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ODU in the News

Week of 8/26/13

Norfolk mayor praises ODU stadium, master plan
(The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 24, 2013)

Calling it "a big and bold plan," Mayor Paul Fraim said Friday he saw plenty to like in a proposed campus master plan for Old Dominion University that would include a new, 30,000-seat football stadium.
Fraim and City Manager Marcus Jones were briefed on the plan by ODU President John Broderick, Chief Operating Officer Dave Harnage and athletic director Wood Selig. Fraim said he has seen only a presentation, not any documents on the master plan.
"Our planning staff hasn't begun to evaluate this, and at some point they will," he said. "But I applaud President Broderick and his administration for being so visionary. It has the potential to dramatically improve the academic reputation of the university and to bring enormous benefits to the entire Hampton Roads community."
Fraim said the plan includes additional housing for thousands of students and the grouping of residential, academic and research facilities into pods.
"They want to bring similar academic operations together," Fraim said. "It will bring some dramatic changes to their campus."
He said the plan projects ODU's student population to increase about 1 percent per year but for faculty and especially research employee rolls to grow much faster. The expansion of ODU's research facilities will create jobs, he said.
The executive committee of ODU's Board of Visitors was briefed Monday on the proposed master plan, which hasn't been released to the public. The plan deals with every building on campus, from residential halls to classrooms, as well as recreational space. (More)

ODU to pursue $200M+ in gifts, public funds, Broderick says
(Inside Business, Aug. 23, 2013)

Addressing about 1,200 people last week, Old Dominion University President John Broderick touted the school's research prowess, its economic contributions and its fundraising accomplishments.
"We are a community partner that works to improve lives, our region and the world," Broderick said at his State of the University address, held Tuesday at the Ted Constant Center.
"And we are more than 100,000 alumni making a difference locally and globally. Ladies and gentlemen, we are Old Dominion University."
Broderick spoke about ODU achievements since he took the helm in 2008, which include completing or starting approximately $325 million in capital projects, a 75 percent reduction in robberies and the transition of the school's athletic programs to Conference-USA.
He also highlighted the school's work in researching bioelectrics, which deals with the use of electrical fields in manipulating cells. The maturing field has many implications - including cancer treatment - and Broderick acknowledged Richard Heller, who leads the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics.
"Promising work in melanoma treatment by Dr. Richard Heller is in clinical trials on the West Coast," Broderick said.
Broderick said retention rates have risen 7 percentage points in the past five years, but noted the school is striving to lower its 21:1 student-teacher ratio. The school had 24,670 students enrolled in fall 2012, including 19,612 undergraduates, making it the largest university in the region.
Broderick made no mention of ODU's six-year graduation rate, which most recently stood at 46.1 percent. That's the fourth-lowest rate among the state's 15 four-year public universities, according to data from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. The state average, data show, is about 69 percent. (More)

Norfolk conducts visitor study through ODU
(Inside Business, Aug. 23, 2013)

Visit Norfolk, the city's tourism arm, wants fresh statistics on who its visitors are, where they're coming from and what they're spending when they get in town.
But instead of a using a private research firm to conduct a full-year study, it's contracting with Old Dominion University.
"I'd say we've probably had 150 students that have had some play in this," said Stephen Shapiro, an assistant professor of sports management who's overseeing the project. Recreation and tourism curricula at ODU are closely aligned with sports management, Shapiro said.
The study, which will cover 2013, is expected to be published early next year. It's the first visitor survey taken since 2006, and will likely be used to drive marketing strategy, among other things.
Officially, the partners in the study are the Norfolk Tourism Research Foundation - part of Visit Norfolk - ODU and the Virginia Tourism Corp.
The foundation paid $50,000 for it and surveyors hope to interview close to 1,000 visitors.
Shapiro and Visit Norfolk President and CEO Tony DiFilippo both said although students are involved, the quality of the study won't be compromised. The students are primarily data collectors and work under four faculty members and one graduate assistant.
"Four of the five are Ph.D. faculty members trained in research, and one of them is a Ph.D. student," Shapiro said. "We develop the survey, design the methodology, examine it and interpret it for the Norfolk Research Foundation."
Speaking about ODU's research team, DiFilippo said, "This is not their first time around the block." (More)

ODU plans to add 2 more sports, expand facility
(The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 23, 2013)

Old Dominion plans to expand the R.L. Hill Sports Complex football training facility to bring it up to Conference USA standards, president John Broderick said Friday.
The school also plans to add softball and volleyball as varsity sports in the next few years to begin to help correct Title IX deficiencies, athletic director Wood Selig said.
Broderick said the Hill Sports Complex, where ODU's football offices, weight-training facilities, locker rooms and practice fields are located, must be expanded for coach Bobby Wilder to be competitive as the program moves to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
With the move, "we have to make the commitment to ensure Coach Wilder has the ability to compete with those other schools," he said. "The R.L. Hill facility needs to be addressed."
ODU's new campus master plan, which was presented to the ODU Board of Visitors and city officials earlier this week, has not been made public. But a major component is the construction of a 30,000-seat football stadium on Powhatan Avenue. Parts of Foreman Field, ODU's current stadium, would largely be torn down and replaced with dormitories.
The plan also calls for the construction of a softball stadium and practice complex adjacent to the football stadium, Selig said. Volleyball will be added once ODU has built a basketball practice facility adjacent to the Constant Center, he said. (More)

ODU announces $11 million in donations to school
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, Aug. 26, 2013)

An Old Dominion University graduate and his wife have given the school $10 million, the second-largest individual gift in the university's history.
University President John Broderick announced the donation by Mark and Tammy Strome of Santa Monica, Calif., last week. Mark Strome is a hedge fund manager who received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from ODU in 1978.
The donation will be used to create a new entrepreneurial curriculum that will be based in the College of Business and Public Administration but will be available to students across the university.
Broderick also announced a $1 million gift from Donna Fischer, president and CEO of Virginia Beach-based DLS Engineering Associates, to create an endowment to support student participation in interscholastic competitions. (More)

50 years after King speech, Norfolk marchers remember
(The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 23, 2013)

As the March on Washington marks its 50th anniversary this month, many of its crusaders have passed on, and those who remain have gone gray - too young then to grasp its magnitude, some too frail now to attend Saturday's commemorative march in the capital. ...
Time has provided its prism. Officially called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, it was a turning point in the civil rights movement, and the stage for what some scholars consider the greatest speech of the 20th century: Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream."
Samuel Coppage, an associate professor at Old Dominion University, was 15.
"I'd like to tell you I was delighted to be there, but I was a teenager," Coppage said. "I was only there because my father was very involved and he insisted. My understanding of its significance has increased with the years. It gives me a great deal of pride that I was there." ...
Cecelia Tucker, 75 and an ODU administrator, is in charge of the university's annual observance of King's birthday.
"Almost anybody who knows me knows I was at the march," she said. "And they're always pretty impressed. I talk about it all the time."
Tucker grew up in South Hill, Va., and she remembers the days when her proud father steered his children away from segregated public facilities.
"He wouldn't let us use those bathrooms or those fountains," she said. "Before we left the house he'd say, 'You all get your water now, because we don't drink "colored" water.' " (More)

Sequestration impacts Hampton Roads hotel industry, economists say
(The Daily Press, Aug. 23, 2013)

Although the impact of sequestration was mitigated in Hampton Roads, the across-the-board federal spending cuts still hit the region's hotel industry, according to the latest Old Dominion University regional economic forecast.
Sequestration caused a 2.7 percent decline in hotel revenue in the first half of this year compared to last year, according to the third quarter economic analysis released Thursday. ODU economists Vinod Agarwal and Gary Wagner attribute this to decreased travel by federal employees, military personnel and defense contractors.
Even so, the original estimates of sequestration costing the region 17,000 jobs this year was revised down to a loss of 4,000 jobs as Congress reduced sequestration's impact and allowed federal agencies more flexibility in spending to prioritize cuts, the economic analysis continued. Other economic indicators tracked by the ODU team showed better news.
The region's labor market added 12,000 jobs in the first half of the year, marking a 1.6 increase in employment compared to the first half of last year. Taxable or retail sales increased by 3.5 percent in the same time period. New car and truck registrations ticked up 2.9 percent. Cargo tonnage at the port increased by 5.5 percent.
The greatest change was in the housing market. The number of construction permits for single-unit homes increased by 25.7 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same time last year. The economic team attributes this to builders' confidence in the regional economy in addition to the reduction of available homes as housing sales recovered this year. (More)

ODU economists release Q3 forecast
(Inside Business, Aug. 22, 2013)

Sequestration hasn't been as bad as it was expected to be.
That's according to economists with Old Dominion University's economic forecasting team, who in March projected those federal cuts to prompt a net of 12,000 job losses this year. In a new forecast report released Thursday, they said the region should gain a net of roughly 1,200 jobs in 2013.
"We basically dodged a bullet," ODU economist Vinod Agarwal said. In the report, Agarwal said the area benefited from Congress and the executive branch reducing the impact of sequestration on defense spending and granting many federal agencies flexibility to prioritize cuts.
The report, which is a forecast for the third quarter, was mostly positive. Retail sales are expected to increase to $5.2 billion from July through September, a 1.9 percent jump from the same period last year. Hotel room revenues in the quarter should climb 1 percent from the year-ago period to $250.8 million, and cargo at Virginia's port is expected to increase 1.4 percent to 4.48 million tons.
Single-family housing activity was a bright spot in the report as economists noted that housing permits issued for one-unit homes during the half of 2013 increased by 25.7 percent compared to first half in 2012. The value of these permits increased by 34.9 percent. For the third quarter, economists predict the value of the permits will increase 18.4 percent over the year-ago period to $227.1 million.
Not everything in the report was rosy. Although year-over-year hotel revenues are expected to climb in the third quarter, revenues over the first half of 2013 are down 2.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Agarwal said decreases in travel by federal employees - especially military personnel and defense contractors - played a role. (More)

Teel Time: AD Selig calls new football stadium 'absolutely critical' for ODU
(The Daily Press, Aug. 23, 2013)

Old Dominion doesn't have an estimated cost or move-in date for a proposed waterfront football stadium, but athletic director Wood Selig considers the project "absolutely critical" to the program's future and described initial feedback as overwhelmingly supportive.
Selig spoke publicly about the on-campus stadium for the first time Thursday, and during a 30-minute interview also revealed plans for the school to add, and construct venues for, women's volleyball and softball. Those teams would enhance ODU's compliance with the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX, he said.
The Monarchs are upgrading from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), a move that increases scholarship maximums from 63 to 85 and demands larger, more dynamic facilities.
Built in 1936, ODU's 20,000-seat Foreman Field does not qualify, and a campus master development plan unveiled this week envisions a new stadium that seats 28,000-30,000.
Here is a transcript of my interview with Selig:
QUESTION: Master plans can be like a kid's letter to Santa. Is this stadium a fait accompli?
ANSWER: This is the starting point for this campus master plan. It's a draft. It's a proposal. It's a wish list. The plan goes so much further than a football stadium. It's the next 20-30 years, a construction blueprint (for) this campus that's going to enhance academics, going to enhance research, going to enhance student life. The football stadium is just one small component of the overall plan.
It was presented to the Board of Visitors (for the first time) on Monday ... and they provided feedback to (university president) John Broderick and (chief operating officer) Dave Harnage. ... And then we met with Mayor (Paul) Fraim and City Manager Marcus Jones on Wednesday and ran (the entire master) plan by them. (More)

ODU becoming star off and on the field
(Editorial, The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 22, 2013)

News from the campus of Norfolk's Old Dominion University this week underscores how much the school has grown and reveals the outline of plans to continue that growth.
A $10 million gift from an alumnus and his wife will allow the university to create a new entrepreneurship curriculum within its College of Business and Public Administration. Mark Strome, a California hedge fund manager who graduated from ODU in 1978 with a degree in civil engineering, made the contribution with his wife, Tammy. It's the second biggest gift ever from an individual to the school.
Strome's gift expands ODU's academic programs at the same time that it enriches Norfolk's burgeoning entrepreneurial scene. In recent years, a start-up program, Hatch, has helped to mentor businesses in an effort to "garden" locally owned companies that sprout local jobs. Norfolk has also made progress in establishing a tech corridor on Granby Street.
"There is ample evidence, worldwide, that entrepreneurial activity creates jobs, empowers individuals, revitalizes communities and enhances our collective well-being while being very effective at durably healing and preventing social problems," Strome said in making the donation to ODU. "We hope to build upon the business school's core competencies and to introduce the availability of entrepreneurial studies to other disciplines within the university."
Old Dominion President John Broderick, in his state of the university address, made note of significant strides since he took his post five years ago: a modeling and simulation program that has graduated its first students; massive investments in research and development, including efforts to address traffic and flooding in Hampton Roads; significant improvements to campus safety; and $325 million in capital projects. (More)

ODU's need, desire for new football stadium not surprising
(Opinion, The Daily Press, Aug. 21, 2013)

Of course Old Dominion wants and needs a new football playpen. You don't fast-lane to the Bowl Subdivision content with a stadium built during FDR's first term and the Seven Blocks of Granite's heyday. And you don't subject fans to higher ticket prices without upgrading the fare from sodium central to haute cuisine.
And you sure as heck don't expect four-star prospects with redwoods for legs to be impressed with a stadium that's older than Mick Jagger.
Please don't misunderstand. Treacherous steps to the press box notwithstanding - my lawyer's on call for all Monarchs home games - Foreman Field has served ODU well since football's 2009 rebirth on Hampton Boulevard. Built in 1936 and predictably cramped and antiquated, the complex became serviceable thanks to a $25-million renovation in the south end zone.
But with the Monarchs ditching the Championship Subdivision, where they made the national playoffs in 2011 and '12, and with aspirations, delusional or otherwise, to recruit against the likes of Virginia Tech and Virginia, a 20,000-seat shoebox was inadequate.
So this week's news, first reported by the Virginian-Pilot, that an ODU master development plan includes a 30,000-seat, on-campus stadium should surprise no one. Nor should the P.S., that said stadium would be expandable to 45,000 and beyond.
Hey, when Notre Dame football joins the ACC in 2030, and the conference needs a 16th school, the Monarchs need to be ready, right? I'm kidding, I think.
Now no one at ODU is talking price, but Comrade Fairbank reports that Conference USA's Florida Atlantic and North Texas opened similarly sized stadiums in 2011 that cost $70 million and $79 million, respectively. (More)

ODU's athletic foundation breaks fundraising record
(The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 21, 2013)

In the same week that we learned Old Dominion hopes to build a new football stadium, ODU officials announced they had a record year in athletic fundraising in 2012.
The Old Dominion Athletic Foundation, a private group that raises money for ODU athletics, raised $6.98 million from 2,833 members in 2012, a $700,000 increase over 2011.
That number includes about $3.4 million in annual giving. The additional $3.58 million includes money for endowments and revenue from football and basketball luxury suites and loge seats.
In four years, annual giving has increased by 44 percent, said senior associate athletic director Mark Benson.
Football appears to be fueling much of the increase in revenue. ODU began playing football in 2009 and has sold out all 29 home games since.
"Football is the driving force," Benson said. "But men's basketball has also generated quite a bit of our growth."
ODU joined Conference USA on July 1, and the school said fund raising must increase by ten percent per year each of its first five years in the conference. Benson said the school will surely exceed that goal in 2013.
Increases in prices for football luxury suites, loge seats and tickets will generate $500,000 more in income this year alone, Benson said. (More)

ODU uses calls from Wilder to sell away-game tickets
(The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 22, 2013)

If you're an Old Dominion alumnus and live in Hampton Roads, the D.C. area or northeastern North Carolina, you'll almost certainly receive a phone call from football coach Bobby Wilder in the next few days.
Wilder is ODU's latest weapon in its effort to get ODU fans to attend the school's first game against a Football Bowl Subdivision team - Aug. 31 at East Carolina - and its first game against an ACC school a week later at Maryland.
Athletic director Wood Selig said about 30,000 "robo" calls featuring a recording from Wilder will go out in Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina and 11,000 to alumni in greater Washington.
Ticket sales have been less than robust for both games, although ODU officials say they expect upward of 4,000 people to follow them to Greenville, N.C., and College Park, Md.
"I thought this was a good, creative idea to try to remind people that we're playing two historic football games," Wilder said.
ODU is moving up to FBS after just four seasons.
"This is something that's brand new for us," Wilder said of taking a large contingent of fans to an FBS road game. "We're so good at this tailgating thing at home. ... I'm hoping with how good we are, how organized we are, that we can do the same thing on the road." (More)

$10M is 2nd-biggest individual gift in ODU history
(The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 21, 2013)

An Old Dominion University alumnus and his wife have given the school $10 million to create a new entrepreneurial curriculum, ODU President John Broderick announced Tuesday.
Mark Strome, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based hedge fund manager, and his wife, Tammy, provided the gift - the second largest from an individual in ODU's history - through their family foundation. Strome earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from ODU in 1978.
Broderick announced the gift during his annual State of the University address at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
The new curriculum will be housed in ODU's College of Business and Public Administration, but will be available to students across the university and will include an introduction to entrepreneurship course. The Stromes' gift will also enable the creation of a centralized entrepreneurial center, as well as lectures, competitions and mentorships.
The initiative "will not only help create the next generation of CEOs, but it will also foster creative thinking among future teachers, nurses, engineers, political scientists and chemists," Broderick said.
Strome said in a statement that his intent is to build on the business school's core competencies while extending the availability of entrepreneurial studies to students in other disciplines.
"Many of the entrepreneurs of tomorrow will come from passions other than just business and we would like to help equip them with the tools to express themselves in entrepreneurial ventures," he said.
The largest gift to ODU from an individual was $13 million in 2003 from the late Frank Batten Sr., chairman of Landmark Communications Inc., predecessor to the media company that owns The Virginian-Pilot. (More)

Alumnus donates $10M to ODU to establish entrepreneurial curriculum
(The Washington Post/Associated Press, Aug. 21, 2013)

An Old Dominion University graduate and his wife have given the school $10 million, the second-largest individual gift in the university's history.
University President John Broderick announced the donation by Mark and Tammy Strome of Santa Monica, Calif., on Tuesday. Mark Strome is a hedge fund manager who received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from ODU in 1978.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that the donation will be used to create a new entrepreneurial curriculum that will be based in the College of Business and Public Administration but will be available to students across the university.
Broderick also announced a $1 million gift from Donna Fischer, president and CEO of Virginia Beach-based DLS Engineering Associates, to create an endowment to support student participation in interscholastic competitions. (More)

$10 million gift to fund ODU entrepreneurial program
(The Daily Press, Aug. 21, 2013)

A $10 million gift from an alumnus and his wife will help establish an entrepreneurial program and center at Old Dominion University, ODU President John R. Broderick announced Tuesday during the State of the University address.
"Many of the entrepreneurs of tomorrow will come from passions other than just business and we would like to help equip them with the tools to express themselves in entrepreneurial ventures," Chief Investment Officer Mark Strome of the Strome Group said in a statement.
The money from the Strome Family Foundation would establish an entrepreneurial curriculum, including an introduction to entrepreneurship course, that would be open to all students, according to an ODU news release. The funding would also help fund lectures, competitions and mentorships.
The foundation is led by Strome and his wife Tammy, who is a psychologist. Mark Strome, now living in Santa Monica, Calif., is a 1978 graduate of ODU. The Virginian-Pilot reported the gift is the second largest for ODU.
Nancy Grden, general manager of Genomind LLC, and chair of the executive advisory council for ODU's College of Business and Public Administration, said the program would help launch other entrepreneurial initiatives in the region. (More)

Alumnus gives $10 million to ODU business school
(The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 20, 2013)

An Old Dominion University alumnus and his wife have given the school $10 million to create a new entrepreneurial curriculum, ODU President John Broderick announced today.
Mark Strome, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based hedge fund manager, and his wife Tammy provided the gift - the second-largest from an individual in ODU's history -- through their family foundation. Strome earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from ODU in 1978.
Broderick announced the gift during his annual State of the University address at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
The new curriculum will be housed in ODU's College of Business and Public Administration, but will be available to students across the university and will include an introduction to entrepreneurship course. The Stromes' gift will also enable creation of a centralized entrepreneurial center, as well as lectures, competitions and mentorships.
The initiative "will not only help create the next generation of CEOs, but it will also foster creative thinking among future teachers, nurses, engineers, political scientists and chemists," Broderick said. (More)

ODU envisions new, 30,000-seat football stadium
(The Virginian Pilot, Aug. 20, 2013)

Old Dominion ultimately plans to play major college football in a new, 30,000-seat on-campus stadium - not at Foreman Field - according to a proposal presented Monday to the executive committee of the Board of Visitors.
Board members were told of plans to build a new stadium on the site of the Powhatan Apartments dormitory complex at 48th Street and Powhatan Avenue, said sources who asked not to be identified. The nearly two-hour presentation was closed to the public.
The apartments, constructed between 1978 and 1982, would be demolished, and on-campus housing would be built to house the 700 students Powhatan Apartments holds.
The stadium would be designed so it could expand to 45,000 or more seats, sources said.
Although the stadium would not be on the Elizabeth River, many seats would have a water view, a rarity for a college football stadium.
Details of funding for the new stadium haven't been finalized and it isn't known how much a new stadium would cost. Nonetheless, sources indicate ODU hopes to have the new stadium open by 2017. If so, the stadium would be in place when ODU is scheduled to host Virginia Tech in 2018.
Dave Harnage, ODU's chief operating officer, presented the board with a summary of the university's new campus master plan, which ODU won't finalize until after the school hears feedback from students, faculty, neighborhood leaders and city officials. Determining how to expand or replace Foreman Field was a part of the master plan.
Board members seemed impressed with what they heard. (More)

Eyeing merger, EVMS and W&M ease into research
(The Virginian Pilot, Aug. 20, 2013)

Eastern Virginia Medical School will work shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues from the College of William & Mary on $100,000 worth of research projects to test closer collaboration and a possible merger between the schools.
Ten projects will receive $10,000 each and range from community health initiatives to electronic records to abnormalities in the brains of zebra finches.
The idea of fostering more collaboration between the schools came up after a proposal in 2012 for EVMS to become William & Mary's school of medicine. That idea was put on hold after committees from each school suggested first exploring more collaborative research.
The state allocated $200,000 to explore closer collaboration or possible merger earlier this year, and Sentara Healthcare has kicked in $100,000. ...
The William & Mary committee that issued a decision in January to hold off on a merger suggested studying the legal and financial ramifications of the schools' jointly delivering health care to the region. It also recommended pulling in the expertise of Sentara Healthcare.
Since then, Old Dominion University has announced it is studying a potential partnership with EVMS to create Virginia's first school of public health.
A request for proposals was issued in June seeking a consultant to conduct the study, funded by a $125,000 appropriation approved by the General Assembly in February. (More)