Grads advised to serve fellow man, to protect environment
Nearly 1,800 students received degrees and were given words of advice by speakers Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, and R. Brooks Hanson, deputy editor for the physical sciences at Science magazine, at Old Dominion’s 106th commencement exercises May 5 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Edelman, who spoke to more than 850 graduates of the colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering and Technology and Health Sciences at the morning ceremony, received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

She told graduates to ask “not how much can I get, but how much can I give. ... Service is the very purpose of life, not something you do in your spare time.”

Edelman also shared lessons from her book, “The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours.” Among them: there is no free lunch, set goals, take risks and assign yourself. “If you see a need, don’t ask ‘Why doesn’t someone do something?’ Ask, ‘Why don’t I do something?’”

She urged graduates to take family life seriously and to be careful of working just for money, noting, “Don’t confuse wealth or fame with character.”

Hanson told graduates at the afternoon commencement that their generation “can instill the importance of science” in the political and educational processes affecting the quality of human life on Earth.

Speaking to 900 graduates of the College of Business and Public Administration, Darden College of Education and College of Sciences, he said science tells us that “we have a big change coming, and it’s going to profoundly shape your generation.”

For the past century, fossil fuels have been the basis of the global economy, Hanson noted. “But a change is required for two reasons. The first is simple: within the next 20 to 30 years or so, we will begin to run short of oil. The second reason is a bit more complicated, but it is now extremely well understood that the burning of those fossil fuels is warming our climate.”

Video of both ceremonies can be viewed online at Back to top

Whitehurst donates congressional diaries to library

Perry Library’s Special Collections recently received a special collection, indeed, when G. William Whitehurst, Kaufman Lecturer in Public Affairs, donated a copy of his personal congressional diaries.

The 20 bound volumes, presented to University Librarian Virginia O’Herron at an April 26 reception, feature Whitehurst’s private accounts of events that transpired during his 18 years as Virginia’s Second District representative to the U.S. Congress, which began in 1969. The entries also include his unvarnished personal opinions of the political figures of the day whom he encountered. As he noted at the event, “There are elements in the diary which are uncomplimentary about some people on both sides of the aisle.”

A Republican, Whitehurst retired from Congress in January 1987 to assume the lectureship at Old Dominion.

Whitehurst’s nine terms as a congressman covered the period of the Vietnam War, Watergate scandal, ABSCAM scandal and the oil crises of the 1970s. He spent his congressional career as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, and also served a six-year term on the Select Committee on Intelligence, and two years on the Ethics Committee.

He donated the original copies of his personal diaries 20 years ago to the library at Washington and Lee University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1950.

At the April 26 ceremony, Whitehurst explained that he was prompted to donate the second set after some of his ODU students complained about having to drive all the way to W&L to read the journals for their research papers. “Last fall I got an attack of common sense, which I should have gotten years ago,” Whitehurst admitted. “So I called W&L and asked to borrow the diaries to make copies. I wanted them to be available for this generation and future generations of scholars.”

The diaries, he noted, are unique in that he was the only congressman at the time who kept such a journal. Whitehurst’s wife, Janie, who worked in his office as an unofficial and non-salaried aide, did most of the typing.

His entries span the serious business of government service to the personal side of politics. In one 1980 entry, he recounts the poignant story of a woman from Portsmouth who had lost her son in Vietnam and years later appealed to Whitehurst to intervene when her sickly husband, a World War II veteran, was denied admittance to a veterans hospital because they were only accepting those with war-related injuries. Following a persuasive call from Whitehurst, who made it clear that the family had “paid the ultimate price for this country,” the man was quickly admitted.

The diaries also offer rare, and sometimes humorous, behind-the-scenes looks at Washington, such as what transpired at the “gym feast,” an annual event where members of the House of Representatives gathered to dine, socialize and hand out awards to those who used the congressional gym. Whitehurst described the dinner as “like something out of ‘Animal House.’”

At the Perry Library reception, he spoke about one particular gym feast he attended, when George H.W. Bush, then a congressman who was running for a Senate seat, was named runner-up for the award of “person who had cheated the most at paddle ball,” a popular game at the time. “Bush said, ‘I’m leaving this place,’ and the Democrats said, ‘Get the hell out’ and threw wet napkins at him. Two hours ago, these fellows were in solemn debate in the House and were now acting like fraternity guys.”

Whitehurst later recalled making his final diary entry. “It felt like losing a child when I finished the last volume,” he said. “The damn thing had just possessed me so.”

Prior to his first congressional race, Whitehurst taught history at the Norfolk Division, ODU’s forerunner, and Old Dominion College from 1950 to 1968, and served as dean of student affairs from 1963-68.

He hold’s a master’s degree in history from the University of Virginia and a doctorate in American diplomatic history from West Virginia University. A World War II veteran, he served in the U.S. Navy as a combat aircrewman. Back to top

First building in Innovation Research Park opens May 16
Gov. Tim Kaine and President Roseann Runte will officially launch Innovation Research Park @ ODU, an $80 million economic development project, with the opening celebration for the park’s first building at 41st Street and Monarch Way May 16.

The event begins at 4:30 p.m. with a formal program, followed by tours and demonstrations throughout the building. Norfolk City Councilman Barclay Winn and Wexford Science+Technology President James R. Berens will join in the ceremony.

Located in the University Village, Innovation Research Park @ ODU is a unique public-private partnership designed to merge university intellectual capital, faculty and students with private-sector companies to pursue research, technology development and business-creation opportunities.

Designed by UJNM architects of Philadelphia, the park’s first structure is a 100,000-square-foot, five-story Class “A” office/lab building. Wexford Science+Technology, a national real-estate investment firm headquartered in Towson, Md., is the project owner-developer for the building and GVA Advantis is the exclusive leasing agent and property manager. 

ODU offices occupy about 60 percent of the building, including the Office of Research, Research Foundation, Lean Manufacturer Institute, Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Computational Intelligence and Machine Vision Laboratory, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Center for Advanced Ship Repair and Maintenance, National Center for System of Systems Engineering, Virginia Applied Technology and Professional Development Center, and Office of Spatial and Cartographic Information. Back to top

Va. Symphony to perform outdoor concert May 24
Music on the mall will return May 24 with a free concert by the Virginia Symphony, under the direction of new assistant conductor Matt Kraemer.

The concert will mark the 30-year-old Kraemer’s first public appearance with the orchestra.

The 7 p.m. performance on Kaufman Mall will include a piece by ODU’s Adolphus Hailstork, “Settlements 5,” written in honor of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. The University Theatre will serve as the rain site. Back to top

New ODU center will aid urban, at-risk students in Newport News schools
In an effort to assist urban and “at-risk” students, Old Dominion formally launched the Center for Teacher Quality and Educational Leadership (CTQEL) and signed a partnership with Newport News Public Schools April 25 at the university’s Peninsula Higher Education Center.

Funded by the General Assembly, CTQEL will help teachers and school leaders mobilize community resources to meet such students’ academic and other educational needs. It is one aspect of ODU’s commitment to PK-20 partnerships that aim to improve student achievement, leadership and teacher quality. Located at the Peninsula Higher Education Center, CTQEL is a community outreach organization of the Darden College of Education’s Program for Research and Evaluation in Public Schools.

At the ceremony, Newport News Public Schools Interim Superintendent Ashby Kilgore and ODU Provost Thomas L. Isenhour signed a memorandum of agreement to train school principals, assistant principals and teachers to help children in urban schools reach their academic achievement potential and increase personal and social responsibilities associated with academic and community success.

Starting in July, select teachers and administrators will engage in school improvement demonstration projects, which will be developed collaboratively with district leaders. Areas of focus will include school leadership, teacher quality and pupil achievement. Back to top

Economics Club luncheon rescheduled to June 1
Benedict Schwegler Jr., vice president and chief scientist of Walt Disney Imagineering, Research & Development Inc., will be the guest speaker for the Economics Club of Hampton Roads luncheon at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott on June 1. The program, which begins at noon, was rescheduled from April 27.

For reservations call 683-4058. Back to top

University Libraries honors employees of the year
The University Libraries recently honored Donna Hughes-Oldenburg and Helen Ho as Librarian of the Year and Staff Member of the Year.

Hughes-Oldenburg, who is head of the bibliographic services department, was credited for assuming the additional responsibilities of acting acquisitions and preservation services librarian and acting cataloging services librarian when those positions became vacant. She also spearheaded the development of the “Holocaust Remembrance” exhibit in the Perry Library lobby.

Ho was cited as “a valuable team player who solves problems, ensures quality control and streamlines processing of important library resources to enhance user satisfaction.” Due to departmental vacancies, she took on extra duties and the responsibility for training staff and student assistants in tasks related to departmental processing. Back to top

“Making Allegories” opens May 12 at Univ. Gallery
The University Gallery opens “Making Allegories,” recent sculpture by Herb Weaver and Cliff Tresner, with a reception and brief gallery talk by the artists at 7 p.m. May 12. The reception and exhibition, which continues through July 1, are free and open to the public.

Using allegory and metaphor, both artists explore the creative process from inception to exhibition. Drawing on his background in furniture design, Tresner uses wood, bronze and steel to assemble works that appear, at times, to be functional.

Weaver creates a clever twist in his hand-built clay sculptures by endowing them with layers of meaning. In works such as “Bushwhacker,” the title punning on the name Bush, the blades of a hand-built clay lawn mower are embossed with casualty numbers.

Tresner is an associate professor of art at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Weaver is a professor in the fine arts department at Bethany College in West Virginia.

The University Gallery is located at 350 W. 21st St., Norfolk. For more information call 683-2355. Back to top

ODU to start two degree programs in Martinsville
Old Dominion will partner with New College Institute to offer two degree programs in Martinsville beginning this fall. The announcement was made April 26 by President Roseann Runte and NCI executive director Barry Dorsey.

The two programs, bachelor’s degrees in motor sports technology and industrial technology, are the eighth and ninth degree programs to be offered at NCI, a new educational institution established by the 2006 General Assembly.

NCI brings directly to Virginia’s Southside third- and fourth-year courses that enable students to complete bachelor’s degrees without having to leave the area. The institution also offers master’s degrees. The programs are delivered by public and private institutions.

“This area of the state is known for its motorsports activities,” Dorsey said. “We have an outstanding associate degree in motorsports already offered by Patrick Henry Community College. The bachelor’s degree builds on the PHCC program and makes it possible for a student to stay in this area to complete a four-year degree and be even better prepared to work in the growing motorsports industry.”

He added, “The industrial technology degree should be of great benefit to businesses in our region. This degree also is a natural one for many community college graduates with associate degrees in technology to complete. Back to top

VTCHE sponsors annual Institute on College Teaching
The Virginia Tidewater Consortium for Higher Education’s 29th annual Summer Institute on College Teaching will be held June 3-7 at the College of William and Mary.

Institute faculty will include consultants with expertise in testing, lecturing, cooperative learning, teaching evaluations and other areas. The program is designed to allow faculty members the opportunity to discuss college teaching and learning in-depth with their colleagues in a non-threatening, pleasant environment.

For details contact the consortium at 683-3183 or Back to top

Scholarship will send student to Amman in June
Melodee Baines, a doctoral student in international studies, was selected to receive a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship for participation in the Arabic program in Amman, Jordan, from June 13 to Aug. 21. She was one of 150 students chosen from among more than 3,300 applicants.

The scholarships are part of the National Security Language Initiative, a coordinated federal effort designed to increase dramatically the number of Americans learning and teaching critical-need foreign languages. Back to top

New SGA president a native of Ghana
Kojo Asamoa-Caesar, a junior communication major, was elected recently as president of the ODU Student Government Association for 2007-08.

A native of Alexandria who grew up in Ghana, Asamosa-Caesar ran for office to combine and further his leadership experiences while serving fellow students. Back to top

Adventure program offers surfing, kayaking day trips
The recreational sports department’s Outdoor Adventure Program offers Learn to Surf outings on May 19 and June 9, and a kayak trip June 2. The cost for each is $10 for faculty and staff and $5 for students. The fee includes transportation, instruction, use of surfboard and kayak, and lunch.

To register or for more information call 683-3384. Back to top

CLT institute begins May 21
Reservations are still being taken for the Center for Learning Technologies’ Summer Institute, scheduled for May 21-23. It will focus on the pedagogical and technical dimensions of podcasting. For details visit Back to top

Grant funds targeted course in cultural competency training for Navy personnel

On May 11, approximately 30 officers and enlisted personnel from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek completed a one-week, intensive cultural competency training course at Old Dominion designed to help them better understand and work in foreign environments.

The 40-hour pilot course, which will be offered to other NECC personnel in eight additional one-week sessions over the next year, is funded by a $532,000 grant from the Navy.

In partnership with ITA International, a local small business that offers comprehensive analysis and assessments to government organizations and private industry, the university developed a cultural competency curriculum that will help sailors better comprehend, communicate with and negotiate with their allied and partner-country counterparts – particularly those in underdeveloped countries – in such areas as maritime security training and humanitarian missions.

ODU faculty taught the first three days of classes at the Gornto TELETECHNET Center and the final two at the university’s facility on the Norfolk Naval Base. The classes covered the following: Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communications, and Home Culture Orientation, by Janet Bing, English; Religion and Culture, by David Loomis, philosophy and religious studies; Use of Interpreters, by M’hammed Abdous, Center for Learning Technologies; The American Embassy/U.S.Country Team, Bismarck Myrick, international affairs; U.N. Organizational Structure and Charter, and Nuances of International Governmental Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations, by Maria Fornella-Oehninger, political science and geography; and The Art of Negotiation, by Donald Smith, sociology and criminal justice.

Overall, the course is designed to foster a fundamental understanding of cultural diversity and interpersonal relationships, as well as increase knowledge of cultural sensitivity, communication and negotiation.

“The NECC, which is commanded by Rear Adm. Donald Bullard, deploys teams to foreign countries to work with their militaries in such areas as port security and local security,” said David Chase, director of military distance learning programs at ODU and the university’s liaison with ITA. “This will provide these sailors with some cultural competencies and basic skills that will allow them to interface with the local militaries in carrying out their missions.”

He added: “This project is one that supports the military and leverages the existing partnerships and expertise of the university. This is a good example of an area where we are well-equipped to help meet the Navy’s needs, and one in which we can indirectly make a national and international impact. The faculty are very enthusiastic about this project.”

Nancy J. Cooley, vice provost for distance learning, is the principal investigator for the grant, and M’Hammed Abdous, director of the Center for Learning Technologies, serves as project manager.

Chase added that ODU will subsequently adapt the pilot course for synchronous and asynchronous distance learning formats, and noted that the Navy may be interested in having future courses tailored to specific regions, cultures and languages. Back to top

ODU a direct-lending institution, Finch says
With the recent increased scrutiny of the federal student loan system and relationships colleges and universities have with lending institutions, Veronica Finch, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, wants to assure students and parents that Old Dominion has no preferred lenders and does not financially, or otherwise, gain from the issuance of student loans.

Unlike some other schools, ODU is a direct-lending institution, which means the university works directly with the U.S. Department of Education to secure loans for students who apply, Finch noted. Students applying for loans work directly with ODU and do not need to apply to a lending institution, such as a bank. The university was one of the original 100 colleges and universities with whom the education department launched the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program in 1993.

“Students fill out one form – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – to apply for whatever state and federal aid as well as some institutional aid that is available,” said Finch. “In addition to whatever grants a student qualifies for, loans are also offered as a choice. All students are eligible for either federal subsidized or unsubsidized students loans.”

Additionally, Finch stressed that the university does not publish a list of preferred or suggested lenders for private/alternative loans, does not have a contract with any lender or guarantor and never participated in a revenue-sharing program. “We are here for our students, and their well-being is our first priority,” she said. Back to top

Sara Hamburg Tonelson
Sara Hamburg Tonelson of Norfolk, who supervised student teachers at Old Dominion for several years, died April 8, 2007.

While raising two sons, she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at ODU in 1966 and 1969. She had a 15-year career as a special education teacher for Norfolk Public Schools, and following retirement continued her work in the field of education as a supervisor of student teaching at ODU.

A member of Congregation Beth El, she was active in a number of Jewish, educational and social organizations. She was also an avid fan of ODU athletics.

Tonelson was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, former ODU education professor, administrator and alumnus A. Rufus Tonelson ’33. She is survived by her two sons, Louis Tonelson (C.A.S. ’80) of Virginia Beach and Stephen Tonelson (M.S.Ed. ’76), a current ODU education professor, of Norfolk. Survivors also include four grandchildren.

Tonelson and her late husband were longtime benefactors of Old Dominion, having established an endowment for an annual faculty award in the Darden College of Education, which bears their names. A gift from the Tonelsons also led to the creation of the Tonelson Garden at Webb Center.

Memorial donations may be made to the A. Rufus Tonelson Athletic Scholarship, Perry Library or to Congregation Beth El. Back to top

Harry “Beau” Price
Harry Borum “Beau” Price III, a former member of the Old Dominion Board of Visitors, died April 22, 2007, in Virginia Beach. He was 70.

Price was appointed twice by governors of Virginia to the ODU board, where he served from 1983 to 1991. Additionally, he taught at the university’s Institute of Management.

Over the past 20 years, Price worked in several fields. He was president of Family Business Advisors, and conducted business planning and estate planning with John S. Pugh & Associates and Cape Financial Inc. He was an instructor of management and leadership seminars and management coaching with the Teren Co. and taught at the College of William and Mary Center for Executive and Professional Development. For the past 17 years, he served as a trustee in bankruptcy with the U.S. Department of Justice, Eastern District of Virginia.

Price served on the Norfolk Academy board of trustees for more than 20 years.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Elizabeth Wilson “Betsy” Price; three sons, Scott Wilson Price, Mark Deitrick Price and Timothy Denny Price; three grandsons; and two brothers, Bruce Deitrick Price and Michael Wayne Price. Back to top

Faculty Awards and Retirement Dinner
A. Rufus Tonelson Faculty Award
Michael T. Zugelder

Michael T. Zugelder, associate professor of finance, has been a member of the Old Dominion University faculty since 1992.

The business law professor for the College of Business and Public Administration, he maintains an active research agenda, publishing one or two articles each year. His students describe him as an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher.

He is a past winner of the college’s teaching award as well as a recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Office of Student Activities and Leadership.

Zugelder serves on the business college’s Ethics Curriculum Task Force, serves as faculty secretary and chairs the Nominations, Elections and and Awards Committee.

The Tonelson Award, which includes a $2,000 prize and a 12-month reserved parking space, is named for one of Old Dominion’s first students, the late Alan Rufus Tonelson ’33, who went on to serve as a professor and administrator of the university.

University Professors
Ravindra P. Joshi, professor of electrical and computer engineering, joined ODU in 1989. He received a bachelor’s degree in technology (1983) and a master’s in electrical engineering (1985) from the Indian Institute of Technology, and a doctorate (1988) in electrical engineering from Arizona State University. He is a co-recipient of the Martin Black Prize from the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (2005) and recipient of the A. Rufus Tonelson Award (2004). In addition he earned the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology (2006) and the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (2003).

Sheri A. Reynolds, associate professor of English and the Ruth and Perry Morgan Endowed Professor of Southern Literature, joined ODU in 1997. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Davidson College in 1989 and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1992. She is the 2003 recipient of the Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in the Rising Star category, and she was featured in April 1997 on the Oprah Winfrey Show during its monthly book club feature. A well-known novelist and playwright, Reynolds is a popular faculty member and currently serves as graduate program director for the M.F.A. program in creative writing.

Lawrence B. Weinstein, professor of physics, joined ODU in 1992. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics (1981) from Yale University and a doctorate in physics (1988) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was inducted as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2005. He received the College of Sciences Faculty Excellence Award in 2005 and the College of Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006. Weinstein has been described as an innovative and engaging professor.

Michael T. Zugelder, associate professor of finance, joined ODU in 1995. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology (1974), an M.B.A. (1976) from Indiana University and a juris doctor degree (1980) from the University of Toledo. He is the recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award (2001) from the College of Business and Public Administration and the Outstanding University Faculty Award (1997) from the Office of Student Activities and Leadership. He consistently receives high praise from his students whether he teaches in the distance learning format or in the traditional classroom.

Instructional Technology Teaching Award
Donald H. Smith and Lawrence B. Weinstein
Donald H. Smith, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice, joined ODU in 1974. He received his bachelor’s (1967) and master’s (1968) degrees from California State University at Long Beach. He earned a doctorate from Emory University in 1972. Smith has taught several TELETECHNET courses, and he is responsible for launching the criminal justice online program. Students have benefited greatly from his innovation and expertise, not only in his subject area but also in his application of technology.

Lawrence B. Weinstein, professor of physics, joined ODU in 1992. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics (1981) from Yale University and a doctorate in physics (1988) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was inducted as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2005. He received the College of Sciences Faculty Excellence Award in 2005 and the College of Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006. Weinstein has engaged in activities inside and outside the classroom that promote, integrate and implement high-tech and low-tech technologies in both formal and informal education.

AJ. Worth Pickering Administrator of the Year Award
Nancy A. Bagranoff
Nancy A. Bagranoff became dean of the College of Business and Public Administration in 2003. Shortly after her arrival, she instituted the Constant Hall Partners program, which serves as an example of her advocacy for faculty and students as well as her ability to connect with the Hampton Roads community.

Since its inception, the CHP program has grown to 18 members and provides funds each year to support faculty and student development, including enabling graduate students to attend professional conferences to present research.

She is currently vice president for education for the American Accounting Association. Additionally, she is a member of several advisory boards and boards of directors in Hampton Roads.

Provost’s Award for Leadership in International Education
David R. Hager and Maria L. Fornella-Oehninger
David R. Hager has more than 35 years of experience as an academic administrator and faculty member at ODU. He currently holds a joint faculty appointment in the Darden College of Education’s higher education administration program and the College of Arts and Letters’ international studies program.

His courses include a special undergraduate seminar at the United Nations. Hager also assists the provost with responsibilities for institutional liaison with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, development of faculty and program recognition opportunities, and the development of an asynchronous R.N.-to-B.S.N. nursing program.

Additionally, he serves as the university’s research integrity officer.

Maria L. Fornella-Oehninger has given superlative service as the director of the Model United Nations program, which she has facilitated since 1993.

With a superb grasp of international issues, she encourages students, administers a complex program and attends to the various elements that lead to a successful conference.

Fornella-Oehninger has taught Model U.N. courses and prepared students to participate in college-level Model U.N. programs around the country. She instituted a U.N. Day observance at Old Dominion and helped with the Model Arab League program and various Joint Forces Staff College programs, while teaching other courses in international relations and comparative politics.

Retiring faculty, administrators honored
Provost Tom Isenhour, above, congratulates ODU’s retiring faculty. Pictured are, left to right: John P. Broderick, English; Kae Chung, management and international business; Terry Dickinson, psychology; Erlene Hendrix, communication and theatre arts; Gilbert Hoy, physics; Thomas Royer, ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences; Deborah Meltsner, communication and theatre arts; Nancy Wade, biological sciences; David Johnson, art; Ronald Johnson, ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences; John Kuehl, history; and Philip Raisor, English. Retiring faculty and administrators not pictured include: Colin Box, James Calliotte, Charlie Cooke, Frederick Freeman, Justin Friberg, Cynthia Ghaemmaghami, Paula Justice, Richard Keplar, Christopher Lovell, Linda Morrison, Roger Richman, Don Runyon, Robert Safford, Stanley Weinstein and George Wong.

University Service Awards
40 Years
Robert L. Ash, Aerospace Engineering; Jim Jarrett, Athletics

35 Years
Dana D. Burnett, Educational Leadership and Counseling; Lawrence G. Dotolo, Virginia Tidewater Consortium; Wayne K. Talley, Economics

30 Years
James A. Calliotte, University College; Edward J. Fraim, Athletic Development; Jane Hager, Educational Curriculum and Instruction; David E. Johnson, Art; Lucien X. Lombardo, Sociology and Criminal Justice; G. Steven Rhiel, Information Technology and Decision Sciences; John M. Ritz, Occupational and Technical Studies

25 Years
A. Osman Akan, Dean’s Office, Engineering and Technology; Deborah B. Bauman, Dental Hygiene; Oktay Baysal, Dean’s Office, Engineering and Technology; Janet M. Bing, English; Judith M. Bowman, Academic Affairs and University College; Kenneth G. Brown, Chemis-try and Biochemistry; Narasinga Rao Chaganty, Mathematics and Statistics; Gregory A. Cutter, Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Don D. Davis, Psychology; Terry L. Dickinson, Psychology; Jacqueline F. Hines, Student Support Services; James W. Kosnik, Music; George C. Maihafer, Physical Therapy; Zia Razzaq, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Allen Sandler, Early Childhood, Speech-Language Pathology and Special Education; Alan Savitzky, Biological Sciences; Marek Wermus, Information Technology and Decision Sciences

20 Years
Elizabeth R. Anders, Athletics; Christopher B. Colburn, Economics; Jennifer J. Foss, Student Health Services; Mieko Ishibashi, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Drew Landman, Aerospace Engi-neering; Wendy S. Larry, Athletics; Marilyn F. Marloff, Communication and Theatre Arts; Pamela D. Morgan, Library Collections and Bibliographic Services; Ravi Mukkamala, Computer Science; Mohammad Najand, Business Administration/Finance; Gary Schafran, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Scott R. Sechrist, Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences; Resit Unal, Engineering Management and Systems Engineering; G. William Whitehurst, History; Mohammad Zubair, Computer Science

Kaufman Prize winner Anshita Kumar and top scholars honored at banquet
Anshita Kumar of Kitwe, Zambia, a senior finance major, was honored May 3 as Old Dominion’s Kaufman Prize winner at the Student Honors and Awards banquet. Six other graduates were recognized as outstanding scholars.

Kumar, who maintained a 3.5 GPA, was a resident assistant and served in various roles in student government. She recently served as student representative to the State Council of Higher Education.

Kumar cited Don Stansberry, director of student activities and leadership, as her most inspiring member of the faculty/administration, noting his guidance, leadership and confidence in her abilities.

The Kaufman Prize, which includes a $10,000 award, was established by Landmark Communications 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.

The following students were presented trophies as recipients of the Alumni Association Outstanding Scholar Awards, given to graduating seniors with the highest GPAs from each college. Faculty and administrators who most inspired the award recipients were also honored.

  • Arts and Letters – Sharon Cortland Osborne, Norfolk, music education, 4.0 (Patti Watters, adjunct professor, music);
  • Business and Public Administration – Michael Loftus, Yorktown, finance, 4.0 (Mohammad Najand, professor, finance);
  • Education – Stephanie Mavredes, Midlothian, Va., human services, 4.0 (Jill Jurgens, associate professor, educational leadership and counseling);
  • Engineering and Technology – Benjamin Keesee, Chatham, Va., mechanical engineering and technology, 3.93 (Nathan Luetke, instructor, mechanical engineering and technology);
  • Health Sciences—Denise Quattlebaum, Suffolk, medical technology, 3.99 (Faye Coleman, associate professor, medical laboratory and radiation sciences); and
  • Sciences – Vassiliki Pravodelov, Cyprus, biochemistry, 4.0 (Ralph Stevens, associate professor, biological sciences).
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From preacher to teacher: Confessions of a career switcher

Back-to-school day was always big in my churches. As minister, I would stand in the pulpit and salute the brave educators celebrating (dreading?) the beginning of a new year. Holding my hands high in Mosaic fashion, I would call for all the hallowed teachers to stand. Encouraging applause by my congregants, I sanctified them for another year of memorable service to mankind.

Little did I know then that I would one day be one of the sacrificial lambs led to the – well, I won’t say slaughter, that sounds so permanent. And so, Confession No. 1 is this: I never thought I would be a teacher. Never. Never. Never!

How this sleight-of-hand occurred in my life is a magician’s trick too bothersome to tell. All I can say is that after nearly 25 years standing in front of octogenarians in fashionable Sun-day hats smiling up at me with southern gentility, I made the leap from the sacred to the secular. One day I was parsing Greek verbs in Matthew 11:25 preparing for a Sunday sermon, and the next day I was sitting with a roomful of bemused and somewhat confused middle-aged adults all in mid-leap – changing careers.

Summer Training
I will never forget that first day at Old Dominion University, holding a thick packet of information under one arm and taking a seat in the lecture hall. I did not know anyone there. A thousand doubts tore at my sensibilities. Was I doing the right thing? Could I actually be a teacher? Did I really want to be a teacher?

Nestled in between airline pilots, lawyers, nurses and sundry other professionals, I heard Ted Forte, our professor, begin with this solemn yet prophetic utterance: “It will take you five years to learn this craft. Some of you will make it. Some of you won’t.” I twitched. He continued: “But if you do survive, you will find teaching to be a fulfilling and gratifying career.”

And with those simple words, a new future slowly unraveled before me. I am now at that five-year mark, and I thought I would stop and evaluate my progress.

After four weeks of intensive training in the Career Switcher program, we were all corralled into the very lecture hall where we had first assembled. It was time for graduation. I taught three lessons that month, each one to a class of fellow adults pretending to be middle school students. My students were so well-behaved. I took note how eager they were to learn. No one slept. No one asked to use the bathroom seven times. No one forgot his or her book. They all had paper and pencil. Their ears were clean, their eyes bright, their hair combed. They smelled nice. The boys all had belts that actually held their pants up. The girls wore modest attire. They politely raised their hands for questions. They laughed at my jokes. Their eyes were filled with encouragement, urging me on when I faltered a little or stumbled. They were forgiving and thoughtful.

I remember vividly, during my final lecture on “Developing Interesting Characters,” thinking how delightful teaching was. I just knew that I had made the right decision. My lesson complete, I bowed with supreme accomplishment as I returned to my seat blushing with modesty. I knew it was good. If only my parishioners could see me here. I was now a teacher!

First Day
My monthlong Career Switcher intensive course of study ended all too soon. The long hot summer was nearly over and I was now a job seeker. I remember walking into Lynnhaven Middle School in Virginia Beach and telling some administrator that I was a teacher. He was desperate to fill an English position. School had already started. He hired me on the spot. The next day I was standing bemused in front of a class of eighth-graders. I was petrified. I had never taught a single real lesson. I had never walked ravenous students to the lunchroom at 1:20 p.m. I had never been mocked by a purple-haired teenager. I had never sent a kid to the office. Well, you get the picture. And this, I guess, is my second Confession: I was totally disoriented and frightened that first day in front of those kids.

I had spoken before hundreds of people every week for more than 20 years. I had led countless funerals and weddings. I had soothed thousands of grieving souls at hospital beds from Chicago to New Orleans. I had led tour groups on treks through Greece, Italy and Turkey. But that was all irrelevant now. Because at this moment, at this precise place and time, I was locked inside a small room with 30 eighth-graders who stared at me as if I were an ape at the zoo.

My first class was what the school system calls Advanced English. I learned quickly that this meant the students could read and write. They were good at this. They liked it. I learned the next day that Core English meant that I had better come up with something pretty darn fascinating or these kids would be planning their next skateboard moves and putting on makeup.

And this leads me to my third Confession: I didn’t have a clue what to do with either group. In all honesty, they all looked about the same to me – jeans, T-shirts, long hair, ennui. Career Switchers had done an admirable job of teaching me instructional basics. But it was all theoretical until this nail-biting moment.

Over the years, my impression of teenagers has changed dramatically. I have come to see each child as unique. Each student, I have found, has a distinct personality, a surprising way of challenging the teacher, a mood stamped with the originality of snowflakes. And here I must make a fourth Confession: I love this aspect of teaching. Every day, every class, every moment in the daily lesson leads to unexplored adventures as I walk hand-in-hand with kids on the brink of adulthood.

Quitting Time?
The first month of teaching nearly swamped me. Each night I pored over the thick curriculum guide. For the uninitiated, this is like a huge recipe book without an index or pretty pictures of steaming soups and chocolate cakes. The more I flipped through this book, the more the recipes merged and morphed into complex carbohydrates, Delphic formulas with keyless locks. I couldn’t figure it out. And the more I couldn’t figure it out, the more the panic swelled in my chest. On my second night as a teacher, I broke out in a cold sweat while pacing back and forth in my bedroom at 3 a.m.

This leads me to my fifth Confession: I nearly quit before the month was out. Honestly. I didn’t think I could handle the heart palpitations, the rivulets of anguish endured each night alone, the feelings of failure that cooked my mind and tore at my self-esteem.

But somehow I slowly figured out what to do and slowly gained confidence and peace. As the years passed, I learned to acknowledge my weaknesses and insufficiencies. At the same time, I learned to utilize my strengths and natural talents. And I discovered something all teachers share – an innovative resilience that says if this won’t work, try this or this or this.

Final Thoughts
Five years have passed since I first stood in that little room with two windows, a sink, a tiny television mounted in the corner and 30 kids waiting for me to say hello. I think I can honestly say now, I am a teacher. Maybe not the best or the most talented or the most likely to succeed. But I have touched many lives – about 500 to date. And that’s a congregation! Which brings me to my final Confession: I love teaching.

Recently, one of the girls in my first class, now a senior in high school, came back and visited me. She sat beside my desk and told me all about her progression through the upper grades. While she talked I couldn’t help but see her as she was five years earlier. She told me I was her favorite teacher of all and that I had influenced her career choice. She wanted to be a writer like me. I didn’t let her see my tears. I coughed and turned for a minute. But as she left I hugged her and knew then that something real and lasting was happening in my classrooms. I was shaping lives. One at a time.

David Denny served as pastor of Cradock Baptist Church in Portsmouth from 1992 to 2001. He received his endorsement in middle school social studies and language arts and one-year eligibility license from ODU’s Career Switcher program in 2002. Denny, who plans to return to Lynnhaven Middle School next fall, has two sons who are students at Old Dominion and his wife is a graduate of the university. Versions of his commentary are scheduled to run in the May-June issue of Tidewater Teachers, the June edition of Virginia Journal of Education and the September issue of NEA Today.

The Darden College of Education offers the Career Switcher program as an alternative pathway to teaching. Since 2000, the noncredit Virginia Department of Education Alternative Teacher Preparation program at Old Dominion has trained more than 800 adults who have gone on to become valued educators in school districts statewide. Back to top

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