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Old Dominion University's annual Founders' Day program, titled "Realizing Dreams," was held Friday at the university's new Ted Constant Convocation Center, following an earlier grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony with Gov. Mark Warner.

During the dinner, the university presented awards for service and community involvement, and distinguished alumni awards. Honors and honorees included:

* The Batten Award for philanthropy to The Norfolk Foundation. Fifty-two years ago a group of Norfolk civic leaders had a vision for the future -- a permanent endowment for their community -- and the vehicle they chose to carry out this vision was The Norfolk Foundation. Their mission: to make grants that transform the quality of life and inspire philanthropy in southeastern Virginia.

* The Albert B. "Buck" Gornto Jr. Regional Service Award to Joshua P. Darden Jr., president of Darden Properties Inc. Prior to his current business, Darden was the president of five automobile dealerships in Hampton Roads and was named by Time magazine as National Automobile Dealer of the Year in 1986.

* The Distinguished Entrepreneurial Award to Edward L. Hamm Jr., a former rector of the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors and president and CEO of E. L. Hamm and Associates Inc., a management and engineering consulting firm in Virginia Beach. Hamm has been contracted by the Small Business Administration to provide specialized higher-level consulting to small businesses across Virginia in the areas of accounting, marketing, operations and financial planning.

* Town-N-Gown Community Service Awards to the Hampton Roads Committee of 200+ Men, an advocacy group for African American causes in Hampton Roads, and The Lambert's Point Health Promotion Center, a partnership with the university's College of Health Sciences. With a growing membership, 200+ Men has emerged as one of the premier African American men's groups in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Lambert's Point Health Promotion Center, a community, university and business partnership, opened in fall 2001 under the leadership of the College of Health Sciences. Through community support from the Lambert's Point Civic League and Norfolk United Methodist Church, the church became the site for renewed efforts to involve local residents in adopting healthier lifestyles through education and health screenings.

* The University Medal to James V. Koch, Board of Visitors Professor of Economics and President Emeritus of Old Dominion University, and G. William Whitehurst, Kaufman Lecturer in Public Affairs at Old Dominion. Koch teaches courses in the Department of Economics, including the economics of e-commerce, and a course on the history of World War II in the Department of History. His recently published research has focused on price and quality issues in e-commerce. A member of the U.S. Congress for 18 years, Whitehurst served on the House Armed Services Committee for the full 18 years he was in Congress. In addition, for 10 years while in Congress, he was a delegate to the North Atlantic Assembly, the parliamentary arm of NATO.

* The Tim Miller Athletic Award to Robin D. Ray, president and CEO of Atlantic Dominion Distributors and owner of Hoffman Beverage Co. Ray carries on the tradition of a business begun by her great-grandfather in 1875. Atlantic Dominion Distributors began as the Old Dominion Tobacco Co. and was a cigar-manufacturing company, supplying retail stores with handmade cigars. Today Atlantic Distributors supplies more than 10,000 different products to all classes of the retail trade.

* The Honorary Alumnus Designation to Stephen B. Ballard, president and CEO of S. B. Ballard Construction Co. Ballard established his company as an industry leader in the 1980s, during which he built noteworthy projects such as the Wild Water Rapids theme park in Virginia Beach, 11 Jiffy Lube centers in the greater Norfolk area, a flagship Toys 'R Us store at Lynnhaven North and an administration building at the Virginia Zoological Park in Norfolk. Ballard's business was chosen as Small Business of the Year in 1988 by the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce.

The nine Distinguished Alumni are:

* Joan P. Brock, of Virginia Beach, an original founder and former treasurer of Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. A family tradition in retail led Brock to her current position with Dollar Tree Stores Inc. The company, co-founded in 1986 by Brock and her husband, Macon F. Brock Jr., with her brother, J. Douglas Perry, grew out of the K&K Toys stores originally started by her father, Kenneth R. Perry. Brock served for 11 years as Dollar Tree's assistant secretary/treasurer; her husband is the president and chief executive officer. Brock received a master's degree in humanities from Old Dominion in 1991. Today, Dollar Tree operates more than 1,600 stores in 37 states.

* Melissa J. Buffington, of Nashville, Tenn., senior vice president of human development and planning for Dollar General Corp., a Fortune 500 company with more than 5,800 stores in 27 states and more than 50,000 employees company-wide. Headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tenn., Dollar General generated sales of $5.32 billion in fiscal year 2002. Buffington received her master's of business administration from Old Dominion in 1991.

* William B. Drewry, of Atlanta, entertainment industry analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB). Drewry has been continuously recognized among the top of his peers in numerous polls. Since 1998, he has been ranked No. 1 in the Greenwich Associates fund manager surveys and has earned No. 1 and No. 2 rankings on Institutional Investor's "All-America Research Team." CSFB is a leading global investment bank serving institutional, corporate, government and individual clients.

* Gail R. Englert, of Chesapeake, a fifth-grade math teacher at Sewells Point Elementary School in Norfolk. Englert has served as a lead math teacher for 12 years and was named Teacher of the Year for the entire Norfolk school system in 1998. USA Today recognized Englert's efforts last year when it named her to its Second Team All-USA Teacher Team.

* Dr. Charles P. Fletcher, of Virginia Beach, dentist and vice chairman of Virginia Beach Federal Financial Corp. until 1998, when it merged to become Centura Bank and later became the Royal Bank of Canada. Fletcher earned an associate's degree in pre-dental education from the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary (now Old Dominion University) in 1950. He and his wife, Juanita, live in Virginia Beach.

* Maj. Gen. Henry Osman, of Arlington, Va., commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Forces Atlantic, Camp Lejeune, N.C. Osman has had a long and distinguished military career. Over the past several decades, his service to the country has taken him from Vietnam to the USS Eisenhower and, eventually, to his current position in Washington, a position he has held since 2000. He earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Old Dominion in 1969.

* Ping-Shia Tsao Kung, of Alexandria, Va., founder and chief executive officer of VoiceInVoiceOut Corp., (VIVO) and also as founder, president and chairwoman of INTECS International Inc. and the Taipei, Taiwan-based INTECS Information Ltd. Tsao has had a major international impact on communications. The government of the Republic of China awarded her the Overseas Chinese Young Entrepreneur award in 1995 and the Taiwan Industry Association named her Female Executive of the Year in 1998. Tsao earned her master's degree in computer science from Old Dominion in 1983.

* Michael Torrech, of Chesapeake, president of Tecnico Corp. Torrech is responsible for profitability and financial performance and oversees all aspects of the company's daily operations. Founded by his father, Rafael Torrech III, Tecnico is a privately owned industrial and marine manufacturing firm, headquartered in Chesapeake. Torrech earned his bachelor's degree in engineering technology from Old Dominion in 1986. He serves on the university's Educational Foundation Board.

* Melody C. Watts, of Yardley, Pa., deputy attorney general for the state of Pennsylvania. Watts oversees the Pennsylvania Financial Enforcement Division, dealing specifically with cases referred by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Additionally, since 1996 she has been the Workers Compensation Section chairwoman at the Law Firm of David Oh, P.C. Watts, earned her bachelor's degree in political science from Old Dominion in 1983.

This article was posted on: October 1, 2002

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