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Endowed Scholarship Named in Honor of Retired Vice President of Student Affairs Dana Burnett

By Tom Robinson

Dana Burnett, Old Dominion University's former vice president for student affairs, has been a treasured friend and mentor to Monarchs for nearly a half-century. A scholarship bearing his name will now allow future generations of Old Dominion students to feel Burnett's influence as well.

The Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership has created the Dana Burnett Endowed Scholarship in Leadership Education. The award will benefit students in the University's higher education and community college leadership programs.

"I'm not only honored but just thrilled with the efforts of the faculty to create this scholarship," Burnett said. The award, he added, will provide "a perpetual opportunity" for new leaders in higher education to earn their doctoral degrees from the University's Darden College of Education.

Burnett has served the Old Dominion community since 1972, when he arrived on campus as director of financial aid and placement after his service as a commissioned U.S. Naval officer. He became dean of student affairs two years later and spent a decade guiding Monarchs with calm, encouraging counsel before being named vice president for student affairs.

Burnett transitioned to the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership in the Darden College of Education in 2006, serving as faculty member and department chair. He retired in 2016, but still teaches graduate courses as an adjunct faculty member.

His wide-ranging contributions in the field of student affairs have been recognized by the Virginia Student Services Legacy Award. He also is the recipient of the Robert H. Shaffer Distinguished Alumnus Award from Indiana University, where Burnett earned his post-graduate degrees.

"Dr. Burnett is admired, beloved and trusted by so many students," said Christopher Glass, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership. Glass is leading the effort to fund the scholarship.

Burnett said higher education is "the best profession in the world." And he urged future student-affairs leaders to remember that "the most important kind of intelligence is emotional intelligence, the ability to listen to people and to act interpersonally in a reasonably effective way."

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