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

Jensen Communications Lab Dedicated in Constant Hall Ceremony

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Entry-level jobs in many business fields, particularly sales and marketing, rely on finely honed communication skills. Yet students at colleges and universities are frequently not taught those skills.

Old Dominion is ensuring that doesn't happen to graduates of the Strome College of Business. University officials dedicated the state-of-the-art George W. Jenson Communications Lab during Homecoming week.

The lab, made possible through a gift from George '70 and Linda '72 Jensen, will provide an immersive, technology-rich laboratory and classroom setting for students to learn and develop tools to empower them in the workplace.

"This beautiful classroom space is so much more than the desks and chairs that you see," Jeff Tanner, dean of the Strome College, said at the Sept. 23 dedication ceremony in front of the lab on the second floor of Constant Hall.

"This lab contains the latest communication technology so that students, no matter their field of business, can be successful."

George Jensen's creativity and entrepreneurial spirit led to the development of several successful business ventures, including the technology company Amplex. At the dedication, he spoke about the "full circle" of communication, reflecting on how the ability to convey ideas has helped him in his career and his life.

"Here at Old Dominion, I first took a class in public speaking and recognized the value of communication. It's what helped me walk up to Linda in Webb Center and ask her to go on a date," he said.

"All these years later, I find myself here with you good folks. This beautiful lab is so much more advanced than George Jensen practicing in front of a mirror with a tape recorder."

In thanking the Jensens for their gift, Old Dominion President John R. Broderick spoke about the University's commitment to help its students become engaged citizens. He said interactive spaces like the Jensen Communications Lab are a key component.

"It's no surprise to me, given the success in their careers, that George was a member of the Mace & Crown when he was a student here, and Linda was a member of the Student Government Association," President Broderick said. "Typically, engaged students do better, because of the skills they learn outside of the classroom. Old Dominion is extremely grateful for what this gift will do for us."

President Broderick, a former journalist who has worked in communication-related fields throughout his career, added: "There's never a day that I think communication skills aren't imperative to what you are trying to achieve."

At the dedication, Barbara Wielicki, vice president of human resources for information technology company ESI, pledged a $20,000 gift from the company, a founding partner of the lab, to support student activities.

Local real estate executive Van Rose, who could not attend the dedication ceremony, has committed a $100,000 gift to support scholarships, competitions and activities.

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