By Erica Howell

Bonnie Van Lunen, Dean of Old Dominion University’s College of Health Sciences, was recently inducted into the Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association’s Hall of Fame.

The Virginia Athletic Trainers' Association (VATA) announced the induction of Bonnie Van Lunen, Dean of Old Dominion University’s College of Health Sciences, into the VATA Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place during VATA's annual meeting held in Hampton, VA.

ODU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Austin Agho said, “Dean Van Lunen's recognition is a source of pride for the ODU community. We congratulate her on this distinguished award, acknowledging her outstanding leadership in athletic training and her enduring commitment to excellence in higher education.”

Van Lunen's career, spanning over three decades, has set her apart as a true leader in the field of athletic training. Her continuous contributions to the advancement of the practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia have earned her the admiration and respect of her peers. VATA President Michael Kotelnicki commended Van Lunen, stating, "She is a strong mentor for both students and colleagues, a fierce advocate for the athletic training profession and an overall high-quality human being." 

Man and woman standing together with an award plaque

VATA President, Mike Kotelnicki with ODU College of Health Sciences Dean and Professor, Bonnie Van Lunen

Notable among her accomplishments is Van Lunen's dedicated service to athletic training education, with over 30 years of commitment at local, state, district and national levels. Her volunteer roles include serving as a post-professional site visitor for the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) since 1998, chairing the post-professional review committee and contributing to the development of the Residency and Fellowship Accreditation Council.

Recognizing her outstanding leadership and contributions, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) has bestowed upon Van Lunen numerous awards, including the Service Award (2008), Research Fellow (2012), Distinguished Educator Award (2014) and Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award (2017). In 2015, the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association named her the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer and the Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association honored her as the Educator of the Year.

In 2023, Van Lunen was awarded the Pete Koehneke Award by the CAATE, recognizing her exceptional contributions to athletic training education and accreditation over more than two decades of service.

Chris Rhea, Associate Dean for Research & Innovation in the ODU College of Health Sciences, remarked, "Dean Van Lunen has continuously modeled exemplary leadership to her profession of athletic training and to higher education in general. This award recognizes her decades-long commitment and demonstrated excellence to her profession."

Julie Cavallario, Graduate Program Director for the Athletic Training Program, offered a letter of support, stating, "Dr. Van Lunen embodies the dedication and service to the profession expected of a Hall of Fame inductee, and her accomplishments far exceed those that I have been able to detail within this letter."