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

President Broderick Earns National Honor

By Joe Garvey

The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) has named Old Dominion University's John R. Broderick as a co-recipient of its 2019 President's Award.

Broderick was presented with his award March 12 during the organization's annual conference in Los Angeles. The University of California's Janet Napolitano is the other President's Award winner.

The award honors college or university presidents who have, over a sustained period of time, advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting student affairs staff and programs. Nominees must show evidence of direct involvement in enhancing the quality of student life on campus, active attempts to involve students and student life in governing the institution, and contributions to the profession that have an impact beyond an individual campus.

"Unlike many presidents who have only experienced the academic and research side of higher education, President Broderick comes from an administrative background in communications, marketing and development, and fully appreciates the critical need for co-curricular engagement and student support," Ellen Neufeldt, vice president of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services, wrote in her letter nominating him for the award.

Broderick, who has led ODU for more than 11 years, has been a champion for inclusiveness. He implemented a reorganization of the Office of Affirmative Action into the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, created the Office of Intercultural Relationsand set up the President's Task Force for Inclusive Excellence. For his initiatives on diversity, the Diversity Champion Award was renamed in his honor. In addition, the Broderick Dining Commons was named for the President and First Lady Kate Broderick at the request of student leaders to recognize their commitment to inclusion initiatives and student success.

The University has also constructed a $20 million Student Success Center and Learning Commons and subsequently recorded the highest graduation rate in its history. Benefiting from his commitment to diversity and inclusion, Old Dominion has become one of the most diverse institutions in Virginia, with students of color making up 48 percent of enrollment. Old Dominion also was recently listed as one of America's 100 "Best Employers for Diversity" by Forbes.com.

During his tenure, Old Dominion has become a leader in social mobility, an initiative that aims to help more students graduate. The University is rated in the top 15 percent among more than 1,300 schools ranked in the Social Mobility Index.

"At Old Dominion, we are committed to serving all promising students - valedictorians, veterans, first-generation and international students, those on every rung of the income ladder - offering them a challenging, affordable education, whether it's on-campus or online. We promise a diverse and welcoming community for learning, where we all benefit from the collegial exchanges of thoughts and perspectives," he said during his State of the University address in August. "In my opinion, Old Dominion accurately reflects the world students must ultimately navigate, not only to compete, but also to partner career-wise."

Broderick has established initiatives to set Old Dominion apart from other universities. He has helped secure more than $860 million in new public and private resources, and the University has become a research leader in fields including flooding resilience, cybersecurity, bioelectrics, and modeling and simulation.

In 2010, he instituted the Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative, now known as the ODU Resilience Collaborative, to examine the threat of sea level rise and its effects on Hampton Roads. The University created the Strome Entrepreneurial Center in 2013, which assists students and local residents who seek to open or expand their businesses, and THE Monarch Way, a unique retail store run by students, which sells the products of student, alumni, faculty and staff entrepreneurs. In 2016, he established the Old Dominion University Innovation Center with the City of Norfolk.

In 2018, the University unveiled a renovated Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, which expanded ODU's top-notch nursing program, opened a telehealth education and research center, and equipped a cutting-edge patient simulation lab.

Last fall, Old Dominion opened the Barry Art Museum, which has about 300 works ranging from glass sculptures to antique dolls. It was financed by a donation from Richard and Carolyn Barry valued at $37 million - the largest in the University's history. The renovation of S.B. Ballard Stadium also got under way. Early in 2019, construction began on the Hugo A. Owens Residence House and the Chemistry Building.

Broderick's honors include the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities' Humanitarian Award, the Urban League of Hampton Roads' Marian Palmer Capps Award and a Visionary Award from the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

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