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Edward L. Hamm Jr., owner and president of E.L. Hamm and Associates, and J. Douglas Perry, co-founder, director of the board, and chairman and chief executive officer emeritus of Dollar Tree Stores, will receive honorary degrees during Old Dominion University commencement exercises Sunday, Dec. 19. Hamm will receive a doctor of commerce and Perry will receive a doctor of humane letters.

The ceremony for more than 2,000 graduates begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Gov. Mark R. Warner will deliver the commencement address.

E.L. Hamm and Associates employs more than 500 people at four sites in Virginia and at field sites around the United States and the world. The company has been recognized for leadership in innovation and productivity and has long been the firm of choice for renovation of U.S. embassies throughout Eastern Europe, including the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

In addition to operating his consulting and engineering firm, headquartered in Virginia Beach, Hamm serves as the director of Virginia's Department of Minority Business Enterprise, a position to which Gov. Warner appointed him.

At ODU, Hamm has served as a member of the Board of Visitors, the Educational Foundation board, and the board of directors for the Cooperating Hampton Roads Organizations for Minority Engineering. This year the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus gave Hamm the Distinguished Virginian award, and in 2003 the Urban League of Hampton Roads gave him the first James Koch Award.

A native Virginian, Hamm graduated from Hampton University with a baccalaureate degree in engineering in 1968.

Perry, a native of Norfolk, attended Old Dominion University. He started in the retail business as a young man, working in the five-and-dime store that his father owned in the Wards Corner area of Norfolk. In 1970, he and his brother-in-law, Macon Brock, started a toy store in Military Circle-the precursor of what would become K & K Toys, a national chain. As part of the diversification of K & K, Perry co-founded Dollar Tree Stores in 1986. Headquartered in Chesapeake, Dollar Tree became a publicly traded company in 1995 and today the national retail chain employs more than 35,000 people at locations around the country.

Perry has served as chairman of the board of Old Dominion Trust Co., chairman of the board of trustees of Cape Henry Collegiate School, and as a board member of the USS Wisconsin Foundation, The Salvation Army and Bon Secours Hampton Roads. At ODU, he served as a member of the Educational Foundation board and as a board member of the Economics Club of Hampton Roads. For thousands of students and faculty at ODU, Perry and his wife are perhaps most recognizable as the namesakes of the J. Douglas and Patricia Perry Library.

This article was posted on: December 14, 2004

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