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ODU Receives $3 Million for Resilience from Philanthropist Joan Brock

By Noell Saunders

Joan Brock, wife of the late Macon Brock, donated $3 million to Old Dominion University's Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience. The donation will allow the University to hire an international thought leader as the institute's executive director.

"Joan and her husband, Macon, have been longtime friends of the University," Old Dominion President John R. Broderick said. "They are role models for community leadership in Hampton Roads. This major gift will help Old Dominion leverage one of its greatest strengths to benefit the region and beyond."

Under an agreement with Norfolk and Mayor Kenny Alexander, the executive director of the institute will also serve as the city's senior resilience strategist. Recover Hampton Roads will be a key component, creating a clearinghouse that could be a model for all communities to expedite housing recovery after a severe weather event.

The Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience, a national center for the science and practice of coastal resilience, will soon open, using the depth of ODU's faculty to develop practical solutions to challenges faced by coastal communities. The institute builds on more than eight years of investment and commitment by Old Dominion to take a leadership role in coastal adaptation and resilience.

Brock, a native of Norfolk, holds a master of arts in humanities degree from Old Dominion and a bachelor's from Longwood University.

Brock served on Virginia Wesleyan University's President's Advisory Council from 1996 to 1999 and its Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2006. She was chair of the board from 2001 to 2004. Virginia Wesleyan awarded her an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2010.

She has also chaired the board of the ACCESS College Foundation and was the first woman to preside over the Chrysler Museum board. Brock has served on the Sentara Board of Directors since 2006 and has led the Sentara Foundation-Hampton Roads Committee since 2007. She is a member of the National Board of the United Way Women's Leadership Council.

Joan, and her late husband, are well-known in Hampton Roads for their commitment to community service, higher education, environmental issues and the arts.

The couple gave $1 million to Old Dominion to complete Brock Commons, the $3 million outdoor amphitheater on Monarch Way, which is part of ODU's Arts Village. It was dedicated in September 2015. They also created a $100,000 Brock Foundation Endowed Honors Scholarship at ODU for a junior or rising senior in good academic standing willing to tutor local high school students through the ACCESS College Foundation.

The Brocks also established the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health at Eastern Virginia Medical School and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach.

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