Pathway Retention Award

A Scholarship Opportunity for Talented, Diverse Students Advancing the Mission of ODU

The Pathway Retention Award (PRA) was established by The Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity to promote the persistence/matriculation of diverse students attending Old Dominion University (ODU). This award seeks to recognize the value that diverse students bring to the university, including students from underrepresented backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

Submissions made during this academic year will be awarded for the next academic year. The distribution of the Award seeks to support students in their pursuit of academic excellence. Award recipients may receive:

  • a specified Meal Planwhich is an extension of the on-campus dining meal plan, eligible in select on-campus retail food service establishments (i.e. ODU Food Court, Starbucks, etc.)
  • AND/OR a specified ODU Bookstore Award

In a combined ceremony honoring the Pathway Retention and Diversity Champion Award recipients, 7 students received the Meal Plan and/or Bookstore Award. The event was held April 19th and hosted by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. Remarks were provided by September Sanderlin, VP for Human Resources, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Dr. Veleka Gatling, AVP for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence; and John Wiley, Assistant for Diversity Initiatives. Students of diverse talents and abilities who are prepared to use their knowledge and experience to advance the ODU campus community towards a culture of inclusive excellence are encouraged to apply. 2024-25 submissions will be accepted at a later date."

2024-2025 Submissions

Apply for the PRA

Submit your application. Deadline for all submissions is Thursday, December 7, 2023.

Students can apply now for the 2024-2025 academic year award by submitting the online PRA Application Form.

Essay Guidelines

Students meeting the basic criteria to compete for the PRA must submit a one-page Word document essay on the following topic:

Fostering a sense of belonging is an important element in creating inclusive and intentionally equitable spaces on campus. How would winning this award impact your academic career here at ODU? What are some ways you make others feel like they belong at ODU? 

Submissions should follow the following formatting guidelines:

  • One page
  • 12-point font
  • Times New Roman
  • 1 inch margins
  • single or double spaced


Award recipients are expected to serve as a secret shopper for Auxiliary Services AND attend two end-of-the-year award luncheons hosted by The Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity and Auxiliary Services. Please note that Housing and Resident Assistants are ineligible for receiving the PRA and that receiving other scholarships or financial aid may restrict eligibility. Accepting the award may impact other financial aid that students receive. 

Submission Deadline

Deadline for all submissions is Thursday, December 7, 2023.


If you have questions concerning the Pathway Retention Award, please contact:

John Wiley
Assistant for Diversity Initiatives
Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity
Old Dominion University
4111 Monarch Way, Suite 106
Norfolk, VA 23508
Office: 757-683-3141
Fax: 757-683-5844