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Porta ad Mundos Novos. Portal to New Worlds.

After six months of pithy phrases, meaningful maxims and appropriate aphorisms, Old Dominion University has a motto. The familiar phrase, the theme for President Roseann Runte's inauguration last October, was unanimously approved by the Board of Visitors at its Sept. 13 meeting.

More than 400 suggestions by 125 people were submitted to a committee composed of faculty, staff, alumni, students, board members and friends of the university, which ultimately chose the winning phrase. Submissions came from as far away as California and Canada, and the search garnered newspaper stories in The Virginian-Pilot, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the Globe and Mail in Toronto, Canada.

"The committee liked the idea of new worlds, which could suggest the discovery of both new ideas -- be they scientific or creative -- and new lands," explained Runte. "This captures Old Dominion's thrusts of being future-oriented and international."

Runte initiated the motto contest and search in March, saying that a good motto captures the essence of a university.

"It constitutes a part of the traditions which make an academic community unique. Students learn them and alumni recall them as part of the treasured memories of college days.

"While not all universities have mottos, many of the oldest and best universities proudly announce their motto over the campus entrance porticos, on their Web site, and under the masthead of their newspaper and alumni magazines. It is a shared reference which can form part of the bond among faculty, staff, students and alumni."

Although she is the author of the winning motto, Portal to New Worlds, Runte will not accept the prize of a $100 gift certificate to the University Bookstore. Instead, she said, the proud tradition she helped to create is her reward.

This article was posted on: September 17, 2002

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