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A Decade of Progress: President Broderick Delivers 11th State of the University Address

By Noell Saunders

Old Dominion University will have the largest freshman class in its history, with more than 3,100 new students, when the semester starts next week, President John R. Broderick said Aug. 22 during his 11th State of the University address.

Total enrollment, including graduate, transfer and online students, will remain at about 24,000 students, Broderick told about 1,300 people at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. That, he said, maintains the University's goal of being "a better institution, not a bigger one."

Broderick marks his 10th anniversary as president this summer. He has increased the University's public and private funding by more than $800 million and added 150 faculty positions. More than 50,000 students have graduated during Broderick's presidency. In 2017, Old Dominion recorded the highest graduation rate in its history.

The 25 buildings constructed during his tenure include the Barry Art Museum, which resulted from a donation valued at $35 million - the largest in Old Dominion's history - from Richard and Carolyn Barry. Broderick announced that the museum, featuring more than 250 glass objects, paintings and other artwork, will open Nov. 14.

He also announced that Old Dominion has so far raised $115 million toward its $250 million fundraising initiative. About $1 million has been pledged for the Bridge the Gap program to help students overcome unexpected financial hurdles. The program was launched by the Women's Initiative Network, which was founded by ODU First Lady Kate Broderick and Pamela Kirk, the secretary of the Board of Visitors.

"We have amassed a remarkable record of achievement thanks to the spirit, ingenuity and creativity of faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni and supporters across the commonwealth and beyond," Broderick said.

Among the accomplishments from the past year that he highlighted were:

  • The ranking of Old Dominion among the top 15 percent of universities in the national Social Mobility Index, which measures success in elevating students' socioeconomic levels. Old Dominion recently held a national symposium on social mobility and established a Social Mobility Center.
  • The reduction of tuition for active-duty military undergraduates by more than 28 percent.
  • The opening of the new Children's Learning & Research Center on 47th Street and Killam Avenue for infants through 2-year olds.
  • The health sciences expansion at the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, including an enhanced nursing program, a new telehealth education and research center, and a cutting-edge patient simulation lab.
  • A new master's program in cybersecurity and the recent graduation of the first bachelor's recipients in cybersecurity.
  • The creation of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which brings under one umbrella several entities, including the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, the Center for Enterprise Innovation and the Innovation Centers in Norfolk and Chesapeake. Read more about the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship here.
  • The University's admission into the Department of Defense's Systems Engineering Research Center, offering the possibility of more DoD projects for ODU researchers.
  • The expanded partnership with the Port of Virginia, providing students access to software that will increase their prospects for jobs and internships.
  • The signing of more than 200 articulation agreements with community colleges, more than any other institution in Virginia.
  • The growth of online classes and programs, with ODU offering more than any other four-year public university in Virginia. The Online Virginia Network, a joint partnership with George Mason, nearly doubled the enrollment target for its first year.

He also highlighted the achievements of several faculty members, including four recent recipients of Fulbright awards: Rodger Harvey, in ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences; Sharon Raver-Lampman, communication disorders and special education; Greg Raver-Lampman, English Language Center, and Deborah Gray, nursing.

Among the students and organizations he cited were graduate student Mariana Khachatryan, who was awarded one of eight national fellowships to conduct research at Jefferson Laboratory, and the ODU Symphony Orchestra, which performed side by side with the Virginia Symphony at a sold-out concert at the Sandler Center.

In athletics, Broderick noted the start of the 10th season of football and the success of other teams, including men's tennis and soccer and women's golf.

"Most important, though, ODU placed more student-athletes on the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll than any other institution," Broderick said.

Among new initiatives, Broderick said ODU will launch another innovative partnership with Newport News Shipbuilding, sharing space in the new Brooks Crossing complex in Newport News. That will include a lab for K-to-12 students designed to gain interest in digital shipbuilding and STEM areas. In addition, the new LeADERS program will provide students additional tools to succeed in the classroom and after graduation.

He noted that construction on a "new and more modern" S.B. Ballard Stadium will be completed by the football team's opening home game in 2019. Other future construction projects include new Health Sciences and Laboratory Sciences buildlings and the Hugo Owens residence hall.

Broderick concluded by quoting the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, "Big results require big ambitions."

The president added: "I call on each of you to harness your ambition and aim higher in the weeks ahead - try one more experiment, connect with one more student, dream one new dream, whether it is in your classroom, your office or your lab."

To read the full text of the address, visit the State of the University website.

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