By Amber Kennedy

Old Dominion University has launched “Forward-Focused: For Dreams and Beyond,” a $500 million capital campaign to fund scholarships and research opportunities for students, attract top faculty, invest in health sciences, deliver new athletic scholarships and ensure the campus continues to offer top-caliber, modern facilities for living and learning. With the support of generous donors, the five-year campaign has already raised $275 million.

President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., announced the campaign at the Oct. 20 Distinguished Alumni Honors Dinner and Campaign Celebration, one of several Inauguration events commemorating his formal investiture as the University’s ninth president. “As we embark on this campaign, Monarch Nation is stepping boldly forward to declare our dreams possible,” President Hemphill said. “We will focus our investment and efforts in the areas where ODU is poised to innovate and lead – social mobility, research and workforce development.”

The campaign will capitalize on the University’s forward momentum, including its recent designation as an R1 Research Institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The effort has defined areas of focus:

  • Student Success: $100 million in new scholarship support and $8 million to provide more student-led research opportunities and expand internships and experiential learning.
  • Academic Excellence: $85 million to attract world-class faculty, finance additional department chairs and professorships, and provide faculty state-of-the-art technology and equipment.
  • Top-Tier Research: $81 million to support ODU’s R1 designation, with a focus on coastal resilience, cybersecurity and data sciences, maritime, and autonomous systems.
  • Improving Public Health: $70 million in philanthropic investment in public health, including mental health initiatives, a robust library for the future ONE School of Public Health, a professorship in substance abuse nursing and a chair in mental health nursing. In addition, ODU is planning to establish a Center for Movement Health and Disability.
  • Building a World-Class Campus: ODU aims to create a top-caliber campus for living and learning, adding a Data Science facility and Alumni Center, improving the Perry Library and modernizing engineering lab technology.
  • Stepping Up Athletics: $120 million to add athletic scholarships and offer the best facilities possible, including expanding and upgrading the baseball stadium.

Vice President for University Advancement Alonzo Brandon said, “This is an exciting time at ODU. Our 165,000 alumni have stepped up in the past to support our new initiatives, and we know we can count on them to continue to support the vision of President Hemphill. The Forward Focused: For Dreams and Beyond campaign will provide needed support that will enhance our campus community and help our students realize their full potential.”

Founded in 1930 as the Norfolk Division of The College of William & Mary, ODU is a dynamic public research institution serving approximately 23,500 students from 99 countries. The University has more than 165,000 alumni, with 85% of graduates employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months after graduation. With a concentration on student success, ODU is ranked in the top 15% of schools in the country on CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Index. In 2021, one in four recipients of a bachelor’s degree from ODU was the first in their family to earn a degree.