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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Wing of New Engineering Systems Building Named for Donna Scassera

Speaking to an overflow crowd in the atrium of Old Dominion University's Engineering Systems Building, which had just been rededicated in her honor, Old Dominion University Board of Visitors member Donna Scassera said she was "humbled" that her engineering career of more than 30 years brought her to this point.

A long-time supporter of the University, and of women in the traditionally male-dominated field of engineering, Scassera said she marvels at the growth of Old Dominion.

"I'm so proud of this University; especially this beautiful and I think gracefully designed building," she said, at the dedication of the Donna Lynn Scassera Atrium and Dean's Suite.

The Aug. 26 event was attended by members of Old Dominion's Board of Visitors, to which Scassera was appointed in June, as well as academic leaders from across campus and students of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.

President John R. Broderick thanked Scassera for her gift to the University. He noted that the atrium named in her honor is a prime example of the dynamic, collaborative space that allow students and faculty to seek new innovations through hands-on learning.

Ringing the atrium were displays of the work by Batten College engineering students, who also demonstrated their projects, to guests who attended the dedication, in labs throughout the two-year-old building.

"This facility includes another set of advantages and opportunities our engineering students have never had before," Broderick said. He added that the University is now the second leading producer in Virginia of graduates in the STEM-H technology fields.

"This helps allow Hampton Roads to reach its goal of being an economy that is less dependent on government defense spending, and an economic driver for the rest of the state," Broderick said.

Scassera is President and CEO of DLS Engineering Associates, Inc., a professional engineering and integrated logistics firm serving federal government customers. Since 2013, she has also served on the board of the Batten College, and is a founding member with Old Dominion First Lady Kate Broderick of the Women's Initiative Network where she mentors young women pursuing professions in science and technology.

One of the students she mentored, civil engineering senior Mary Meagan MacKinnon, issued a toast to Scassera as part of the dedication.

"You have given us all so much opportunity, so the next generation of engineers can achieve great things," MacKinnon said. "On a personal note, Donna was my mentor when I started at Old Dominion. I know I'm biased, but I feel like the atrium couldn't be named after anyone better!"

Donna Lynn Scassera (formerly Fischer) established DLS in 1995 at her kitchen table and shaped it into a market leader. DLS provides engineering, logistics and IT services focused on improving the performance, reliability and long-term stability of aviation and maritime assets and logistics systems. DLS has offices in Virginia Beach and Elizabeth City, N.C., and operates throughout the East Coast.

Prior to DLS, Scassera was a senior project engineer and contracts manager for 13 years at M. Rosenblatt & Son, Inc. She delivered a wide range of engineering and program management services to all major classes of U.S. Navy surface ships and conducted more than 300 shipboard inspections and surveys. She started her career as a process engineer at Shell Oil Company.

Scassera earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Penn State University. She has maintained a Professional Engineer license since 1982 and is a member of Women in Defense Greater Hampton Roads.

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