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John Toomey, associate professor of music at Old Dominion University, today will receive an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council on Higher Education for Virginia.

Toomey is one of only 11 faculty members in the commonwealth who were selected this year to receive the honor, the ultimate award for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities.

He will be recognized during a ceremony at the State Capitol today and at a reception at the Executive Mansion in Richmond. Toomey also receives a check for $5,000 appropriated by the Virginia General Assembly and an engraved plaque. More than 71 faculty statewide were nominated for this year's awards. Since the program's inception in 1986, 151 faculty members have received the honor.

"Professor Toomey is an incredibly valuable member of the university faculty," said Jo Ann Gora, Old Dominion's provost and vice president for academic affairs.

"He gives unstintingly of his time and talent to his students and to the university community. His students…rave about his ability to mentor, coach, encourage and inform. And, as a musician and performer, he brings so much talent to the stage. He is delight to work with, to listen to, and to learn from."

Toomey teaches classes in jazz appreciation on TELETECHNET, Old Dominion's distance learning network, which broadcasts classes across the state, the nation and the world.

Using a ceiling-mounted camera in his specially equipped classroom, Toomey can focus students' attention on his hands as they play across the keyboard, a feature not available in traditional music classrooms. This gives students at remote sites a view as good if not better than those in the classroom.

This revolutionary teaching technique earned Toomey the TELETECHNET Teacher of the Year Award in 1995, the first year it was given by the university.

Toomey also teaches aesthetics of jazz, computers and musical instrument digital interface technology, recording and electronic music, jazz improvisation, sight singing and applied jazz lessons.

Toomey brings tremendous musical credibility to his work. He's the former musical director for jazz great Maynard Ferguson and a frequent performer at clubs in Hampton Roads.

He has recorded several compact discs of his jazz works and has performed with Cab Calloway, the Count Basie Band small group, Paul Anka and Jerry Vale.

A native of Goshen, N.Y., Toomey is a graduate of the Crane School of Music, where he earned his bachelor's degree, and of the Eastman School of Music, where he earned his master's degree.

He has been at Old Dominion since 1990 and taught at Olivet College and Central State University before coming to Norfolk.

This article was posted on: March 1, 2000

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

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