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ODU marks 10th anniversary of Virginia Beach Higher Education Center

Leaders from Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University and the city of Virginia Beach helped mark the 10th anniversary of the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center during an afternoon ceremony May 13 at the facility.

Renée Olander, ODU director of the center, welcomed a large crowd to the celebration, and acknowledged all of those who played a role in making the facility a reality.

In his remarks, ODU President John R. Broderick thanked former Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf for her and the city's roles in creating the center. Oberndorf was a strong vocal advocate for higher education in the city, and it was the city of Virginia Beach that donated land to the ODU Real Estate Foundation for the facility.

Broderick, who pointed out that the university has 16,000 alumni who live in Virginia Beach, 700 of whom attended classes at the VBHEC, focused his remarks on the collaborative efforts that went into creating the center.

"We sometimes talk a good game about what's a good public-private partnership. I don't think any of us can argue what a terrific collaboration this has been, not only between the city and Norfolk State and Old Dominion, but also the logical tie-in with Tidewater Community College."

Virginia Beach Mayor William D. Sessoms noted, "The Virginia Beach Higher Education Center has given us the opportunity to offer our residents a quality education that is convenient and easily accessible, and built upon the outstanding reputation of Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University."

Sessoms added that the center has helped the city's economic development office convince businesses to move to Virginia Beach.

Other speakers included ODU Board of Visitors Rector Ross A. Mugler (pictured, left, with Sessoms), who talked about taking classes at the center while pursuing his master's degree in public administration from the university, and Edward Hamm Jr., who was the ODU rector when the center was being built. Hamm currently serves as rector of the NSU board.

The program also featured a video with interviews of former ODU President James V. Koch, former NSU President Harrison Wilson and Oberndorf, who all worked together in the late 1990s to get the center built.

ODU, in collaboration with Norfolk State University, has offered graduate and undergraduate degree programs that support the region's high-demand and critical shortage professions at this Virginia Beach location, in the Princess Anne Commons section of the city, since 2000.

To date, more than 700 people have earned an ODU degree at the VBHEC. Currently, ODU offers bachelor's and master's degrees in more than 30 academic programs, two doctoral degree programs, and certificate and continuing education programs. In addition, the VBHEC serves as headquarters for the Institute for Learning in Retirement, the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology, a Virginia Tidewater Consortium-Educational Opportunity Center and NSU educational programming. The state-of-the-art facility also provides space, as available, to nonprofit, corporate and business organizations.

As part of the anniversary observance, a 10-year retrospective art exhibition by Solomon Isekeije, an assistant professor of art at Hampton University and an ODU/NSU Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies program graduate, is on display in the VBHEC central atrium through July 8.

This article was posted on: May 14, 2010

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