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Athletic Scholarship Honors Ed Fraim

Old Dominion University's athletic history boasts many stellar athletes and coaches, but it also has those rare superstars who have worked behind the scenes to ensure successful programs season after season.

One of these special people, whose contributions have left a large imprint on the Monarch sports programs, has just retired after a 32-year career in athletic fundraising at the university.

Although Ed Fraim did his work behind the curtain, so to speak, he in fact was well-known by many ODU fans and supporters. The university's senior director for athletic development, Fraim, a 1964 ODU graduate, joined his alma mater in 1977 as its first athletic fundraiser and first executive director of the Intercollegiate Foundation.

When he took the job, following a successful stint as a basketball coach and athletic director at Norfolk Catholic High School, annual contributions to ODU's intercollegiate athletic programs amounted to only $37,000. In Fraim's first two years, that number jumped nearly seven-fold.

Over his 32 years at the university, he raised millions of dollars for athletic scholarships, salaries and facilities. But Fraim was also a "friend raiser," owing in large measure to his sincerity, quiet charm and love of ODU.

For those reasons and more, it's not surprising that a group of his closest friends got together to establish a scholarship in his name. The $250,000 endowed scholarship, which was announced at Fraim's retirement dinner May 20, will be "awarded annually to one or more student-athletes who participate on an intercollegiate team and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and/or academic standing."

One of the contributors to the endowment is fellow alumnus and long-time friend Pete Keilty '66.

"Ed and I went to high school and ODU together and have been friends for the last 52 years. It was Ed who brought me into the Big Blue Club when he took the job ... in 1976, which was our first year of Division I athletics," said Keilty.

"He developed good business relationships with his clients, who eventually became his close friends. It was because of Ed that Beverly and I endowed a basketball scholarship four years ago. I am sure the same can be said for most of the donors who have made the commitment of an endowment.

"Ed is the person most of us relied on when we needed an answer from ODU. He dots every I, crosses every T, responds to every e-mail and answers every phone call. Believe me, that is pretty unusual in today's world."

The other contributors to the scholarship endowment are Rick Kiefner '69, Carroll Creecy '61, Jean Siebert and Dick Fraim '65, Ed's brother.

Kiefner, who has known Fraim for 40 years and taught and coached with him four years at Norfolk Catholic, calls Fraim "the most organized person I've ever been around." That, along with his work ethic and love of ODU, combined to make him successful in his role at the university, Kiefner said.

"He worked really hard for ODU to help build a first-class athletic program," he added. "One of his strong points was that he not only reached out to alumni, but to non-alumni as well in promoting ODU as the university of Hampton Roads."

Athletic director Jim Jarrett, who was in that position at the time Fraim came on board, credits Fraim's "hands-on, one-on-one style" for his fundraising success over the years.

"He believed in sitting down and having a conversation with a potential donor," Jarrett said. "His support of the Intercollegiate Foundation, Big Blue Club and the university was significant, and more than most people realize. He cultivated an untold number of ODU supporters and raised a lot of money for scholarships, salaries and facilities."

Jarrett also pointed to Fraim's role in heading up successful scholarship events such as the Stihl Soccer Classic, the Greenwich Kitchens/ODU Baseball Clinic and the Spivey Rentals golf tournament.

Alonzo Brandon '90, vice president for development and alumni relations, summed up Fraim's contributions and the legacy scholarship established by his friends this way: "I can think of no one more deserving of such an honor than Ed Fraim. He's been one of our greatest ambassadors."

This article was posted on: May 21, 2009

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