ODU president talks record breaking enrollment, donor gifts at State of the University address

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — More than a thousand people filled the Ted Constant Convocation Center for this year’s ODU State of the University address.

The annual event was held just one week ahead of the return of students for the fall semester, and a lot of fresh faces.

“For the second year in a row we have a record freshman class coming to Old Dominion in Norfolk, that’s pretty terrific in this day and age where a lot of metropolitan universities are struggling for enrollments,” said ODU President John Broderick.

Broderick also announced over $20 million in donor gifts, funds that he says will do a lot for student success.

One of the most notable, a $3 million gift from graduate Joan Brock.

It’ll go towards the Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience, a national center for the science and practice of coastal resilience.

The donation will allow the university to hire an international thought leader as the institute’s executive director.

“We try to garner a coordinated approach, which we all know doesn’t stop at borders. Sea level rise and flooding doesn’t stop at the Virginia Beach border, doesn’t stop at the Chesapeake border, doesn’t stop at the Hampton border, this should allow us I think to do a much better job in having a leadership role,” Broderick said.

Financially, he says they’re more than halfway to their 4-year funding goal of $250 million — another record.

“That’s really good progress, we never raised over $100 million before, so to do $160 [million] in 2 years and for the goal to be $250 [million] and hopefully we’ll all be here next year and be able to say we’re done,” he smiled.

Broderick also took time to talk about the five ODU alumni who lost their lives in the Virginia Beach shooting.

He revealed the location for a memorial will be on the side of campus near the Perry Library and Batten Arts and Letters Building.

“It was a sad day for everyone in Hampton Roads. It’s really been a sad number of days after the fact, but there were some wonderful people taken from our community and we want to ensure that all of them are remembered.”

That memorial is set to be complete this fall.

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