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

President Broderick Celebrates Past, Outlines Vision for Future in University Address

On a day when Old Dominion celebrated its past, President John R. Broderick said the University's future is bright.

During his annual State of the University address, Broderick kicked off the celebration of ODU's 85th anniversary by outlining the achievements of faculty, staff and students.

"Each day, ODU shines brighter as a vanguard of instruction, research, public service, diversity and economic growth," Broderick said. "And here at the dawn of our 85th year, I am privileged to celebrate Old Dominion's rich foundation with you, as we construct its radiant future."

In his address to more than 1,200 community leaders, elected officials and a large number of Old Dominion faculty and staff, Broderick related the story of how the then-Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary created its home on Hampton Boulevard.

Then-College President Jack Chandler instructed board member A.H. Foreman to "get an option" on the soon-to-be abandoned Larchmont School and the 12 acres that surrounded it.

"Eighty-five years later, I marvel at what has become of that 'option,'" Broderick said.

The University will celebrate its founding with a series of events throughout the school year, highlighted with a birthday celebration for Old Dominion on Saturday, Sept. 12 - the day the Norfolk Division first opened its doors to students.

In the 30-minute State of the University address, his eighth as president, Broderick demonstrated how profoundly the University has grown since 1930.

"With more than 25,000 students, and 132,000 alumni representing every state and 76 countries, Old Dominion has truly earned its world class designation," Broderick said. "With more than $48 million in direct grant funding, and millions more in funds to support a diverse array of programming, the University has an economic impact on the Commonwealth of more than $2 billion annually.

"It is a University with award-winning faculty, including 28 winners of the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV), a notable list joined this year by nuclear physicist Gail Dodge," Broderick remarked.

The address also highlighted some of the University's many student achievers, including entrepreneurs Max Hall and Austin Jones, developers of the CampusWise online textbook marketplace; Dana Childress, the nation's outstanding doctoral student in early childhood and special education; and the first Old Dominion doctoral graduates in biomedical engineering.

The President also noted the University's deep, decades-long connection to the military and the work of ODU's Military Connection Center and Veterans Business Outreach Center in helping military affiliated students and alumni succeed in many fields.

Broderick pointed out that the University is growing in physical dimensions as well, with a new standalone dining hall and Darden College of Education building being constructed. Those facilities will join other recent additions to campus such as the Barry Arts Building and the Engineering Systems Building.

Broderick said, as a microcosm of society, Old Dominion boasts one of the most racially and ethnically diverse student populations in the country. He urged everyone in the campus community to embrace that diversity of spirit.

"We want to be a community where 'One ODU' is more than just a slogan," he said. "Ad ODU, diversity and inclusion go hand-in-hand with our academic mission."

To help ensure this, Broderick has charged the President's Task on Inclusive Excellence to develop objectives that support progression toward a more inclusive framework in the next five years. "There is no magic bullet for achieving inclusive excellence. It is not a one-time event. Rather it is a process that unfolds and changes over time," he said.

The video of basketball player Trey Freeman's banked-in three-point shot that sent Old Dominion to the NIT Final Four elicited the liveliest reaction from the crowd, but Broderick pointed out it was far from the only athletic highlight for the University. With a first-ever Conference USA championship in men's soccer, and the selection of wrestler Tristan Warner as the top academic performer at the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row, Broderick noted that the men and women who pull on the Monarchs' blue and white are true student-athletes.

"Monarchs truly train their brains as well their bodies - 140 of our student-athletes made the spring Dean's List," he said.

In addition to kicking off the academic year, and Old Dominion's celebration of its 85th anniversary, Broderick tapped into the sizable tradition of service at the University by using the address to collect non-perishable food items for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. The stores of food at the agency, which serves over 56,000 children struggling with hunger annually, have declined to a critical level.

Foodbank staff were onsite at the Constant Center, collecting food and cash donations before and after the event. In total, the equivalent of more than 2,100 meals was donated by attendees.

Broderick also highlighted another event connected to the year-long celebration - "85 Hours of Giving." This three-day fund-raising event in September has a goal of raising $850,000 to honor the University's latest milestone. Broderick noted that alumni and friends of the University have repeatedly shown their generosity, donating $6.5 million to accompany the 2014 gift from Mark and Tammy Strome to the Strome College of Business, and contributing more than $7 million to help create the Mitchum Basketball Performance Center, a practice facility attached to the Constant Center.

The President also thanked Gov. Terry McAuliffe for authorization to begin the construction of a $71-million Life Sciences Building, and added the University is seeking support for a $74-million Health Sciences Building, and a $62-million Student Services Building.

Throughout the year, Broderick has also challenged faculty staff and students to pledge 85 hours of service in recognition of the University's 85th anniversary. Broderick said ODU students performed more than 500,000 hours of community service last year, which translates to $12.5 million in local value. That included projects such as Monarchs for Monarchs, the effort to create habitat for migrating monarch butterflies; and the Little Feet Meet, an annual Special Olympics event led by Betsy Kennedy, a senior lecturer in Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies.

In conclusion, Broderick urged attendees to channel the bold spirit of the visionaries who created the University 85 years ago. "They fused a plan that took root, flourished and enhanced their community," he said.

Today, he continued, the collective heart and soul of Old Dominion University is a vital resource for Hampton Roads, Virginia, the nation and the world.

"Our thirst for discovery is fierce. Our search for solutions is relentless. Our sense of mission has never been as sharp," Broderick said.

The full text of the President Broderick's State of the University address can be read here. To view video of the University address, see the Old Dominion University website.

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