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Founders' Day Event Recognizes ODU Community Service Members

By Noell Saunders

At Old Dominion's 31st Founders' Day luncheon Nov.3, the theme was "framing the success of our future leaders" as two organizations, and three community members were honored for their leadership and civic engagement.

The University co-hosts Founders' Day each year with Town-N-Gown, an independent, informal association of men and women dedicated to developing a mutual understanding between Old Dominion and the civilian and military communities of Hampton Roads.

"The recipients today can literally and figuratively be considered as mentors to students, faculty and staff," Old Dominion President John R. Broderick told the audience at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. "In addition to their commitment to our campus, they also give back to our surrounding communities serving as mentors and resources to organizations across the Commonwealth."

ODU Community Service Award: This award went to the Women's Initiative Network (WIN), an organization created by Old Dominion first lady Kate Broderick, and Board of Visitor member and ODU alumna, Pamela Kirk, to engage female executives, alumnae and community leaders with the university and its students. The initiative draws on resources from the university and the business community to develop formal and informal educational opportunities, mentorships and one on one support from a community of like-minded women.

The award is presented in recognition of the contributions of faculty, staff and student leaders to service in communities in Hampton Roads and elsewhere.

Rita M. Costello Town-N-Gown Community Service Award: This award was presented to R. Stuart Cake, past president of ODU Town-N-Gown, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, Tidewater Toastmasters, Oceanfront Jaycees and the Bertha Snyder Children's Care Fund.

Recipients of this award are honored by the board of Town-N-Gown. The award recognizes individuals from many aspects of the broader community who have demonstrated unusual concern for and commitment to serving others.

Monarch Legacy Award: This award was created to recognize a member or members of the ODU community whose actions made a significant impact on the campus community. It went to two former ODU employees.

David Harnage, Old Dominion's former COO was honored for his commitment and dedication during a 33-year career in higher education. Old Dominion president John R. Broderick recognized Harnage for his design influence on several University buildings including the new Darden College of Education, The Ted Constant Convocation Center, The Kate and John R. Broderick Dining Commons and the upcoming Barry Art Museum. Harnage served as the University's master builder overseeing the construction of a total of 17 buildings during his time at ODU.

G.W. Thompson III, an Old Dominion alum and former director of the Center for Major Explorations, was recognized for his impact on the development of countless students. During his 36 years at the University, Thompson taught freshman orientation, career exploration and human services counseling classes. President Broderick noted Thompson's commitment that made him a life changer for many students who carry his legacy in their professional accomplishments.

Albert B. "Buck" Gornto Jr. Regional Service Award: This award went to Envision Lead Grow, a nonprofit organization started by Norfolk business woman Angela D. Reddix, which serves to help break the cycle of poverty for thousands of young girls in underrepresented communities through mentorship and empowerment.

The recipient of this award must be a resident of Hampton Roads and someone who has shown outstanding commitment and service to this region of the commonwealth.

The Founders' Day luncheon has been a tradition on the Old Dominion campus since 1987.

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