Graduates told of challenges and opportunities at commencement
An internationally respected journalist and an award-winning writer addressed approximately 2,200 graduates during Old Dominion’s 104th commencement ceremonies May 6 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. They spoke of challenges, opportunities and responsibilities the graduates now face.
At the afternoon ceremony, the university awarded a degree to its 100,000th graduate. Jacqueline Honaker, who received a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology, was congratulated on stage by W. Frank Latham Jr., a 1956 Old Dominion graduate who was among the first 15 students to have received a baccalaureate degree from the institution.
CNN reporter and host Wolf Blitzer received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree and spoke at the morning ceremony for graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering and Technology, and Sciences.
Blitzer, who holds degrees in history and international relations, told graduates that he did not plan for a career in journalism, but when someone offered him an opportunity, he seized it. Today’s graduates, he advised, must do the same.
“If you’re not sure what’s on your agenda right now, don’t worry, things will fall into place,” he said. “This is a time to go out and pursue your dreams. You have this opportunity right now ... that’s only available a few times in your life, to not settle for something and really go for what you want.”
Michael D’Orso, a Norfolk-based writer who has published 15 books, including seven bestsellers, spoke at the afternoon ceremony for graduates from the colleges of Business and Public Administration, Education and Health Sciences.
His latest book, “Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska,” is set in a bleak village on the Yukon River, and the author told the graduates about the poverty and hopelessness he found during the five months he lived there.
“I’ve seen this crisis mounting in my travels all over this country, as I’ve worked on one book or another the desperation of so many compared to the opportunities for so few,” he said. “You are the ones, like it or not, who are going to have to fix it.
“Consider it a gift that you are taking the reins at this time in our nation’s history. Consider it an obligation, the obligation that comes with being among the privileged in a time and place where the underprivileged are in need of so much.”
He challenged the graduates to be “prisoners of hope,” which is a term found in the Old Testament.
Dr. Charles E. Horton Sr., an internationally acclaimed humanitarian and renowned plastic surgeon from Norfolk who established Physicians for Peace, received an honorary doctor of sciences degree during the afternoon ceremony. The international medical education organization is dedicated to building peace and international friendships in developing nations with unmet medical needs and scarce resources through medical education and training, clinical care and donated medical supplies.
Hani E. Elsayed-Ali had his work cut out for him when he was appointed last fall as director of the Old Dominion University research unit at the Applied Research Center in Newport News. He had to tackle some of the thorniest challenges of modern technology, and do it together with two chief colleagues who were brand new to the ODU faculty.
The difficulty of the ARC-ODU mission reflects a fundamental hurdle for engineers and scientists who are involved in cutting-edge work at or near the nanoscale, which ranges from 1-100 billionths of a meter.
Dots, tubes, particles, thin films and surface features created by the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules may bring great improvements to human life during the next few decades. Nano-technology could revolutionize electronics, medical probes and therapies, construction materials, chemical sensors and many other products. But the same quirky chemistry and physics that allow breakthroughs at the nanoscale also make nanotechnology difficult to harness.
That is where ARC comes in. One of its most important missions is to push thin films and nanotechnology from the rarified air of laboratories into the everyday marketplace.
“I think we have put together a good team to do what we want to do,” said Elsayed-Ali, who joined the Old Dominion faculty in 1992 and is eminent scholar and professor of electrical and computer engineering.
Elsayed-Ali specializes in physical electronics and is widely known for his proficiency with the ultrafast electron diffraction and pulsed laser deposition that allow researchers to probe nanoscale phenomena and fabricate quantum dots and nanoparticles. His chief colleagues at ARC, both of whom joined the ODU faculty last year, are Helmut Baumgart, who accepted a chaired professorship in electrical engineering after a quarter-century of award-winning research in the advanced semi-conductor industry, and Abdelmageed Elmustafa, assistant professor of mechanical engineering as well as a visiting research professor at Princeton University.
ARC, which was created nearly a decade ago, is located in an $18 million, 122,000 square-foot building near the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. A collaborative enterprise of ODU, the College of William and Mary, Christopher Newport University, Norfolk State University and the Jefferson Lab, ARC also provides space in its building for business start-ups, a venture capital firm, visiting researchers and support entities such as the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology, the Hampton Roads Technology Council and the Technology Applications Center.
The overall goal of ARC is to promote innovative, high-tech solutions for private industries and help stimulate the Hampton Roads and Virginia economies.
“We want to impact the economic development of our region by leveraging our partnerships with the City of Newport News and Jefferson Lab,” said Oktay Baysal, dean of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, which administers ARC-ODU.
The dean said the strength of the current ARC-ODU team reflects a “bolstered commitment to our technological competitiveness.” Elsayed-Ali’s scholarship has garnered praise from a Nobel Laureate and National Academy of Science member, among other, Baysal pointed out. “His technical papers are judged to be pioneering.”
Baumgart was recruited for an endowed professorship established by the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium because of his “vast industrial research experience,” Baysal said, and Elmustafa’s expertise has “positioned ODU to push the forefront of material science.”
Although Elsayed-Ali, Baumgart and Elmustafa are the only ODU professors who spend a significant amount of their workweek at ARC, other of the university's faculty, scientists and engineers can drive the 20 miles from campus to use the center's laboratories and sophisticated equipment. ARC instruments include an array of lasers, high-powered microscopes and spectrometers, devices that fabricate, process and analyze materials.
The pulsed laser deposition (PLD) device, an octopus-shaped contraption of metal chamber and pipes, is a favorite tool of Elsayed-Ali’s at present. “We are building a strong group in the area of nanofabrication,” he said. “This is where we excel, in fabricating different kinds of quantum dots and nanoparticles, and creating nanofeatures on surfaces.”
In the PLD, lasers are used to blast pieces of solid material inside a vacuum chamber, turning each solid into highly excited soups called plasmas. As plasma escapes the blast zone, it cools to a gas and hits a clean substrate where it condenses and sticks, forming a very thin layer. By alternating laser blasts, various materials can be layered on the substrate in a precise fashion to build and position nanoscale pimples. These so-called quantum dots can be created to emit specific colors under certain physical conditions or form the tiniest of electrical circuits. Imagine quantum dots that can be programmed to detect chemical compounds, electromagnetic radiation, or to form a powerful microprocessor no bigger than a pinhead.
Baumgart, whose doctorate from the University of Stuttgart is in semiconductor physics, worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories, Royal Philips Electronics, IBM, Motorola and Infineon Technolo-gies before pursuing his longstanding dream to become an academician. He won performance and leadership awards from each of his employers and participated during his industry career in the explosive growth of microelectronics. He finds it appropriate now that he is at a university helping a new generation of scientists and engineers prepare for the “paradigm shift that is necessary in microelectronics.”
His research outlook is heavily influenced by his years in private industry. “We should not delude ourselves industry does not need academic research in order to survive,” he said. “But there are gaps to be filled in what industry can accomplish, and academic partners can fill those gaps.”
Baumgart teaches a course in the science and engineering of microelectronic fabrication and lists nanotechnology as one of his major research interests at ARC. He also takes his students on field trips to his former employer, Infineon in Richmond. “I think the students see that my real-world experience and connections are valuable,” he said.
Elmustafa earned his doctorate in materials science and engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 2000 and already has put together an impressive work resume. His focus on the nanoscale mechanical behavior of materials has led to his participation in projects for a technology company in Madison, Wis., and for NASA.
He is an exuberant proponent of ODU and ARC, and can deliver a long list of aspirations off the top of his head. A material in bulk and the same material at the nanoscale can exhibit very different mechanical properties, so Elmustafa believes his special mechanical engineering background will be valuable to an ARC-ODU team that is promoting commercial applications of nanotechnology. For example, he has developed computer models of advanced nanopositioners that serve as guides in precision machining and his ideas about nanofabrication of materials may one day be used in hernia repairs or bladder replacement.
“I talked with a surgeon at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and he is very interested in what we are doing,” Elmustafa said. “But, you know, he had never heard of ARC. We have to get the word out about our expertise.”
The ODU faculty members on the ARC team are quick to mention the teaching duties that go hand-in-hand with their research.
They are working with colleagues at the Batten College to carry out a recent National Science Foundation grant titled “Virginia Partnership for Nanotechnology Education and Workforce Develop-ment.” Linda Vahala, associate dean of the college, is principal investigator for the ODU portion of the $600,000 grant, and Elsayed-Ali and Sacharia Albin, professor of electrical and computer engineering, are co-principal investigators.
The grant is administered by George Mason University. The University of Virginia, William and Mary and Virginia Tech also are involved in the project.
“ODU will deliver synchronous and asynchronous courses for exchange between the participating universities, with the first course starting in spring 2007,” explained Elsayed-Ali. The ARC-ODU team’s responsibilities will include a course on plasma processing at the nanoscale.
ARC-ODU also recently received $400,000 under an ongoing Department of Energy grant for fundamental studies involving, among other things, nanocrystal and thin film growth. Elsayed-Ali is principal investigator of that grant as well as another for materials analysis from the National Institute of Aerospace for $144,000. Back to top
Follett Group selected to operate ODU bookstore
Larger store for Village is under consideration
Follett Higher Education Group, a family-owned bookstore operator that manages more than 740 college campus bookstores across the United States and in Canada, will manage the Old Dominion University Bookstore beginning May 27, Robert L. Fenning, vice president for administration and finance, announced recently.
The new 15-year contract replaces a long-standing partnership Old Dominion has held with Barnes and Noble College Bookstores, which has operated the ODU Bookstore since 1986. According to Fenning, the change reflects the university’s efforts to enhance bookstore services and expand product offerings to faculty and students.
Follett has committed to make major investments for capital improvements, which will include the addition of a Spirit Shop dedicated to logo apparel and merchandise in Webb Center. Options are also being explored to construct a larger bookstore with greater trade book offerings and a café in the University Village.
“Our bookstore has always been a great resource to the campus,” said Fenning. “With Follett’s experience and expertise in college bookstores, we believe we can add greatly to the community’s shopping experience.”
Thomas Christopher, president of Follett, noted, “We are proud to be part of the heritage of Old Dominion University. We will bring all of our resources to develop a bookstore that will support the academic mission and campus life at Old Dominion.”
Follett Higher Education Group, founded in 1873, operates campus bookstores at the University of California at Berkeley, University of Notre Dame and Stanford University, among others. Follett also provides bookstore services and programs to more than 1,800 independently owned bookstores. Back to top
Categories for the competition and other details will be announced on the daily news Web page and via e-mail. Registration is due by June 5. Back to top
Under the direction of Shizuo Kuwahara, featuring Simon Lapointe on violin, the orchestra will perform a program of heroes and villains with music from “Star Wars” and the Incredibles,” as well as classics by Saint-Saëns and Rossini.
The performance will begin at 7 p.m. on Kaufman Mall in front of Webb Center. Concert-goers are invited to bring a picnic dinner and lawn chairs. (In case of rain, the concert will move indoors to the Big Blue Room in the Ted Constant Convocation Center.) Back to top
Campus Community Campaign tops $200,000
ODU employees pledged $201,157 to the annual Campus Community Campaign, which wrapped up last month.
A total of 874 faculty and staff, representing 45 percent participation, contributed to the fund drive, which raises money for everything from academic and athletic scholarships to library materials.
The divisions with the highest participation rate College of Business and Public Administration, Office of Development and the President’s Office were winners of a doughnut party.
Dave Hollembeak, assistant benefits manager for the human resources department, was the winner of basketball season tickets, and Jen-Kuang Huang, chair of mechanical engineering, won a reserved parking space for one year. Back to top
Designated the X-48B by the U.S. Air Force, the prototype was developed by Boeing Phantom Works, St. Louis. The 21-foot wingspan aircraft, designed and built to Boeing specifications by Cranfield Aerospace, is an 8.5 percent scale version of a blended wing body concept. A blended wing body looks like a modified triangular-shaped wing and different from traditional tube and wing airplanes.
Engineers from Old Dominion are putting the X-48B through a series of tests in the huge 30- by 60-foot test section. Boeing and NASA want to assess the prototype’s aerodynamic characteristics and use the wind tunnel data to better predict how it will react during flight tests later this year at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The Air Force Research Laboratory has partnered with NASA and Boeing in the research effort. The Air Force is interested in the blended wing body concept’s potential as a military aircraft that could be used for different missions. Back to top
Schafer joined Perry Library in 1988 on a temporary basis and later that year became the education reference librarian, a position she still holds.
She served as acting head of the reference and research services department from March 2005 through February 2006, while performing her regular job duties.
Her service to the library also includes numerous committee assignments and a role as bibliographer for six subject areas (more than anyone else). She was also credited for her leadership in acquiring Serials Solutions and Article Linker, software that, when combined, provides easy access to articles in the library’s electronic journals.
Schafer holds a master’s degree in education from ODU and an M.L.S. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Ray joined the university in 1986 as a staff member in the registrar’s office, transferring to Perry Library in 1989. Administrative assistant to the administrative services librarian, she was nominated for 2006 Staff Member of the Year for her outstanding contribution to the library carpet project.
In addition to her normal duties, Ray was responsible for moving and relocating employees to accommodate the carpeting work, seeing that people had computers, keys and phones throughout the process. She also oversaw the movement of furniture on all floors, as well as the moving of 118 microform cabinets, ensuring that materials were removed and replaced on more than 1,000 shelves. Back to top
Lyons, of Newport News, started 30 of 31 games for the Lady Monarchs, leading them to their 15th straight CAA title. She averaged 9.6 points per game and shot .443 from the floor. She ranked ninth in the CAA in field goal percentage. Lyons carries a 3.40 grade point average in biology/pre-med.
Jones, of Waldorf, Md., helped anchor the Lady Monarch soccer team’s defense in ODU’s 12-7-1 season. She started all 20 games as ODU registered five shutouts on the season. She carries a 3.24 GPA in criminal justice.
Guerrero, of Tijuana, Mexico, took 10th at the Joe Agee tournament, 17th at the ODU/Seascape and 19th at Wofford. He has a 3.63 GPA in finance.
Cancado, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, earned second team All-CAA honors in singles and doubles. He had a 25-9 singles record and 20-9 doubles mark, and helped lead ODU to the CAA title match and a school record of 23-9 along with a top 50 national ranking. He has a 3.60 GPA in information technology. Back to top
International speakers will include Frederic Castel of the European Space Agency and other renowned writers and translators of Verne’s works.
He won one of three awards sponsored by the law firm of Willcox & Savage P.C. His winning invention is an electrodeless excimer UV lamp for which he recently received a patent.
Laroussi’s ultraviolet lamp is designed to be ultra efficient and can be used in numerous industrial applications. He now holds four patents in the field of plasmas and applications, and garnered national attention recently for his development of a “plasma pencil,” a hand-held device that shoots out a plasma plume and has various germ-killing uses. Back to top
Online renewal is not available at this time. If circumstances prevent patrons from bringing their material in for return or renewal, they should contact the library at firstname.lastname@example.org for alternate arrangements. For more information call 683-5534. Back to top
President Roseann Runte, who thanked Mayor Paul Fraim and the City Council for their role in the creation of what she termed a “win-win scenario,” said the university expects to make “an official announcement about football in the near future.”
She also noted that ODU has raised more than $5 million in pledges to support a football program, adding, “We are confident that we will meet our fundraising goal once a formal campaign is launched.”
Securing $8 million in pledges to support the debut of I-AA football in fall 2009 was another criterion set by the university’s Board of Visitors.
As a result of the city-university negotiations, ODU will get nearly three acres of land south of the city-owned Powhatan Football Stadium, near the corner of Powhatan Avenue and 38th Street. This parcel, which adjoins land the university currently leases from the city, will be used for two football practice fields, football locker rooms and training facilities, a field hockey/lacrosse stadium and a softball stadium.
The university, in turn, is giving the city approximately three acres of land adjacent to The Inn, a student residence Hall on Hampton Boulevard.
Should football become an intercollegiate sport in 2009, ODU would add women’s crew in 2007-08, women’s softball in 2010-11 and women’s volleyball in 2014-15 to meet Title IX requirements. Back to top
Students pursuing the major will be required to complete 120 credit hours, including courses in general education, business, international business, decision sciences, accounting, economics, marketing, finance, information technology and management. The specialized coursework includes international shipping, supply chain and logistics, shipping management and port management, along with other supply chain and logistics course options.
“We saw a need to educate managers to work for the port and maritime industries,” said Nancy Bagranoff, dean of the business college. She noted that in the past few years, CMA CGM and Zim, two of the world’s largest shipping companies, have located their North American headquarters in Norfolk. Additionally, AP Moller Co., which owns Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping line, is constructing a container marine terminal in Portsmouth. It is scheduled to open in 2007.
The ODU program will build upon the university’s Port and Maritime Institute and the graduate level four-course track and certificate program in port and maritime management, which has operated for 12 years. Wayne Talley, director of the institute, said the new major will help meet the need for a skilled work force in the area.
“With a 10 percent annual growth in containerized cargo at U.S. container ports expected in the foreseeable future, the need for employees in all sectors of the maritime industry is great in both Hampton Roads and across the country,” Talley added.
Many in the Hampton Roads supply chain and maritime communities have already endorsed the new program.
Since the Hampton Roads economy also relies heavily on railroad, shipbuilding and repair, cruise ship, warehousing and trucking businesses, the program will incorporate these industries into the curriculum.
Old Dominion is the second university in the country to offer a maritime management program at the undergraduate level and the only research university in Virginia to teach this curriculum.For more information go to www.odu.edu/oduhome/research.shtml Back to top
The center currently houses a highly regarded preschool and kindergarten program, a parenting center, parenting resource library and speech pathology program.
As part of the expansion, ODU’s Child Development Center, a full-service, full-time day-care facility for 90 children ages 8 weeks to 3 years, will move from its location at the northwest end of the campus into the expanded facility.
“The Child Development Center is at capacity. There is no additional space for more children and the waiting list includes more than 400 children,” said Katharine Kersey, chair of ODU’s early childhood, speech-language pathology and special education department.
The Child Study Center, which has provided a setting for training teachers and child care professionals since 1967, and serves as a site for research on early childhood development, is also operating at 100 percent capacity, Kersey added.
The expansion, to be financed in part by state funds, will feature a two-story wing to accommodate 60 additional children in the child development program, offices and research space. The oldest wing of the current building will be renovated to include classrooms, workrooms, group treatment areas, office space, conference rooms, recreation area and library. Additional conference rooms and testing areas will provide expanded assessment, training and research opportunities.
The entire facility will enclose an open-air, tree-shaded playground and activity area.
At the campaign kickoff last month, President Roseann Runte helped illustrate the importance of the Child Development Center.
“When I became president, my very first phone call from a parent was someone saying, ‘I can’t get my son in!’ I asked what high school he attended and the parent said, ‘He’s 2 years old!’ I knew immediately how vital a mission this was to families and our community.”
Expanding the Lions Child Study Center will also allow ODU staff to integrate the special education and speech therapy programs with the child care program. “While the increase in capacity can only accommodate a fraction of the Child Development Center’s waiting list, the long-term benefit will be the number of graduates who work in the community, filling the critical need for excellent child care,” Kersey said.
At the Child Study Center, ODU students receive both theoretical and field-based training. After earning their degrees, graduates take their experience and expertise into the community, teaching in public and private schools and working in the child care industry. The Darden College of Education is among the top producers of teachers in Virginia. Back to top
A native of Hungary and a veteran of the Australian Army, he moved to the United States in 1963 as a visiting professor at Auburn University. He joined the Old Dominion College faculty in 1966 as a professor of engineering, and became an American citizen in 1968. He retired from ODU in 1977.
Barna, an important contributor to wind flow research, is credited with designing and obtaining funding for a laboratory-sized wind tunnel on the ODU campus.
A former ODU student, E. James Hayes ’89, established the P. Stephen Barna Endowed Professorship for Aerospace Engineering in 2003.
Barna, who was also known as an inventor, author, photographer, musician and artist, was to have his memoirs published by Author House in June 2006.
He was predeceased by his wife, Margaret Elizabeth Barna. Survivors include his daughters, Stephanie Burr and Sharon Flowers, and two grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Virginia Symphony. Back to top
Gary E. Copeland has been a member of the Old Dominion University faculty for 35 years. He began his career in the Department of Geophysical Sciences and is now a professor in the Department of Physics.
In addition to teaching courses ranging from introductory- to 800-level graduate courses, he has developed five courses, created computer codes for his astrophysics research, and served as chief departmental adviser and graduate program director for the department.
Copeland spends a considerable amount of time one-on-one with students and is dedicated to helping them understand the material. He volunteers as a tutor in the Learning Center, served as the faculty adviser for the Society of Physics Students, and has supervised doctoral and master’s degree candidates in several disciplines. His research has attracted almost $2 million in grants.
Instructional Technology Teaching Award
David C. Earnest, assistant professor of political science and international studies, joined Old Dominion in 2004. Earnest not only makes full use of the Blackboard online course management system, he also integrates highly creative uses of PowerPoint presentations into his classes. In his undergraduate research course, he shows students how to interpret SPSS statistical test results as well as how to integrate data animations into PowerPoint presentations.
In many ways, Earnest is the model of the university professor of the 21st century for his ability to seamlessly incorporate and coordinate a variety of technologies to enhance his students’ learning.
TELETECHNET Faculty of the Year
Jill C. Jurgens, associate professor of educational leadership and counseling, joined Old Dominion in 1998 and received the TELETECHNET Teacher of the Year Award the following year. In 2004, she was named a University Professor.
Jurgens currently serves as coordinator for the human services program and teaches courses in diversity issues, career development and interpersonal relations. She works with several professional journals, served on the Faculty Senate and is secretary of the Darden College of Education’s faculty governance group.
She is actively involved with several committees, particularly in her research interest areas of career development and diversity issues. Jurgens’ numerous honors include Most Inspiring Faculty Award from the Darden College of Education (2000); Outstanding Counseling Graduate from her alma mater (2005); and the Miriam Clubok Award for leadership to the National Organization for Human Services (2005).
Garrett J. McAuliffe’s spark for teaching was ignited by an inspirational mentor at Queens College in New York, and then nurtured during his graduate education at the University of Albany and at the University of Massachusetts, where he received his doctorate.
He spent 14 years as a college counselor before joining Old Dominion in 1988, where he now shares his passion for teaching as a professor of counselor education. Experience and empowerment are themes that characterize McAuliffe’s teaching as he creates an environment where all students feel important and challenged, in distance learning courses and the traditional college classroom.
McAuliffe has co-written three books on the teaching of counselors. With colleague Angela Jones of the ODU Counseling Center, he worked with ODU students in 2005 to create “Counseling Gay and Lesbian Youth: A Multiethnic Demonstration Video,” a DVD produced by the Academic Technology Services.
Edward P. Markowski, professor of information systems and decision sciences, joined ODU in 1980. He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from King’s College in 1974 and a doctorate in statistics from Pennsylvania State University in 1980. He is the recipient of two previous awards in the College of Business and Public Administration and is consistently praised by his students for helping them understand complex material.
Bryan E. Porter, associate professor of psychology, joined ODU in 1996. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with honors, from Virginia Tech in 1990, a master’s in general experimental psychology from Memphis State Univer-sity in 1994 and a doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Memphis in 1996. He is especially successful in engaging students in collaborative projects and in making the connection between research and public policy.
Scott R. Sechrist, associate professor of nuclear medicine technology, joined ODU in 1987. He received a bachelor’s degree in physical science in 1975 and a master’s in community health education in 1989, both from ODU. He also earned a doctorate in education from the College of William and Mary in 2000. He is the recipient of the highest teaching award in the College of Health Sciences, and is noted for his enthusiasm for his subject matter and dedication to student success.
David P. Swain, professor of exercise science, sport, physical education and recreation, joined ODU in 1993. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology, magna cum laude, in 1978 from the University of South Florida and a doctorate in physiology in 1984 from the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Swain is the recipient of the highest teaching award in the Darden College of Education and has inspired many of his students to pursue majors and careers in his discipline.
Retiring faculty and administrators
J. Worth Pickering Administrator of the Year Award
Bill McMahon has been a lifelong Monarch, having earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an M.B.A. in 1966 and 1971, respectively, from Old Dominion.
McMahon has provided 35 years of exemplary professional service to the university. For 12 years, he served as director of administrative services and continuing education in the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology. He accepted his current position as associate vice president for academic services in 1996.
In his current role, McMahon is responsible for the cohesive management of all ODU academic budgets. He proudly served his country in the military and retired with the rank of colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves.
Armada Hoffler Weekend College Teaching Award
Maureen Stiner, instructor of finance, is dedicated to the nontraditional students who are served by Old Dominion University’s Weekend College program.
She joined the university in the fall of 2000 and has taught Principles of Finance on Saturday mornings almost every semester since her arrival.
Nancy Bagranoff, dean of the College of Busi-ness and Public Administration, says, “Ms. Stiner is well-known for the rigor in her courses and for her performance expectations of students. These high standards are quite laudable …” and have earned faculty and students’ respect.
Stiner has embraced the Blackboard course management system to improve the delivery of her subject matter. She enjoys the weekend students’ intense interest and motivation for learning.
Rocco Schiavilla, professor of physics and senior staff scientist at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab), joined Old Dominion in 1993.
He is an internationally recognized scholar in the area of few-body physics, and his publications in this area are considered among the best in the field. Many of his papers have a very high level of citation, indicating both their impact in this important area of physics and their scholarly content. One of his papers is approaching 600 citations and was recognized as the most cited nuclear theory paper by Stanford SPIRES database.
From 2002-05, he co-authored 18 refereed publications, edited one refereed conference proceeding, gave 12 invited talks (six of which were abroad) and presented 11 seminars and colloquia.
Schiavilla was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2002 and currently serves as chair of the society’s Few-Body Topical Group. He also served as the interim theory group leader at JLab for 18 months in 2002 and 2003. In April, his colleagues chose him to receive the 2006 Faculty Research Achievement Award.
Provost’s Award for Leadership in International Education
Alok K. Verma, Ray Ferrari professor of engineering technology, joined Old Dominion in 1981. He holds two degrees from ODU: a master’s in engineering mechanics in 1981 and a doctorate in mechanical engineering in 2005.
Throughout his professional career, Verma has been consistently and creatively involved in international education to include leadership in establishing articulation agreements between ODU and universities in Kuwait (2004) and India (2004 and 2005) and with international curriculum and program development, scholarship and multicultural events.
Verma has organized one international conference, given the keynote speech at five others and delivered papers at four others. He earned an international research award and is the associate editor of two international journals.
Verma was a key member of the organizing committee for ODU’s highly successful India Forum in 2004 and has served on the Asian American Alliance and the World Affairs Council of Hampton Roads boards.
University Service Awards
There are those who think Sheri Reynolds’ life began when her novel “The Rapture of Canaan” became an “Oprah” pick and has been on hold until her new novel, “The Firefly Cloak,” hit bookstore shelves last month.
Celebrity, however, as well as the time between books, is not something Reynolds measures her life by. Teaching, she says, is her primary focus.
“My job is not about ‘Oprah’ or how well my next book sells,” Reynolds said, folded into a chair in her cozy, cluttered Batten Arts and Letters Building office.
During the interview, a vintage 1940s rotary phone clatters for attention and a student drops by asking her to autograph a copy of her latest novel. “I bought it to show my mom that my professor really is an author. I made her read the title page and see your name.”
Most of Reynolds’ students come into her class unaware of her celebrity, which is just the way the unassuming South Carolinian likes it.
“I prefer to have them get to know me as their teacher and for what I have to offer them in that capacity,” said Reynolds, associate professor of English and the Ruth and Perry Morgan Chair of Southern Literature. “By the time they find out about ‘Oprah’ and all that, they already know me for who I am.”
In fact, that is the reason Reynolds chose to accept a position at ODU in 1997 shortly after her appearance on “Oprah” when her second novel, “The Rapture of Canaan,” became the sixth book chosen for the show’s monthly book club. Reynolds is also the author of “Bitterroot Landing” (1995) and “A Gracious Plenty” (1997).
“I had applied for positions at other institutions and after ‘Oprah’ I was pretty swamped with offers, but I chose Old Dominion because they accepted me before anyone knew I was even going to be on ‘Oprah.’
“I was very fearful that once all the ‘Oprah’ had worn off, whoever hired me would be disappointed. So here I am and I just love it. Love my students.”
Popular among creative writing students, Reynolds says her main goal is to impart to them “what my teachers taught me.”
“Maybe once in a while my experiences as an author being rejected, editing a manuscript come in useful as teaching tools, but not as often as the things I was taught.”
Her methods have proven effective and earned her an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia in 2003.
Still, it is her new book, rather than her teaching abilities, which has been garnering press coverage in recent weeks. It is, as the media is fond of repeating, Reynolds’ “long-awaited” novel.
“I had written it seven years ago, a draft anyway, and just got stuck,” she explained. “I had made the girl younger in the draft and nothing she was doing made sense to me. When I came back to it I aged her seven years and suddenly everything fell into place. It all made sense.”
The book is published by Shaye Areheart Books, an imprint of Crown Publishing for Random House.
“Firefly Cloak” begins following the plight of two children, Tessa Lee and her brother, Travis, who are abandoned in a campground by their desperate mother and her boyfriend of the moment.
As noted on the publisher’s Web site: “The children are left with only two things: a phone number written in Magic Marker on Travis’s back and their mother’s favorite housecoat, which she leaves wrapped around her sleeping children. This housecoat, painted with tiny fireflies, becomes totemic for Tessa Lee, providing a connection to her past and to the beautiful mother she lost.”
A few years later, the untimely death of Travis sparks Tessa Lee, now 14, to search for her mother. Reynolds, who lives in Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore, wove this pivotal event into the story after learning that the little boy who mowed her lawn had been struck and killed by a car.
“I just kept wondering how his sister was managing to get along without him around, and then it worked itself into the book,” she said.
“I start by writing characters, but I never really know what’s going to happen to them until it happens in the writing.”
Unlike “The Rapture of Canaan,” Reynolds’ latest novel will not take her on a national junket of public appearances. She is making a few promotional trips along the southeastern seaboard over the next several weeks, but for the most part, Reynolds, like a number of her main characters, has come of age and chosen to let the work rise or fall on its own merit.
Once she has made her stops on behalf of “Firefly Cloak,” Reynolds said she plans to spend the final six weeks of her summer break finishing the draft of another novel she has started. “It’s ambitious. I know. I’m just going to go for it.” Back to top
An administrative and program specialist III in the dean’s office of the business college, Davenport has worked at ODU for approximately three years.
Her duties involve close interaction with the dean, associate dean and the Ph.D. in business administration program director, and she serves as a liaison to the Economics Club of Hampton Roads.
In addition, Davenport serves on the University Calendar Committee and the Commencement Committee, and has volunteered for many university projects, including Community Care Day and Freshman Debut, and HACE activities.
“Mrs. Davenport is an amazingly creative, motivated, energetic and enthusiastic team player. She learns complex issues very quickly,” said Associate Dean Ali Ardalan, who nominated her.
Nancy Bagranoff, dean of the college, was also one from a long list of administrators, faculty members and students who supported her nomination.
Calling Davenport “dependable to a fault,” Bagranoff added, “We are incredibly fortunate to have such an amazingly talented and capable person working in our office.”
Others noted Davenport’s positive attitude, dependability, productivity, professionalism, personality and volunteerism.
Regarding the role she plays in support of doctoral students, Carlisa Merritt, the college’s budget manager, noted, “She is an efficient, hard-working person that nurtures her students from the moment they enter the program to the time they successfully defend their dissertations.”
As winner of the annual award, Davenport receives $200 from the Jill Nolte Endowment Fund, a reserved parking space for next year, a $100 bookstore gift certificate, two passes to a Global Spectrum event at the Constant Convo-cation Center, ODU athletic tickets and $25 worth of Monarch Dining Dollars.
Also nominated for the award were: Linda Baker, Kathie Clagett, Calisa Farmer, Robert Grandon, Alicia Herr, L’Tanya King, Deborah Long, Theresa Mathews, Susan Nagle, Dana Oblak, Sandra Phillips, Elizabeth Vazquez, Terry Watts, Dwight Williford and Kim Wint.
Jennifer Ellis, winner of the HACE Rookie Award, is acting administrative assistant and office specialist III for the educational curriculum and instruction department. She has worked at ODU for approximately eight months.
Department chair Jane Hager, who nominated her, recalled the time Ellis was hired, shortly after Hager had assumed her role as head of the department:
“Her immediate supervisor needed to be placed on disability leave due to a high-risk pregnancy. Jennifer immediately took on the responsibilities of both positions. When her supervisor had to leave the university after the birth of her child, Jennifer was asked to assume those responsibilities in an acting capacity. Without her good spirit, her willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty, and her excellent skills, I can only imagine the disarray within the department.”
Dwight Allen, eminent scholar of educational reform, said, “In the 28 years I have been at ODU I have never seen an employee rise to meet the impossible challenge of void after void in key administrative support positions ... the way Jennifer Ellis has done.”
Many other faculty wrote letters supporting the nomination, noting Ellis’s attention to detail, reliability, motivation and cheerful personality.
Ellis receives $100 from the Jill Nolte Endowment Fund, a $100 bookstore gift certificate, two passes to a Global Spectrum event, ODU athletic tickets and $25 worth of Monarch Dining Dollars.
Also nominated were: Idalia Aguirre, Edgar Gonzalez, Tonya McDuffie, Erin Mills and Cheryl Zobel. Back to top
Gordon, who maintained a 4.0 grade point average, plans to attend law school. An active student on campus, she played field hockey and started as goalie for the Lady Monarchs her senior year. She was also the recipient of a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi scholarship, one of 60 awarded this year by the national organization.
Gordon cited Beth Esinhart, senior lecturer of political science, as her most inspiring faculty member, noting her unwavering support as an academic mentor.
The Kaufman Prize, which carries with it a $10,000 award, was established by Landmark Communications Inc. to acknowledge graduating seniors who have exerted exceptional and constructive influence on the university, its students or the community by demonstrating the highest qualities of leadership and service.
Kaufman was well known in Hampton Roads as a community leader, philanthropist and friend to Old Dominion.
Pamela Majumdar of Norfolk, a civil engineering major, won the second-place Kaufman Award, which includes a cash prize of $2,000. Majumdar maintained a 3.5 GPA and cited Chris Drake, professor of geography, as her most inspiring faculty member.
The following students received Alumni Association Outstanding Scholar Awards, given to the graduating seniors with the highest GPAs from each college. Also listed are the faculty members who most inspired the award recipients.
The cover bears a colorful image of British painter Mike Haywood’s “Voyage of the First Settlers 1” and carries quotes from reviews of the first edition, published nearly 50 years ago.
A 1961 honor graduate of Old Dominion, Mapp taught both English and history at the university for many years, retiring in 1992 and attaining the rank of eminent scholar emeritus.
Mapp’s first signing of the new edition will be in Williamsburg on May 13, following his address to the Jamestowne Society as it launches its participation in the historic celebration.
The Washington Post wrote of Mapp’s initial edition, which was published in 1957: “Superb volume ... detailed and very entertaining. ... Reading this volume in conjunction with a trip would provide the best conceivable history lesson, a true appreciation of both the meager and momentous beginnings of this nation.”
Famed historian Arthur Pierce Middleton wrote in The Virginian Magazine of History: “Mapp has a genius for narrative history. ... The reader will be entertained and enriched.”
Mapp was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree at Old Dominion’s December 2005 commencement. On that occasion, President Roseann Runte described him as “a fine scholar, caring teacher and voluminous communicator who has won several awards as a national educator.” Back to top
Commencement is a time for beginnings and endings a time for fresh starts and reluctant goodbyes. There’s so much to do with purchasing caps and gowns, wrapping up final exams, mailing invitations and planning parties.
In the following weeks, thank-you notes will be written to family members and friends. However, there are a few heart-felt thank-yous I must extend now before Wolf Blitzer and others take over center stage and the spotlight.
Come Saturday morning, May 6, I’ll be graduating with a master of arts in English. However, I didn’t accomplish this goal on my own. I wish to thank my husband, family and friends, and especially my “ODU pals,” for all their help and understanding.
I also would like to thank Dr. Jeffrey H. Richards, professor of English, for his unwavering encouragement and guidance. I’ve had the distinct pleasure and privilege of taking several classes with Dr. Richards both undergraduate and graduate and never have I had a better, more motivated and conscientious professor and mentor.
Due to his commitment to teaching, and dedication and passion for his subject matter, I’ve gained a richer and deeper appreciation for American literature, drama and the theater.
So, thank you, Dr. Richards, for being there. Your support has been immeasurable.
Brigitta M. Chia
“A death sentence for cancer?”
“Old Dominion gave me the opportunity I might not have had at a larger school. I am still really thankful.” (Samantha Salvia, 1996 ODU graduate and Rhodes Scholar)
“Whatever happened to ... Samantha Salvia”
“The progress is slow. Probably the foremost economic challenge facing the region is transportation, and we’re flunking.” (James V. Koch, Board of Visitors Professor of Economics)
“The region: Not a perfect fit, yet”
“It’s a complicated business,” raising money. “Because the support that you get depends on so many bits and pieces of information. What’s exciting to me is the high level of excitement by the students and alumni.” (Bob Fenning, vice president, administration and finance)
“ODU gears up for football blitz”
“We’re still not at the numbers we were pre-9/11.” ... “The visa situation has improved significantly, and the perception has changed.” (Steven Risch, director of international admissions)
“After slump, colleges see rise in foreign applications”
“Although the plant is in Norfolk, the pain will be spread around because many of its workers commute from other cities.” ... “We just don’t know what the labor markets will look like in 2008,” when the plant is scheduled to close. (Gil Yochum, professor of economics)
“Economists say effect of Ford loss likely will be widespread”