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

Rector Carlton Bennett Praises President Broderick's Leadership During Challenging Budget Period

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Carlton Bennett, the rector of Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors, praised President John R. Broderick for his advocacy on behalf of the University during a time of tight finances in Virginia at the board's quarterly meeting on Dec. 8.

Bennett said he, President Broderick and Elizabeth Kersey, assistant to the president for local, state and federal governmental relations, stressed in a recent meeting with Gov. Terry McAuliffe that Old Dominion has the lowest tuition among Virginia's doctoral universities, while being one of three institutions (along with Virginia Military Institute and Eastern Virginia Medical School) not at 100 percent of state base adequacy guidelines. Old Dominion currently sits at 95 percent.

"I think we had a good session with the governor," Bennett said. "My impression was that he was very impressed with our presentation. Thanks to President Broderick's leadership, I think we'll be in a better position going forward."

In his presentation, President Broderick outlined the challenging funding position for higher education in Virginia, which resulted in the cancellation of a scheduled 3 percent raise for the state's employees.

He also informed the board about the addition of a commencement ceremony just for graduate students, beginning next May. The change was prompted by an increase in students and in those who want to attend graduation ceremonies.

The first new advanced degree ceremony will be 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 5. The ceremonies for undergraduates will be 3:30 that day and 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.

The Board of Visitors also heard a presentation from Giovanna M. Genard, assistant vice president for strategic communication and marketing, and Rusty Waterfield, associate vice president for university services and chief information officer, about a project to enhance the University's website with simplified design.

Genard and Waterfield demonstrated Old Dominion's new, externally focused website. They said it better aligns with the University's strategic goals by providing more effective marketing and communication opportunities to prospective students and other University audiences.

ODU's new website features a simplified design, more prominent news stories with images to enhance storytelling, enhanced navigation and integrates videos and social media to add greater interactivity and promote engagement.

Athletic Director Wood Selig said the sendoff for the Old Dominion football team -- which will feature the Monarch Marching Band, ODU Cheer and Dance, and Big Blue -- will be in Webb University Center at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 19. The Monarchs will play Eastern Michigan University in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Dec. 23.

In his report to the Board of Visitors, Selig also highlighted the academic performance of ODU's teams, noting an improvement in graduation rates.

In other business, the Board of Visitors approved two new master of science degrees, in exercise science and speech-language pathology. Both programs will be launched in the fall.

The board also approved awarding honorary doctor of humane letters degrees to Barry M. Kornblau '71, retired chairman and CEO of Summit Realty Group, Inc., and Ting Xu '88, founder and president of Evergreen Enterprises and CEO and co-owner of Plow and Hearth.

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