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The inauguration of Roseann Runte as the seventh president of Old Dominion University will kick off Old Dominion's Founders' Day activities at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 11. The day will conclude with a reception and awards dinner honoring distinguished alumni and area leaders. The reception begins at 6 p.m. in the North Mall of Webb University Center.

NASA astronaut and 1993 alumnus Michael J. Bloomfield will be the guest speaker. A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Bloomfield is scheduled to command the crew of the space shuttle on a 10-day mission to the International Space Station in early 2002. He has flown on the shuttle twice previously. The Flint, Mich., native graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1981 and earned his master's degree in engineering management from Old Dominion in 1993. Formerly stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Bloomfield now makes his home in Houston.

Following Bloomfield's address, the university will present six awards for service and community involvement, and nine Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Honors and honorees include:
· The Batten Award for philanthropy to Tim Miller, founder of ACS Systems and Engineering, a telecommunications and engineering firm in Virginia Beach. A member of the Old Dominion Intercollegiate Foundation board, Miller has dedicated much of his adult life to working with programs associated with children, education and athletics, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hampton Roads, the Boy Scouts of America and the Make a Wish Foundation.

· The Albert B. "Buck" Gornto Jr. Regional Service Award to Joan D. Gifford, chairman of the board for Coldwell Banker Gifford Realty Inc. Currently chairman of the university's Educational Foundation board, she formerly was vice rector of the Board of Visitors and on the Real Estate Foundation board. She has been actively involved with the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, several Realtors associations, the Better Business Bureau and Norfolk State University.

· Two Entrepreneurial Awards to Frank Batten Jr., chairman of Landmark Communications Inc. (headquartered in Norfolk), and Jack L. Ezzell Jr., president and chief executive officer of Zel Technologies LLC (headquartered in Hampton). Batten formerly was president and publisher of The Virginian-Pilot before becoming executive vice president of Landmark, The Pilot's parent company. A retired Air Force colonel, Ezzell has helped ZelTech become one of the nation's fastest growing technology firms. He also established KidTech, a technology lab for children and senior citizens.

· Two Town-N-Gown Community Service Awards to Joseph M. Donnelly, vice president, corporate secretary and board member for Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad, and A. James English Jr., an assistant professor of community and environmental health at Old Dominion. A U.S. Navy veteran, Donnelly is a certified public accountant and a certified locomotive engineer. He has been actively involved with the Rotary Club of Portsmouth, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, United Way of South Hampton Roads, American Red Cross and Virginia Tech Foundation. English is chairman of the Norfolk Environmental Commission and president of the Wards Corner Civic League.

The nine distinguished alumni are:
· Jeffrey P. Black of Maple Glenn, Pa., president of the Industrial Group of Teleflex Inc. As president, Black has led the division to significant growth in sales and profits and integrated several key acquisitions in both North American and Europe. The company manufactures and distributes products and services for the automotive, marine, industrial, medical and aerospace markets worldwide. He earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Old Dominion in 1983.

· Allen Cannon III of Vienna, Va., is a partner with the Perkins Coie law firm in Washington, D.C. He formerly was an intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in internal political and economic developments of the former USSR. He earned his bachelor's degree in Russian language and literature from Old Dominion in 1973 and is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center.

· W. Richard Conrad of Chester, N.J., is president of Northeast Area Operations for Verizon Wireless. He oversees all company operations along the East Coast from Maine to Virginia for the nation's largest wireless communications provider. He began his career with the company, then Bell Atlantic Mobile, in 1986 as a regional director in the Washington, D.C., area. A Marine Corps veteran, Conrad graduated from Old Dominion in 1970.

· Kenneth W. Dobbins of Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the 17th president of Southeast Missouri State University and has worked in higher education for nearly 20 years. Dobbins received his bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Akron, his master's in business administration with an emphasis in management information systems from Old Dominion in 1979 and his doctorate in higher education administration from Kent State University.

· Harry A. Gard is being granted this award posthumously. From 1983 until his death in 2000, he was a member of the International Executive Service Corps, teaching Third World countries the process of growing and cleaning peanuts and manufacturing peanut butter. At the time of his retirement he was president of Jimbo's Jumbo Peanut Company in Edenton, N.C. Gard graduated from Old Dominion in 1962.

· Lt. Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin is commanding general of Fort Hood, Texas. He has held numerous positions of leadership in the U.S. Army since July 1970. His decorations and badges include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal. He earned his bachelor's degree in management from Old Dominion in 1969 and a master's degree in business administration from Mercer University.

· J. Michael Pitchford of Charlotte, N.C., is senior vice president for Bank of America, directing the real estate equity and the national account construction finance elements of the Community Banking Group. He also serves as chairman of the Banc of America Community Development Corporation. He earned two degrees from Old Dominion, a bachelor's of science in 1978 and his master's of public administration in 1981.

· John Sanderson of White Lake, Mich., is president and chief executive officer of Siemens Automotive, where he guides the U.S. activities of the company, a global supplier of automotive electronics. Siemens received Ford Motor Co.'s World Excellence Award for Recognition of Achievement in Warranty Reduction in 2000. He earned both a bachelor of business administration degree (1979) and an M.B.A. (1981) from Old Dominion.

· Karen Weaver of Issaquah, Wash., is senior vice president for operation services and chief financial officer for Brookfield Properties, a commercial real estate company. She oversees all accounting and financial reporting, human resources, information systems and technical services. She serves on the board of Toronto Commercial Real Estate Women and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Weaver earned her bachelor's degree in accounting from Old Dominion in 1984.

This article was posted on: September 25, 2001

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