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Broderick Gives Old Dominion's State of the University Address

Old Dominion University President John Broderick urged students, faculty and staff to be proud of the incredible growth of their institution during his State of the University address on Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Broderick also unveiled the university's new video, which features the tagline "Idea Fusion," something that he said sums up Old Dominion's collective efforts.

"Our branding effort has been under way for more than three years now, but we deliberately held off on creating a tagline for the university," Broderick said.

"But with enrollment management and strategic plans in hand, this year the university seemed ready for the rallying cry - the punctuation mark that a good tagline should be."

The video featured some of ODU's leading researchers, filmed in dramatic fashion, speaking about how their research is leading to breakthroughs in fields such as modeling and simulation, bioelectrics, cold plasma and alternative energy.

In his address, Broderick spoke about the great strides the university has made over the last decade, even in times of tight, and occasionally slashed, budgets for state institutions.

He said for this progress to continue, each person in the ODU community needs to take every opportunity they can to share the university's story.

"Please, never miss a chance to share with a neighbor, a prospective student or an elected official the reasons Old Dominion University is such a great investment for the commonwealth," Broderick said.

The president outlined a number of things ODU has to brag about, including an impressive lineup of award-winning faculty, forward-focused research and a profoundly multicultural campus community.

"And don't hesitate to point out that this university is a nearly $1 billion economic engine for Hampton Roads," Broderick said. "Not only does Old Dominion create jobs and ideas, but it also produces the educated and trained workforce needed to move this region and its economy forward."

Broderick said he has met with more than 500 ODU faculty and staff members during special morning meetings over the summer.

"These breakfast gatherings symbolize a very important tenet of this administration," Broderick said. "While I cannot visit with every employee, I want to assure each and every one of you that your voices will be heard.

"Those of us in supervisory positions - including me - need to remember effective communication starts with listening."

Broderick said the feasibility of a number of suggestions raised at the breakfast meetings are being examined, and some improvements have been made already.

The past three years, Old Dominion University has tried to accommodate the explosive growth in its student body through an enrollment management program. Broderick said part of the reason so many students are choosing ODU is because of what the school offers.

"The strategic look forward has us clearly committed to our very first goal of providing students with all the tools necessary to succeed, but does so in a way, both in and out of the classroom," the president said. "In my opinion, a perfect balance."

Broderick said the university must continue to promote the strengths of its academic programs, reallocating resources to programs that have, or could attain, national prominence.

"We also must continue to affirm Old Dominion as a first-rate graduate institution, a goal, I should add, we are well on our way to achieving in all six colleges."

The State of the University address was attended by an overflow crowd of staff, faculty, students and local community leaders. Among the attendees were several local delegates from the Virginia General Assembly; current and former Board of Visitors members, including Rector Ross Mugler; and Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim.

In remarks preceding President Broderick's address, Fraim said that, from the perspective of one who grew up in Norfolk and is a long-time Larchmont resident, he has had a close-up view of ODU's "incredible" growth as a university.

"Our partnership with Old Dominion University is long, and one that we value highly," Fraim said.

With Old Dominion growing through initiatives like the University Village, Innovation Research Park and now a highly anticipated football team, Fraim said the university continues to prove doubters wrong.

"Nothing ages quite so well as 'I told you so,' but I'm really not sure anybody envisioned the electricity and excitement around the start of football at Old Dominion," Fraim noted.

Mugler said that the Board of Visitors was thrilled to be able to make the decision to hire Broderick as president last spring.

"As a member of the Board of Visitors for the past seven years, it's truly been exciting to see the transformation of the campus," Mugler added.

"Much of the credit for these initiatives is due to the tireless effort of President John Broderick. All of you, faculty, staff and community leaders, should be very thankful for the work he's done. The board has placed its trust in Old Dominion University's future in the very capable hands of John Broderick."

This article was posted on: August 26, 2009

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.