By Joe Garvey

Richard F. Barry III, who along with his wife, Carolyn, made the largest donation in Old Dominion University's history to establish the Barry Art Museum, will be among the honorees at the Urban League of Hampton Roads' 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders celebration, scheduled for 8 a.m. Jan. 18.

Due to the pandemic, this year's event will be held virtually through a live broadcast instead of the traditional breakfast. There is no cost to attend and participants can visit to register online. ODU is one of the Urban League's sponsors.

Established in 1984, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders' awards are presented to individuals or groups who promote positive images, exemplify community service, demonstrate the values that model those of King and show evidence of the impact their contributions make in the lives of others.

Barry, who is president of the Barry Art Museum's board of directors, is being recognized for his philanthropy.

Barry has a long history with ODU. In addition to the $37 million gift of artwork and funding for the museum, he served on the Board of Visitors from 1985 to 1993, holding positions as rector (1988-90) and vice rector (1986-88). Barry also served on the University's Educational Foundation Board of Trustees, co-chaired the university's first Capital Campaign and created the Richard F. Barry Jr. Chair in Mathematics in the College of Sciences to honor his father, who was a math professor at the University for 25 years.

In addition, the Barrys committed $2 million toward the Barry Arts Building, which opened in 2014 on Monarch Way.

Barry, who had a 40-year career at Landmark Media Enterprises and its predecessor, Landmark Communications, also has a long record of community involvement. He and Carolyn have served on boards and committees of many local nonprofit organizations.

The year's other MLK Community Leaders Award recipients are:

  • Community Service: Jonathan Zur, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.
  • Education: James Dyke Jr., former Virginia Secretary of Education.
  • Workforce Development: Dr. Angela A. Reddix, president & CEO of ARDX.
  • Health: Dr. Jordan Asher, Sentara Healthcare.
  • Housing & Community: Mark Johnson, Truist Bank.
  • Social Justice: Judge Jerrauld C. Jones and family.
  • Rising Leader: Isaiah Marriner, Churchland High School.

Maurice Jones, president & CEO of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), will be the keynote speaker for the event, which has the theme of "Facing Forward For Our Future."

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