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ODU Holds Rededication Ceremony for Dragas Hall, Hughes Atrium

ODU Holds Rededication Ceremony for Dragas Hall, Hughes Atrium

Old Dominion hosted a ceremony for the rededication of Dragas Hall and the Hughes Atrium Wednesday, June 13.

President John Broderick presented a building plaque and framed resolution to members of the Dragas and Hughes families to commemorate the occasion.

"The university is delighted that the demonstration of support and commitment to the growth and development of ODU, displayed over the years by the Dragas and Hughes families, is now appropriately reflected in this wonderful facility," he said.

Broderick also recognized Virginia Delegate Johnny Joannou, whose work on the state's $6.8 million general obligation bond project helped make the renovation possible.

George Dragas Jr., an ODU alumnus and former rector of the Board of Visitors, accepted a plaque from Broderick that was on the original Dragas International Center. It was a generous gift from Dragas and his brother Marcus, who was unable to attend, that led to the building of the center, which opened in 1995. The Board of Visitors voted to rename Hughes Hall, Dragas Hall, after the international center was razed during the Foreman Field renovation project.

In her remarks at the ceremony, Provost Carol Simpson offered a bit of history about Dragas Hall. "This two-story building is currently the oldest remaining building in the center of the campus. It was originally constructed in 1958, housed the library and faculty offices, and was known as Hughes Library," she said. "It was renamed Hughes Hall in 1976 after a new university library was constructed."

The building was originally named for Robert Morton Hughes, a prominent admiralty lawyer who had served for many years on the College of William and Mary Board of Visitors. He advocated for a two-year branch of the school to be located in Norfolk, and raised the issue with W&M's president as early as 1925. "As you can see, Robert Morton Hughes was one of the founding pioneers of Old Dominion University, and through the beautiful atrium of this building, his legacy lives on," Simpson said.

Broderick presented a framed copy of the 2008 Board of Visitors resolution naming the Hughes Atrium to Robert Hughes, a descendant of Robert Morton Hughes.

A similar legacy was started through the founding of the Dragas International Center, she said, adding that the Dragas family has funded a professorship in international studies endowment, the Center for Regional Studies, and numerous other programs and initiatives.

George Dragas Jr., who attended ODU when it was known as the Norfolk Division and served as rector of the Board of Visitors from 1990-91, spoke of his "continuing love affair with Old Dominion" at the ceremony.

Today Dragas Hall is home to the Office of International Programs, which includes the study abroad office and English Language Center, as well as the academic side of the computer science department, International Student and Scholar Services, the Office of International Admissions and the Philippine American Cultural Center. The facility also contains classrooms and computer labs.

Simpson said that ODU received an award in the 15th annual Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate's Excellence in Development Design Awards competition for the renovation of Dragas Hall. It received an Award of Merit for Best Renovated or Historic Rehabilitation Project. The architect for the project was Tymoff+Moss Architects, and the contractor was S.B. Ballard Construction Co.

This highlight was posted on: June 14, 2012

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