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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Lisa Smith Elected Rector of Board of Visitors

By Phil Walzer

Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors unanimously elected Lisa B. Smith its new rector on June 14.

Smith, who succeeds attorney Carlton Bennett, has been a member of Old Dominion's board since 2014. Smith serves as a volunteer in Hampton Roads. She has been a board member with nonprofit organizations including the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Access College Foundation and the YMCA of Hampton Roads.

She previously worked for nearly 20 years as an attorney in the telecommunications industry.

Smith received her bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University and her law degree from Rutgers University School of Law-Newark.

Smith praised the efforts of President John R. Broderick and senior administrators "to ensure that everyone has access to a high-quality education in an environment that will prepare students for life after ODU." She also cited the University's "nationally recognized faculty," contributions to the region's economy, and community services such as camps and reduced-rate dental services.

"As rector, I will do what I can to ensure that the board supports President Broderick and his team as they continue to position ODU to thrive and effectively compete as an academic institution," she said. "It will be important to balance the continued advancement of ODU's national academic presentation and performance with financial accessibility for its students."

Smith said she also hopes to encourage additional partnerships "with other Hampton Roads institutions to help strengthen its regional educational system."

The board elected Kay A. Kemper vice rector and Pamela C. Kirk secretary.

Kemper is president of Kemper Consulting, a government relations firm. Kemper previously served as vice president of advancement at Old Dominion and was the University's first female vice president. She received her master's degree in public administration from Old Dominion in 1980.

Kirk, a former marketing executive, previously served as vice rector of the board. With First Lady Kate Broderick, Kirk co-founded the Women's Initiative Network, which provides mentorships and educational opportunities for female students. Kirk received her bachelor's in secondary education from Old Dominion in 1988.

"I congratulate Lisa on her appointment as rector," Broderick said. "She has been an effective vice rector, and she has demonstrated her dedication to the mission of Old Dominion University. With Kay as vice rector and Pam as secretary, the board will have a strong leadership team."

Gov. Ralph Northam recently appointed transportation executive Unwanna Dabney to Old Dominion's board and reappointed Smith, Bennett, Kirk and Jay Harris. Read more.

Also at the board meeting:

  • The board approved a $646 million operating budget for the university for the 2018-19 year. The budget includes increased allocations for financial aid, online programs and new faculty positions, among other items, the University's budget officer, Bruce Aird, said. Old Dominion will continue to have the lowest tuition among Virginia's public doctoral institutions.
  • Broderick announced that Old Dominion has raised $110 million toward the $250 million goal of its Legacy in the Making fundraising initiative. The money will go to scholarships, academic projects and faculty support, among other areas.
  • The board passed a resolution congratulating Broderick on his 10th anniversary as president. The resolution said Old Dominion has "thrived under his leadership" and "emerged as a research leader," attaining record graduation and retention rates.
  • Bennett acknowledged the death of Anne Donovan, whom he called "truly a great example of ODU's outstanding undergraduate athletes." Donovan, a former coach in the WNBA, was Old Dominion's all-time leading scorer and rebounder in women's basketball. She also won Olympic gold medals as a player and coach.

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