor to be selected as the first executive director of the new Strome Entrepreneurial Center," said Grden. "I am excited and look forward to working with ODU as we establish and grow the center to achieve the vision of Mark and Tammy Strome."

Backed by an $11-million gift from the Strome Family Foundation, ODU's Strome Entrepreneurial Center opened in September. It features an innovative program that will empower ODU students from any academic discipline to create economic and social value in Hampton Roads and beyond.

Jim Lant, instructor of management in the Strome College of Business, has acted as interim executive director of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center for several months. Simpson said Lant has been instrumental in developing new initiatives, working with our six Entsminger Fellows on new academic programming in the academic colleges, and focusing existing student entrepreneurial activities within the center.

"Please join me in thanking Jim for his extraordinary efforts to support the cultivation of student entrepreneurship at Old Dominion University," Simpson said.

The Strome Entrepreneurial Center guides student entrepreneurs across the entire life cycle of the entrepreneurial process - from idea through the planning, research, analysis, startup and initial operations stages.

Entrepreneurs will be the true job creators in the 21st century economy, and ODU plays a pivotal role in empowering a new generation of entrepreneurs to fuel our economy.

ODU President John R. Broderick said the university has helped grow the Hampton Roads economy throughout its existence, and the Strome Entrepreneurial Center will enhance that capability. And it won't just be business students doing the innovation, Broderick said.

"The fact that the center is located outside the Strome College of Business sets us apart from other universities. At Old Dominion, our entrepreneurial spirit has no academic boundaries. Students have access to entrepreneurship courses in every college and at the center they are expertly guided across the entire entrepreneurial life cycle."

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