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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

President Broderick Receives First Citizen Award from Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce

By Joe Garvey

Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick was presented with this year's Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce First Citizen of Hampton Roads Award during the organization's BRAVO! Celebration of Leadership 2020 ceremony Thursday night at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.

"The highest honor the Hampton Roads Chamber's Leadership development program (LEAD) bestows every year is the First Citizen of Hampton Roads Award. This award celebrates a leader whose tireless efforts have led our region into fruitful partnerships and greater prosperity. A leader who works across traditional boundaries through selfless service, enriching those around him by cultivating fertile ground for prosperity and opportunities for economic growth," said Bryan K. Stephens, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce." For these reasons and many more, we selected President John R. Broderick, Old Dominion University's eighth and longest-serving president. He has truly been an inspirational leader and a vital asset to the Hampton Roads region."

Under his leadership since 2008, Old Dominion has emerged as a research leader in fields from cybersecurity to bioelectrics, and the University has received more than $1 billion in new public and private resources.

"This award is especially meaningful since it highlights regionalism and collaboration, two themes I have prioritized during my presidency," said President Broderick, who earlier this year received a Community Leader Award from the Urban League of Hampton Roads and was named to Virginia Business' Virginia 500 Power List. "Like so many others, we realize at Old Dominion that our success depends on the success of Hampton Roads and that our impact is stronger when we join forces."

He noted ODU's most recent collaboration with Dominion Energy, the commonwealth, the Port of Virginia and the Virginia Maritime Association on the offshore wind energy project off the coast of Virginia Beach. ODU is providing research and coordination for the project.

"The wind initiative, in turn, is part of a larger strategy to create synergies inside and outside the University to leverage ODU's and the region's already significant advantages in the maritime sector," he said.

He also cited ODU's network of centers and institutes, which "illustrates our reach, both geographically and by discipline."

Among those efforts are:

  • The Virginia Institute for Spaceflight and Autonomy on the Eastern Shore.
  • The Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center in Newport News.
  • The Center for Telehealth Innovation, Education and Research in Virginia Beach.
  • The Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics in Norfolk, which is exploring pathbreaking ways to fight cancer.
  • The new Institute of Coastal Adaptation and Resilience, which will be located across the street from what will be the Elizabeth River Project's new headquarters on Colley Avenue to promote collaboration.

"And in an innovative job-sharing approach," he added, "when we hire the executive director of ICAR, that person will also serve as the City of Norfolk's senior resilience strategist."

Noting that the University received a prestigious Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification this year, he also pointed out some of the ODU community's efforts to help the region during the pandemic:

  • Engineering faculty and students teamed to produce hundreds of masks and other personal protective equipment.
  • Members of the College of Health Sciences staffed hospitals and promoted telehealth solutions across the globe.
  • The Darden College of Education eased the transition for public schools to online education.
  • The Strome College of Business is offering free help to businesses facing challenges.

"In short, Old Dominion has taken seriously our responsibilities to community service, bringing scholarship, knowledge and expertise to bear to address the pressing challenges of our time," Broderick said. "I am happy that you have acknowledged our important work."

Retired Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera, who earned his master's degree in public administration from Old Dominion, received the 2020 Julian Hirst Distinguished Alumni Award at the event. This award recognizes a member of LEAD Hampton Roads who exemplifies excellence in community, civic and professional leadership.

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