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

ODU Celebrates 11th Anniversary of Kaplan Orchid Conservatory

By Tiffany Whitfield

On a cool fall evening, nestled in the heart of Old Dominion University, more than 70 orchid lovers were welcomed by President John R. Broderick and First Lady Kate Broderick along with co-host Dr. James Krochmal, president of the Tidewater Orchid Society (TOS), to the Arthur and Phyllis Kaplan Orchid Conservatory.

The fragrance of more than 1,300 orchids and their exotic appeal were on center stage. Guests leisurely stopped to take in the view and enjoy the attraction, from snapping photos to expressing how some of the flowers smelled like chocolate.

"It's great to be here," said President Broderick. "This facility really is a hidden treasure, not only on our campus but certainly throughout Hampton Roads. And it's good to see so many of you here tonight."

Built in 2008, the conservatory primarily houses an orchid collection donated by the late Norfolk physician Dr. Arthur Kaplan and his wife, Phyllis Kaplan. A devoted member of the TOS, Dr. Kaplan dedicated himself to the dream of a public orchid conservatory for the greater Hampton Roads community.

"This is one little crown jewel on our campus," said Kate Broderick. "Thanks to all of you for coming and enjoying the beautiful evening here."

Krochmal, who used to be a neighbor of Dr. Kaplan, explained how his love of flowers blossomed because of their friendship.

"From the beginning, TOS members have been fully supportive of Arthur's vision of creating this educationally oriented community orchid conservatory," Krochmal said.

The conservatory is supported by members of the Hampton Roads community.

"This beautiful facility is an excellent example of what a huge difference philanthropy can make," said Gail Dodge, dean of the College of Sciences. "Today we are building on his legacy not only by nurturing the beautiful flowers he loved but by involving students and faculty in research at the facility and by opening up this treasure to the public."

As the conservatory enters it's 11th year of operation, ODU has plans for expansion.

"We will continue to develop our living collection, which is the heart and soul of the conservatory, with an eye to their greater utilization in educational and research projects," said Darrin Duling, associate director of the Kaplan Orchid Conservatory. "Members of the Hampton Roads community have come together to contribute to the success of the facility. We cannot accomplish everything without your support."

To learn more about the conservatory, go to P. 16 in the summer issue of Monarch magazine or stop by Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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