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ODU in the News

Week of 5/13/13

At 18, young ODU graduate has big dreams
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 12, 2013)

Spencer Lane stood out at Old Dominion University's graduation ceremony, and not because he's among the youngest in the school's history.
He's just tall.
Lane has grown nearly a foot since enrolling five years ago at the age of 13. At 6-foot-7, the 18-year-old's head appeared to hover above a sea of black graduation caps Saturday.
Lane skipped high school, not because he was looking to get ahead, but based on the advice of his doctor. The Virginia Beach teen has Crohn's disease, a chronic disorder that causes severe digestive problems, making it difficult for him to sit for extended periods.
A traditional high school schedule was out of the question, and his parents knew he was smart enough for the work.
Lane entered the university as a baby-faced teenager who was unsure how he might fit in with older students. He graduated five years later near the top of his class with a 3.91 grade-point average and a first-of-its-kind engineering degree in modeling and simulation. He was among four students who earned a degree in the program, the only one like it in the country, according to ODU.
In the fall, Lane will head to Cambridge, Mass., where he's earned a research assistantship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's prestigious robotics and aerospace robotics graduate program.
Lane, who's been wearing an MIT T-shirt around campus, said he jumped out of his seat and danced around his room when he opened the acceptance email. (More)

Photos | 2013 Old Dominion graduation
(Photos, The Virginian-Pilot, May 12, 2013)

Old Dominion University held its commencement exercises Saturday, May 11, 2013, for the Frank Batten College of Engineering & Technology, College of Health Sciences and College of Sciences. (More)

John Broderick
(Inside Business, May 10, 2013)

Broderick continues to play a significant role in the community as he expands the footprint of the school and emphasizes educational paths likely to lead to high-paying jobs.
One of the major developments of the past 12 months is ODU's upcoming move into Conference USA, which will mean more exposure for the school and possibly more revenue.
Broderick said playing in the Colonial Athletic Association, the school's current conference, "you could win a national championship, but there's really no income that comes as a result. Playing in the [Conference USA] rewards, monetarily, successful programs and we believe we can be one of those."
Broderick has continued to prioritize STEM-H, which stands for the science, technology, engineering, math and health disciplines.
And this spring, the school will graduate its first class of students enrolled in its modeling and simulation undergraduate degree. The M&S track, as it's called, has been likened to video games and can be used in health care, engineering, defense contracting and other fields.
"To the best of our knowledge, they'll be the first four or five undergraduate modeling and simulation degree-holders in the country," Broderick said.
Old Dominion University has about 25,000 students, and Broderick and other officials manage a $526 million budget and 2,500 faculty and staff members. (More)

Alonzo Brandon
(Inside Business, May 10, 2013)

As vice president for university advancement at Old Dominion University, Brandon wears a number of hats - from alumni relations to community engagement. Another is fundraising, and he does that very well.
Before he became the school's development director in 1999, the school's endowment was about $12 million dollars. It was not long before the endowment increased to $60 million. Now it's approaching $200 million.
"I just thought he was a super person," said Cecelia Tucker, an ODU veteran who in the early '90s paved the way for him to get the job at ODU. "And it proved to be correct."
Brandon was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and moved to South Boston, Va., in his early years. His father was from Halifax County and his only brother still lives there.
He graduated from ODU in 1985, and eventually founded Insyte Advertising, which published a magazine and offered related services.
Tucker said Brandon's notoriety in the black community interested her, and she began bringing him to ODU events and introduced him to, former ODU president Jim Koch.
They didn't see eye to eye much early on, but Koch eventually hired him in 1993.
"He, in the past, described me as a radical," Brandon said, "but I wasn't a radical; I was just outspoken."
Koch also hired current president John Broderick a few months later. Brandon came on at the development office; Broderick joined as director of public information. (More)

Edward L. Hamm Jr.
(Inside Business, May 10, 2013)

Edward L. Hamm Jr., the founder of E.L. Hamm & Associates, said last month that he has become "semi-retired," but his engineering and consulting firm still handles millions of dollars in contacts. The company's clients have included the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard.
And being semi-retired doesn't mean he's not staying busy. He is focusing on investment properties in Atlanta, Florida and Hampton Roads. And he is spending significant amounts of time on the various boards he sits on.
They include the board of visitors at Norfolk State University, the board of trustees of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation and the board at Old Dominion University. He is also vice chairman of the Urban League of Hampton Roads. (More)

Value Added: Young store manager finds the shoe fits to be an owner as well
(The Washington Post, May 12, 2013)

John Strojny, who owns a string of New Balance athletic-shoe stores in the region, was explaining why he sells stakes in his stores to the retail managers, when I thought to myself:
"I could do this."
Dan Guzman thought the same thing.
For most folks, the only practical way to accumulate wealth in our society is to invest in businesses, either buying stock in big or small companies or owning your own business. You have to take ownership of assets that grow and increase in value.
Guzman, a high school sprinter who has a degree in business management from Old Dominion University, gets this.
Now 29, he spent six years in the trenches at Strojny's Tysons Corner store, where he did everything from selling shoes to scheduling staff. Strojny noticed that Guzman was super-reliable and mature and asked him to become a partner in his newly opened store in the Mosaic town center in Merrifield.
The Fairfax County store opened May 10. (More)

Coast Guard, PETA continue to spar over "goat camp"
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 13, 2013)

No one disputes that "goat camp" is ugly. Ugly for the military trainees learning battlefield first aid. For the goats that serve as wounded patients. For the public who watched an undercover video released last spring of a Coast Guard session held in Pungo.
But war is ugly, too, and one year after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals leaked the video and filed a flurry of complaints, a Coast Guard investigation into the March 2012 "live tissue training" session has concluded there was no misconduct by its personnel, but "the controversial nature of LTT" - as the military calls it - demands a search for alternatives.
The debate over LTT, currently a requirement for many war-zone deployments, comes to roost in Hampton Roads like nowhere else.
In this stronghold of the military, combat trauma care has a face - a loved one who comes home alive after a roadside bomb or firefight.
In this home base of PETA, activists focus on the other side of the training - the 10,000 goats and pigs they say are killed each year to teach techniques. ...
It's undeniable the video is tough to watch, even for mainstream meat-eaters who have no qualms about the billions of animals slaughtered for food every year. One reason: the disconnect between the modern table and the factory farm.
"We not only don't think about that, we just aren't even intellectually aware of the process," said D.E. Wittkower, an assistant professor at Old Dominion University who has taught classes on the ethics of animal use.
Video leaked from slaughterhouses elicits similar shudders as the LTT film. Reality, once seen, is "often shocking and disturbing," Wittkower said. (More)

Edward L. Hamm Jr.
(Inside Business, May 10, 2013)

Edward L. Hamm Jr., the founder of E.L. Hamm & Associates, said last month that he has become "semi-retired," but his engineering and consulting firm still handles millions of dollars in contacts. The company's clients have included the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard.
And being semi-retired doesn't mean he's not staying busy. He is focusing on investment properties in Atlanta, Florida and Hampton Roads. And he is spending significant amounts of time on the various boards he sits on.
They include the board of visitors at Norfolk State University, the board of trustees of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation and the board at Old Dominion University. He is also vice chairman of the Urban League of Hampton Roads. (More)

Deborah DiCroce
(Inside Business, May 10, 2013)

Formerly the president of Tidewater Community College, Deborah DiCroce left her 14-year post to become president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation in March 2012.
But the Power List veteran said she wasn't originally looking to leave TCC.
The opportunity to expand the community foundation's role in tackling larger community issues lured her in.
"I was already familiar with the good work this foundation does," she said. "Last year, we put out $15 million in grants and scholarships to some 150 different nonprofit agencies and 350 high school students."
DiCroce was No. 21 in last year's list, but with her new position she moves to a spot among the other 50 most influential people.
After she earned a master's in English from Old Dominion University and her doctorate from the College of William and Mary, DiCroce left the area for nine years to be president of Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville.
"When I came back to be president of TCC, I thought it was a marvelous opportunity and it was allowing me to return home," she said. "I am proving Thomas Wolfe wrong, you can go home again." (More)

A lesson for the teacher
(Letter, The Virginian-Pilot, May 10, 2013)

I AM A VETERAN teacher with almost 40 years of service. Very early in my career, I elected to take a class on cooperative learning at Old Dominion University. At that time, the class was provided to serve Navy personnel who wanted to become teachers after leaving the service.
The service members in my class were very serious. They told me, 'In the Navy, we work as a team. We do all we can to ensure that everyone succeeds. If one member fails, then the whole team fails.'
This impressed me and gave me a serious philosophy. In the years that followed, I had great success with my students and their performance. I changed the way I grouped my children: Instead of creating high- , medium- and low-performing groups, I included all levels of students in each group. This allowed the high-performing students to share and improve their skills. The medium and low students were able to share their skills and knowledge. It also allowed the children to perform without stress. They all had fun.
I was amazed. My first-grade class was tested by a member of the administration; she thought my students were not learning because I did not use the traditional method of grouping for instruction. My students were performing in reading on second-, third, fourth- and fifth-grade levels. One student was reading on the level of beginning sixth grade. They all left elementary school labeled 'gifted.' The student who was reading at the sixth-grade level left elementary school reading on a first-year college level. I was sold on cooperative learning. ...
I am still teaching and using the cooperative learning technique taught to me by ODU. As I review my students' performance on this year's end-of-year assessments, I again want to thank ODU for what I learned so long ago.
Iris R. Heath, Norfolk (More)

Poet's departure and return
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 12, 2013)

In his new collection of poems, "Swimming in the Shallow End," Philip Raisor, a professor emeritus of English at Old Dominion University, has added a sparkling new jewel to his crown of literary accomplishments, which include three books of poetry, nonfiction and criticism. At ODU he initiated the creative writing program, a visiting-writers series and the annual literary festival.
A native of Muncie, Ind., Raisor the poet draws on his boyhood experiences there to evoke universal themes that appeal to adults. He effectively employs a blank verse narrative form, and the first person, to convey subjects such as memories of a hometown that delight and sometimes haunt us in later life.
The book's title, for example, comes from a poem about a childhood friend whose father had a swimming pool where the kids could "swim where it was safe, risk free" - in the shallow end. Not surprisingly, "grumbling, we did belly flops and looked/ toward the deep (end) where gold coins glittered/ in haze and dives went straight down." The collection ends with a long poem about the death of a child by drowning, in a garden pool, and its impact on the narrator, who seems to have been a neighbor. (More)

Professor urges developers and builders to plan for increased flooding
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 10, 2013)

Flooding in Hampton Roads is a growing problem, and it likely will only get worse, an oceanography professor told a group of real estate professionals on Thursday.
Old Dominion University's Larry Atkinson advised Hampton Roads' builders, developers, planners and residents to more aggressively prepare for future flooding by retrofitting existing buildings and thinking further in the future when planning new structures.
Sea levels are rising globally, but the phenomenon is occurring at a faster rate along the mid-Atlantic coast because the Gulf Stream, the ocean current that glides along the shore, is slowing down, Atkinson said.
"By about 2050, it'll be up a foot and a half from where it is now," he said. "Adapting to this may be adapting your home to deal with the storm that's going to hit every 10 years and knowing what to do. There are places on the Eastern Shore that are built to be flooded."
John Lombard, director of ODU's Center for Real Estate and Economic Development, said builders likely won't make changes in how or where they build until they're mandated to do so by law.
The event was hosted by CREED and the Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate. (More)

Revenues, expenses rise in college athletics
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 9, 2013)

A USA Today study released Wednesday showed revenues and expenses rising virtually across the board in college athletics, with students still expected to shoulder their share of the burden.
In this state, the University of Virginia is no longer the top dog when it comes to making students pay for sports.
Old Dominion balances its budget with $26 million in student fees, double what students paid five years ago, before the school had a football team.
At VCU, a similar story is playing out on the basketball court, with students being charged $16.6 million last year in fees that went to the athletic department. The Rams collected $10.1 million five years ago.
U.Va. brings in $13.1 million annually from students to support its athletic programs, while Virginia Tech collects $7.3 million in student fees for athletics. (More)

UMass Dartmouth appoints new provost
(Providence Business News, May 7, 2013)

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has appointed Mohammad A. Karim, vice president for research at Old Dominion University in Virginia, as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, the school announced Tuesday.
"We are pleased to welcome an academic leader of Dr. Karim's stature to UMass Dartmouth," UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman said in prepared remarks. "As we aspire to develop the transformative teaching, research and engagement activity of our university at a time of rapid change, Dr. Karim's passion for learning and discovery, his administrative experience, and his innovative spirit are sure to be valuable assets in positioning our students and faculty and excel."
Karim's appointment follows a national search and screening process, which was conducted by a 20-member committee of UMass Dartmouth faculty and staff and co-chaired by UMass Lowell Provost Ahmed Abdelal and UMass Dartmouth Professor Sigal Gottlieb - director of the Center for Scientific Computing and Visualization Research.
As Old Dominion's first vice president for research, Karim led efforts to grow the school's research enterprise from $34.8 million to $104.6 million. He helped improve the school's research rankings across a variety of fields, including: oceanography, business, engineering, education and the arts. (More)

Enhancing Norfolk's sense of place
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, May 8, 2013)

Washington, D.C., would exist without the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, the Washington Monument.
Chicago would exist without the Cloud Gate, or the Batcolumn.
Philadelphia would exist without the Love sculpture.
But they would be lesser places.
For decades, the pursuit of public art in some cities has underscored the importance of beauty, recognized that it is as essential to the health of a community as a bustling economy and solid schools.
Cities that dedicated tiny portions of their budgets to the creation and celebration of public art produced stunning icons, objects that became the visual representation of community pride and aspirations.
Norfolk wisely followed those cities in creating a public arts program back in 2006. For every city-funded construction project over $500,000, the ordinance says, Norfolk will dedicate 1 percent of the total to commissioning and creating public art. ...
"With public art you have the potential to create a sense of place and identity for a city," said Robert Wojtowicz, an Old Dominion University art history professor who heads the Public Art Commission.
Placing public artworks generates excitement. (More)

Suffolk boys suspended after using pencils as guns
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 8, 2013)

The 7-year-old classmates pointed pencils at each other and made shooting noises - innocent play between friends, the mother of one said.
"They were pretending they were in the military," Wendy Marshall said.
What she called harmless fun was considered threatening behavior by the Suffolk Public Schools. The boys, second-graders at Driver Elementary, were suspended because of Friday's pencil-pointing incident.
"We consider it intimidating and threatening," said Bethanne Bradshaw, school division spokeswoman. "It doesn't have a place in the classroom."
The boys were kept out of school Monday and Tuesday for violating the division's weapons policy. They initially faced up to 10 days' suspension.
When Marshall learned why her son, Christopher, had been punished, she deemed the situation "ridiculous."
"I thought they were going overboard," she said. ...
For children as young as 7, pointing a pencil and making noises is one way they use their imaginations, said Andrea DeBruin-Parecki, graduate program director of early childhood education at Old Dominion University. They may simply be imitating something they saw on TV or in a movie, she said.
"It's a teachable moment. It's not a suspension moment for a 7-year-old," DeBruin-Parecki said. "You call the boys aside, and you explain to them why it's not appropriate to do this in school." (More)

John Tyler Community College chooses new president
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 7, 2013)

Growing up outside Chicago, Edward E. Raspiller began his career teaching at a suburban community college that reminds him of the community he'll find when he arrives at John Tyler Community College this summer.
The district was suburban with "a smattering of urban components but a lot of rural," said Raspiller, who Monday was named JTCC's seventh president, effective Aug. 5.
Raspiller, currently president of the Brazos County Campuses at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas, said he will bring to JTCC a background that also spans the breadth of the students community colleges seek to reach.
At Blinn, he oversees campuses with more than 12,000 students, the majority of whom transfer to four-year institutions.
But he also helped train future community college leaders at Old Dominion University, was a former dean of technical and workforce education at Blinn, and was interim president of a technical college in Wisconsin. (More)

New president named at John Tyler Community College
(Virginia Business, May 6, 2013)

Dr. Edward E. "Ted" Raspiller will become the seventh president of John Tyler Community College on Aug. 5.
He is currently president of the Brazos County Campuses at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas. Previously, Raspiller directed the Community College Leadership doctoral program at Old Dominion University.
Raspiller succeeds Dr. Marshall W. Smith, who retires this year after serving as John Tyler Community College president for nearly 23 years.
Raspiller was named president for the Brazos County Campuses at Blinn College in November 2011 after serving a year leading those campuses as provost. From 1999 to 2003, he was dean of technical and workforce education at Blinn.
At Old Dominion, in addition to directing the doctoral Community College Leadership program from 2006-10, he chaired the educational foundations and leadership department.
Raspiller served as interim president at Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin in 2006, where he was vice president of learning innovations from 2003-2006. In addition to Blinn College, he has also held positions at Texas State Technical College; Southeastern Community College in Burlington, Iowa; and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. (More)

Frank Batten Jr.
(Inside Business, May 6, 2013)

Frank Batten Jr. dropped a few notches from No. 4, but he remains among the top 10 most influential people in Hampton Roads.
Batten is CEO of Landmark Media Enterprises LLC, which remains a dominant force in Hampton Roads. In addition to its media holdings - which include The Virginian-Pilot and Inside Business - the firm also owns Dominion Enterprises, a marketing services and publishing company with nationwide digital assets. ...
Batten Jr. has been involved in newspapers at all levels, including selling ads for the Roanoke Times, writing for the Associated Press and serving as president and publisher of The Pilot, his family's flagship newspaper.
While his father used to stroll through The Pilot hallways greeting everyone, Batten Jr. has maintained a distance and is known for his privacy. The father was known as a newspaperman. His son has championed the company's move into the digital world.
Batten is on the board of the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors, the Eastern Virginia Medical School Board of Visitors, Norfolk Christian School and the ACCESS College Foundation. (More)

Navy appoints new commander for Pacific sub fleet
(Honolulu Star-Advertiser, May 6, 2013)

Rear Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer has been chosen as the new commander of the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force, based at Pearl Harbor.
Sawyer is currently commander of Submarine Group 7, based in Yokosuka, Japan, a job he has held since June 2011.
Sawyer, a native of Phoenix, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1983. He received a master's degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University.
He has commanded the nuclear submarine USS La Jolla and Submarine Squadron 15 in Guam.
Sawyer also has led Submarine Force Atlantic.
Sawyer's awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Sawyer will be in charge of 18 nuclear submarines based at Pearl Harbor; 13 at Bangor, Wash.; six at San Diego; and three at Guam. (More)

Sequestration Nation: Our Future Economic Standing Is on the Line
(Center for American Progress, May 6, 2013)

Author's note: On Capitol Hill "sequestration" may mean a percentage point or two in lower GDP growth, but beyond the Beltway it is more than an abstract economic concept. It means real pain for real people.
Each week in our "Sequestration Nation" series, we will highlight examples of the many ways in which the federal budget cuts may hurt you and your neighbors. This week we explore sequestration's effect on the nation's future innovation and economic competitiveness, as well as some of the other ways it is affecting communities around the country.
Newport News, Virginia
While many agree that the nation's defense budget could stand to be trimmed, the unintended local effect of Defense Department cuts can go overlooked by national media. For the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, home to one of the world's largest naval ports and largest air stations, sequestration's effect on the area's economy is coming into focus. The civilian-contractor furloughs and cuts to Defense Department programs could result in a loss of almost 7,000 local jobs in 2013, according to Gary Wagner, an economics professor at Old Dominion University. The secondary effects of decreased spending on restaurants, hotels, and other businesses are estimated to result in a loss of $799 million to the region's economy this year. "It's going to have this ripple effect all throughout the community," said Wagner. (More)