[ skip to content ]


The Old Dominion University Board of Visitors presented an honorary degree to Joan D. Gifford, owner and chairman of the board of Gifford Management Group, during a special ceremony Nov. 18.

A former member of the ODU board and the first woman Realtor to receive the Realtor of the Year Award for the commonwealth of Virginia, Gifford was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

A native of Devonshire, England, Gifford was appointed to the ODU Board of Visitors in 1995. She served as vice rector during the 1997-98 academic year, and has served on the Institutional Advancement Committee and as vice chair of the Administration and Finance Committee. In 2001, she received the Albert B. "Buck" Gornto Jr. Regional Service Award from Old Dominion.

Active in the Tidewater Association of Realtors since 1953, Gifford has served locally on numerous boards and committees, including president of the Norfolk/Chesapeake Board of Realtors and member of the Realtors Political Action Committee. She was instrumental in forming the Navy Housing Task Force, an organization that is a liaison between the U.S. Navy and the Realtor community.

Gifford also has served as president of the Women's Council of Realtors for both local and state associations and was elected for three terms as a director of the National Association of Realtors. She was honored as the Professional Woman of the Year for Hampton Roads in 1984.

Gifford is currently a member of ODU's Economics Club and Real Estate Foundation. She also serves on Norfolk State University's Foundation Board and is on the advisory boards of Lee's Friends, ForKids and Heritage Bank.

This article was posted on: November 27, 2007

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

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