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Chip Gaines of HGTV's 'Fixer Upper' Will Visit ODU Nov. 28

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Chip Gaines, lifelong entrepreneur and one-half of the dynamic duo that produces HGTV's hit program "Fixer Upper," will appear at Old Dominion University's Ted Constant Convocation Center on Monday, Nov. 28.

The appearance is the signature event of Entrepreneurship Month celebrations at Old Dominion. The month has included the second annual Student Entrepreneurial Expo at the Strome Entrepreneurial Center and the induction of the third class of the Strome Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame.

Gaines stars with his wife, Joanna, in the program, which shows the process by which the couple turns dilapidated but high-potential houses into showplaces that are helping revitalize neighborhoods throughout central Texas.

The program, about to begin its fourth season, is one of the most popular on HGTV and has attracted an avid following nationwide.

Gaines is making the rare appearance because of the relationship he formed with Jeff Tanner, dean of the Strome College of Business, while both were at Baylor University in Texas. The appearance will be part of the Strome College Landmark Executive-in-Residence speaker series. It will be co-sponsored by the Women's Initiative Network at Old Dominion. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Doors open an hour beforehand.

"Chip is one of those people who can't sit still," Tanner said. "Like many entrepreneurs, he not only has great business ideas, he brings those ideas to life, and he does so with complete integrity."

Gaines has been a business owner since his days at Baylor. While still a student, Gaines ran a wash-and-fold laundry service and a lawn business, and he sold fireworks.

He continued his entrepreneurial passion after graduating from Baylor, joined by Joanna.

Together, they own and operate Magnolia Homes, a remodeling and design business in Waco. When a buyer's only option in a good location is a house with a dreadful design and a clunky layout, the couple says buy it, then fix it. "Fixer Upper" pairs Chip and Joanna Gaines with central Texas buyers to renovate the wrong house that's in the right location.

Magnolia also includes a real estate business, vacation rentals and a retail shop. A restaurant will soon open in Texas, where the company is based. Gaines will appear on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine in December, and a magazine feature will spotlight Magnolia.

General admission for the event at Old Dominion is sold out, but reserved tables are available for purchase by contacting Jazmin Elliott at jelliott@odu.edu.

The Strome College of Business Landmark Executive-in-Residence speaker series is designed to enrich students' entrepreneurial spirit, their awareness of the success that can be built on their academic experience and their understanding of the importance of leading with integrity.

Established in 2001, the Landmark Executive-in-Residence program is funded by an endowment from a group of former Landmark Communications executives in honor of Frank Batten Sr., former chairman of the executive committee of the Landmark board and the first rector of the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors.

The program is dedicated to bringing accomplished business leaders, many of whom are University alumni, to campus to share their history and vision, giving students the opportunity to learn firsthand the strategies and experiences that forge great ethical global leaders.

Old Dominion University made a substantial commitment to creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem in 2014, with the gift of $11 million from the Strome Family Foundation of alumnus Mark Strome '78. A diverse array of programming runs through the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, which opened three years ago. For a list of regularly scheduled events, see the University's entrepreneurship website.

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