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Philanthropic Gifts and New Partnerships Highlight President Broderick’s 12th State of the University Address

By Noell Saunders

Old Dominion University will take its globally recognized work in sea level rise and flooding resiliency to new levels with a $3 million donation from philanthropist and alumna Joan Brock, President John R. Broderick said Aug. 21 during his 12th State of the University address.

The donation to the University's Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience will allow ODU to hire an international thought leader as the institute's executive director. Read more about the donation here.

Broderick also announced to more than 1,400 people at the Ted Constant Convocation Center's Chartway Arena that Old Dominion has raised $160 million toward its $250 million fundraising initiative.

He highlighted a few gifts, including a $4 million-plus agreement with Chartway Federal Credit Union to name Chartway Arena; a significant gift from a donor-advised fund created by Harvey Lindsay's late wife, Frances, to establish the Harvey Lindsay School of Real Estate; and a $3 million commitment from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation's Diehn Fund to rename ODU's music program the F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music.

Later this week, Broderick said, the University will welcome more than 3,100 freshmen, tying a record high.

"Under our Tech Talent Pipeline initiative," he said in his speech, "we offer to increase enrollment in computer sciences and computer engineering - with appropriate state funding - to produce 4,000 graduates over the next two decades to fill growing needs, not just at Amazon but right here in Hampton Roads," Broderick said.

Among the past year's accomplishments that he highlighted:

  • Old Dominion was ranked 14th in the country in the number of African-American students who graduate each year, according to the journal Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
  • About 50 students designed a CubeSat to measure atmospheric conditions for NASA. It was deployed in July from the International Space Station.
  • The Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship is moving downtown with its programs geared to veterans, women and procurement assistance. The grand opening is scheduled for Aug. 29.
  • Brooks Crossing, a venture with Newport News Shipbuilding and Huntington Ingalls, will open this weekend in Newport News. Part of the venture is a STEM lab that will provide cutting-edge experimental opportunities to encourage K-to-12 students toward digital shipbuilding or other STEM careers.
  • Work has begun on a $12 million lab where associate professor Jennifer Michaeli and her team are partnering with LAVLE USA to build nimble hybrid marine vessels for military and commercial applications.
  • Old Dominion has been named a partner in the Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium, alongside EVMS, U.Va., VCU, Sentara and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.
  • In four years, ODU's cybersecurity enrollment has grown from 11 to 465.
  • The University is now designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency.
  • The Barry Art Museum, which opened in November, offers a robust collection, from glass sculptures to antique dolls, and sponsors numerous educational activities. The museum was made possible by a $37 million gift, the largest in Old Dominion's history, from Richard and Carolyn Barry.
  • In partnership with the Commonwealth, ODU opened the Virginia Institute of Spaceflight and Autonomy at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore.

He also highlighted the achievements of several faculty members, including physicist Larry Weinstein, who wrote an article in the journal Nature on his research team's work on quarks, and Adolphus Hailstork, whose new composition, "Still Holding On," was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

In athletics, Broderick recalled the University's football victory over Virginia Tech last September, one of seven upsets of top-25 teams achieved across six sports. He said the University's athletes are excelling not only in sports but also in the classroom.

"More than half of our 450 student-athletes made either Dean's List or recorded a 3.0 GPA or better," Broderick said.

On Aug. 31, ODU will unveil its football home. Broderick thanked contributors including Barry Kornblau, Dennis Ellmer and Priority Auto Group, Ed and Jan Reed, and TowneBank. The new field is now known as Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

Among new initiatives, Broderick announced the creation of the Economic Development Catalyst Task Force, which will be co-chaired by longtime community leader Dubby Wynne and Nancy Grden, executive director of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center. They will aim to strengthen ODU's connections with business and industry to develop and place talent in high demand and tech jobs, and to accelerate the creation of new companies.

The University is also advocating for Jefferson Lab's bid to construct a $2 billion electron ion collider.

"This would be a huge win, adding hundreds of scientists to our region and expanding opportunities for our faculty and students at Jefferson Lab," Broderick said. "This bold proposal offers one powerful vision of our strategic plan in action."

The president said he and other University leaders are working on the University's strategic plan for 2020-2025 targeting key areas from teaching and research to affordability and student success.

Broderick concluded by quoting civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase."

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

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ODU Receives $3 Million for Resilience from Philanthropist Joan Brock

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