By Jonah Grinkewitz

Old Dominion University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., announced plans for a research partnership with the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab) and an expanded Barry Art Museum during his second State of the University address on Nov. 3 at Chartway Arena.

ODU and JLab have officially established the Joint Institute on Advanced Computing for Environmental Studies (ACES), he said.

This comes after the laboratory was recently selected to lead the Department of Energy (DOE)’s $300 million High Performance Data Facility Hub.

President Hemphill said the partnership with ODU is JLab’s first joint institute with an academic institution and the only DOE joint institute among Virginia public universities.

“As the first of its kind in Virginia, we have formed the interdisciplinary power to study the complex systems that underpin health and environmental concerns in Hampton Roads,” President Hemphill said.

The president also announced the planned expansion of the University’s Barry Art Museum. Thanks to a leading gift from the Leah and Richard Waitzer Foundation, the museum will double its current gallery space with a new three-story addition. The “Waitzer Wing” will include a multiuse event space, a community gallery, an educational laboratory and more.

“The Waitzer Wing will provide new possibilities and limitless opportunities for the Barry Art Museum, our institution and our region,” President Hemphill said.

In a further update, President Hemphill said that the University has made significant progress on the Eastern Virginia Medical School integration which is scheduled to happen July 1, 2024.

“As a result of dedicated funding and expanded support from the Commonwealth of Virginia and Sentara Health, we are poised to make a profound impact on the future of our region and its people!” President Hemphill said.

President Hemphill also announced the creation of Discover Your Dominion, a new program aimed at increasing student retention that will “help students understand the foundational principles of financial literacy and enhanced engagement and will foster a sense of belonging on campus.” The initiative recently received nearly $1 million in funding from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

On the artificial intelligence front, President Hemphill shared that ODU’s Division of Digital Learning has partnered with ODU’s School of Data Science and School of Cybersecurity to develop two of the University’s first AI certificates which will be available starting in fall 2024.

Among other initiatives highlighted from the past year were the creation of the Monarch Internship and Co-Op Office – which supports the University’s goal of having every graduating student complete an internship starting in 2027 – and the TCC-ODU Monarch Ready Program, which creates a pathway for a select group of students from Tidewater Community College to ODU.

President Hemphill also:

  • Announced a partnership with the National Institute for Student Success (NISS) at Georgia State University to coach campus partners on creating more equitable enrollment, retention and graduation outcomes.
  • Congratulated Khan Iftekharuddin, ODU professor of electrical and computer engineering, on being named an Outstanding Faculty Awards winner by SCHEV.
  • Celebrated ODU athletic teams for tying for the second most number of championships in the University’s first year in the Sun Belt Conference and ODU student athletes for ranking ninth among all NCAA Division I schools in community service hours.
  • Praised the ODU Police Department for their dedication to serving and protecting the Monarch community and for being among the only 2.2% of roughly 4,000 university police agencies to secure accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). 
  • Recognized Nina Brown, ODU professor of counseling and human services and Eminent Scholar, for her 55 years of service to the University.
  • Applauded Jennifer Burdette, ODU chemistry and biochemistry double major, for being the University’s first undergraduate student to be selected as a Barry Goldwater scholar.
  • Showed appreciation for the nearly 700 ODU employees who participated in the University’s inaugural Budget Summit.
  • Reported that ODU will adopt Salesforce as its University-wide customer relationship management (CRM) starting in 2024.
  • Acknowledged the University Communications and Digital Learning leadership and teams for their work telling ODU’s story and rebranding ODUGlobal.

Watch the Address