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Governor, Admiral to speak at ODU's 113th Commencement

Gov. Bob McDonnell and retired U.S. Navy Admiral William J. Fallon will deliver remarks to approximately 1,100 graduates at Old Dominion University's 113th commencement exercises Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Additionally, the university will award honorary degrees to Fallon, Katherine Johnson, a pioneer of the American space movement, and retired Landmark Media executive Bruce Bradley.

McDonnell will speak at the 9 a.m. ceremony to graduates of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, Darden College of Education and College of Sciences. Fallon, who will receive an honorary doctorate of science, will address graduates of the College of Arts and Letters, College of Business and Public Administration and College of Health Sciences at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Johnson will receive an honorary doctorate of science at the morning ceremony and Bradley will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters in the afternoon.

Both ceremonies will be video streamed live and can be accessed Sunday, Dec. 19, from the university's home page at www.odu.edu.

The 71st governor of the commonwealth of Virginia, McDonnell has spent his career in public service. He served as a Virginia Beach prosecutor beginning in 1989 and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1991, where he served 14 years representing Virginia Beach. In 2005, McDonnell was elected the 44th attorney general of Virginia.

A native of Fairfax County, he received a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame, a master's from Boston University and a juris doctor degree from Regent University.

Fallon, a 1982 graduate of ODU's master's program in international studies, retired from the U.S. Navy in 2008 after a distinguished 40-year career of military and strategic leadership. He has led U.S. and allied forces in eight separate commands and played a leadership role in military and diplomatic matters at the highest levels of government.

As head of U.S. Central Command, Fallon directed all U.S. military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia and Horn of Africa, focusing on combat efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. He led the U.S. Pacific Command for two years, directing political-military activities in the Asia-Pacific region. He also commanded the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and U.S. Fleet Forces Command, with responsibility for the readiness of U.S. naval forces worldwide.

Currently CEO of the cyber-security firm NeuralIQ, Fallon is also a partner in Tilwell Petroleum LLC, adviser to several other businesses and a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses. In addition to ODU, he is a graduate of Villanova University, the U.S. Naval War College and the National War College.

A pioneer of the American space movement, Johnson went to work in 1953 as a pool mathematician, or "computer," for the Langley Research Center (LRC) of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the precursor to NASA, in Hampton.

She worked on the early space program, including computing the launch window for astronaut Alan Shepard's 1961 Mercury mission. She was tasked with calculations to propel space capsules into orbit around the moon and to send landing units to and from the lunar surface. She plotted backup navigational charts for astronauts in case of electronic failures. In 1962, computers were used for the first time to calculate John Glenn's orbit around Earth. According to Johnson, Glenn called on her to verify the numbers. Her Flight Dynamics Branch at LRC calculated the trajectory for all the space flights.

While working in the NASA branch, Johnson helped author the first textbook on space. Later in her career, she worked on the space shuttle program, the Earth Resources Satellite and on plans for a mission to Mars. Johnson co-authored 26 scientific papers during her 33 years with NASA, before retiring in 1986.

She is a graduate of West Virginia State College (now university), where she earned a B.S. degree in mathematics and French.

Bradley retired in 2008 as president of the Landmark Publishing Group, a position he had held since 1999. He served nearly 35 years in the newspaper business, all within the Norfolk-based Landmark Media Enterprises LLC (formerly Landmark Communications) and its entities.

He served twice as president and publisher of Norfolk's Virginian-Pilot - most recently from December 2005 to April 2008, and from October 1995 to June 2000. He began his career at The Pilot in 1974 when he answered an advertisement for a sales position. He later served as the newspaper's general manager and director of advertising. Previously, he held various executive advertising and marketing positions at the Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record, the Roanoke (Va.) Times & World News and the Ledger-Star in Norfolk.

Bradley sits on the board of directors of the Newspaper Association of America, as well as on the boards of the United Way of South Hampton Roads, Virginia Symphony, WHRO Foundation, Elizabeth River Project and Eastern Virginia Medical School, along with several other organizations. He currently teaches a class on leadership in ODU's College of Business and Public Administration.

Bradley holds an M.B.A. from ODU and a B.S. in business administration from Villanova University.

This article was posted on: December 15, 2010

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