Sunday, December 4, 2022

ODU ready for its largest freshman class ever

During his State of the University Address, ODU President John R. Broderick addresses a crowd of about 1,300 people Wednesday at the Ted Constance Convocation Center (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Old Dominion University)
During his State of the University Address, ODU President John R. Broderick addresses a crowd of about 1,300 people Wednesday at the Ted Constance Convocation Center.(Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Old Dominion University)

NORFOLK — Celebrating its 88th birthday this year, Old Dominion University lives up to its name a little more each year.

This weekend the university will welcome the largest freshman class in ODU’s history, said University President John R. Broderick, when more than 3,100 first-year students begin moving in. With additions in graduate, transfer, and online students, the school’s total enrollment will reach 24,000.

ODU’s beginnings date back to 1930 when it served as an extension of the College of William and Mary.

Of similar importance, Broderick said, is the university’s reaffirmed commitment to affordability through the reduction of tuition by more than 28 percent for active duty military undergraduates.

“It was simply the right thing to do for those who protect and keep us safe,” he said. “In fact, for all students, our costs remain the most affordable among Virginia’s public doctoral institutions.”

Retention and graduation rates remain strong as well, with 5,000 Monarchs receiving their diplomas during commencement last year.

University President John R. Broderick said that this weekend ODU will welcome its largest class ever (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Old Dominion University)
University President John R. Broderick said that this weekend ODU will welcome its largest class ever (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Old Dominion University)

“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 Wednesday morning during his State of the University Address.

Among other highlights from the speech:

  • Next week a number of health sciences students will start classes in the renovated Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, as part of the university’s expanded nursing program. Also operating there will be a telehealth education and research center and a cutting-edge patient simulation lab. Potential next steps for the Virginia Beach center, he said, include a School of Public Health, primary care clinic, and substance abuse prevention center.
  • The Women’s Initiative Network mentor group last fall created the “Bridge the Gap” campaign to help students overcome unexpected financial hurdles. The initiative has already raised nearly $1 million.
  • Old Dominion held a symposium on the subject of social mobility, attracting 50 higher education leaders from across the nation, who brainstormed tangible strategies to enable more first-generation and low-income students to earn degrees and advance their socioeconomic status.“Old Dominion has established itself as a thought leader and is developing a Social Mobility Center as a clearinghouse of best practices for universities nationwide,” Broderick said, adding that there is now actually a measure called the Social Mobility Index, which ranks universities that are advancing student socioeconomic status. ODU is in the top 15 percent of over 1,300 schools ranked. “No question, we are taking a leadership role in that regard,” he said.
  • Broderick said the university has positioned itself in the forefront of areas ranging from creative writing and bioelectrics to the Teacher-In-Residence program, where Darden College faculty prepare mathematics, science, and special education teachers in conjunction with Norfolk Public Schools.
  • Early next year ODU will also start planning for a $75 million health sciences building on Hampton Boulevard.
  • This semester they’re unveiling a master’s program in cybersecurity, which comes shortly after the first cohort of bachelor’s degree recipients graduated in May. “This degree further enhances our position as one of Virginia’s leaders in a field with thousands of unfilled high-paying jobs,” Broderick said.
  • On Nov. 14, the Barry Art Museum will have its formal opening. The museum will feature more than 250 paintings, a large glass collection, an array of rare automatons, and a 600-pound Dale Chihuly chandelier in the lobby that will welcome visitors.
  • Broderick also touched on athletics. After the last home football game in November the university will say goodbye to S.B. Ballard Stadium/Foreman Field, with a new and more modern facility scheduled to be ready for next season’s first home game. For the second consecutive year, ODU placed more student-athletes on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll than any other institution. Broderick also congratulated a pair of former Monarchs who helped their teams win championships: Justin Verlander, with the Houston Astros, and Rick Lovato, with the Philadelphia Eagles.
(Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Old Dominion University)
(Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Old Dominion University)

He said the university has signed 200 articulation agreements, more than any other institution in Virginia.

“While our focus remains on-campus education, we now offer more online classes and programs than any four-year public university in Virginia,” he said.

The university also gained membership in the Department of Defense’s Systems Engineering Research Center, an exclusive network of universities that receive priority for some Department of Defense work.

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