[ skip to content ]


In addition to noting some of the highlights of the previous academic year, President Roseann Runte spoke to a number of challenges and opportunities Old Dominion will face in the years ahead during her State of the University address Aug. 25.

Archived video of the speech can be viewed via the Old Dominion University Web site. To view, click on the link below: http://www.lions.odu.edu/org/ats/multimedia/streamed_events/events/sotu2004/

This link is best accessed through Netscape or Explorer. You will need RealPlayer to view it. If you don't have RealPlayer or have problems, please download the newest player free from REAL at

She encouraged members of the campus community not only to participate in campus activities, such as lectures and cultural and sporting events, but also to support the upcoming capital campaign with a designated gift to the library.

Saying that the library "is the heart of an academic institution" and "a key to the pursuit of every discipline," she announced her own pledge of $25,000 to the library in addition to her annual gift of $20,000 to the scholarship fund.

"Together, we can ensure the ability of future students to discover the history we are making today in the tomes or digital archives of the Perry Library," she said. "Together, we can ensure the future of Old Dominion University and make our shared visions reality. Let us not dream. Let us make dreams come true."

Runte also announced the themes of the university's next five-year strategic plan, which is scheduled to be in place next year. Specific goals for the plan will be finalized in the coming months. The plan's themes include:

•Improving ODU's position among the nation's Carnegie-ranked, research-extensive universities;
•Continuing to support undergraduate teaching but also focus on some additional graduate programs;
•Creating a research-friendly environment, removing any obstacles which may exist;
•Providing an increasingly beautiful environment, conducive to study and the discovery of great ideas and inventions;
•Fostering strong community relationships;
•Coordinating efforts and resources, eliminating bureaucracy and making support services more transparent and user-friendly; and
•Finding the resources to achieve the goals of the strategic plan.

Runte emphasized that the selection of themes and goals for the new plan does not mean that the university will stop doing other things it has always done, but instead signifies a desire to dedicate additional energy and resources to achieving the newly stated goals over the next five years.

Commenting on the initiative to improve the university's national ranking, she said, "We will do this by supporting our faculty and attracting additional, extraordinary scholars to our ranks. We have begun the process in the current year by awarding additional merit pay and by putting aside more than $1 million to reward faculty, to correct inequities, to begin to correct compression issues and to retain faculty. We will begin hiring new faculty and we will be advertising for a
number of new chairs."

Regarding new initiatives to beautify the campus, Runte noted that the recently adopted campus master plan calls for eventually eliminating 55 acres of surface parking lots in favor of quads and relying on additional parking garages around the perimeter of the campus. Another goal of the master plan is to provide enough housing to accommodate half the student population.

In addition to increasing the number of apartment buildings in the University Village, Runte said, "We will add new research and teaching spaces. These are sorely needed. We will [make] the Village ... ever more lively and a vital, vibrant place to celebrate the arts and to pursue academic life."
Noting the new housing, as well as the restaurants and cafes scheduled to open in the Village in the coming weeks and months, she added, "We have significantly increased the number of security officers on campus to cover both the increased responsibility with the Village expansion and their normal duties."

Also during her address, which was held in the newly renovated Mills Godwin Jr. Building auditorium, Runte cited the "significant strides" ODU has made toward becoming a "greener" campus and acknowledged the Faculty Senate for its approval of a new, required course on the global environment. "Now we will actually be able to preach what we practice," she said.

In her closing remarks, Runte returned to the strategic plan, offering a philosophical commentary on why such documents are important:

"At Old Dominion University our strategic plan is an attempt to recognize the potential greatness of humankind, of our students and our region. It is an attempt to further our mission of changing lives.

"Our plan harnesses technology to the use of our community. It promotes a community of scholars who share a common mission of learning and discovery. It offers the possibility of shared values and intelligent dissent. It recalls our sense of purpose and invigorates us all with the responsibility of sharing the knowledge and wisdom we have acquired along with the passion for learning.

"That passion brings joy and meaning to our lives and will animate our classes and our community, ensuring that wherever this university reaches, we will promote an ethic of authenticity requiring creation, construction, discovery and originality."

This article was posted on: August 16, 2004

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

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

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