Dear Fellow Monarchs:

As we embark on the formal beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year, I am honored to welcome our new and returning students to Old Dominion University! Our dedicated staff have been working tirelessly for months to prepare for the Fall 2023 semester, and our world-class faculty are eager to return to classrooms and laboratories for active engagement with their talented students. During the past week, our campus has come alive with move-in activities and welcome events, including this past Friday’s New Student Convocation immediately followed by our first-ever Monarch Way Street Festival.

For Fall 2023, we are proud to welcome two new groups of distinguished students. First, we are honored to make history with a total of 21 valedictorians and salutatorians, who have chosen to pursue their educational dreams as Monarchs, thereby comprising the inaugural cohort of Dominion Award Scholars. This is also the first year for the new TCC-ODU Monarch Ready Program, which is standing strong at nearly 100 student participants. Indeed, today is equally special whether you are starting your Monarch journey; continuing your ODU experience; or preparing for a special milestone later this year, such as graduation or retirement!

This is a critical time for our University as we further our footprint and increase our impact. Completion and move-in of the newly-constructed Health Sciences Building will occur throughout the Fall semester with a formal dedication to be held in January of 2024. Located at the end of Monarch Way, this state-of-the-art, three-story building will be the primary home for the College of Health Sciences, specifically: 1) the School of Dental Hygiene, including the Sofia and David Konikoff Dental Hygiene Care Facility; 2) the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, including the Faschini Wallach Center for Restorative Therapies, which represents the expansion and renaming of the Monarch Physical Therapy Clinic; and 3) research labs for the School of Medical Diagnostic and Translational Sciences.

Also, following the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) approval for the new School of Data Science, we are in the final stages of hiring a total of five positions, including a founding director; one full professor; one associate professor; and two research professors, as well as completing a renovation of a state-of-the-art space in Virginia Beach’s Town Center that will house research labs, an innovation space, and training spaces. Space renovation is expected to be ready for occupancy and operations in mid-October. And, next month, SCHEV will consider final approval of our School of Supply Chain, Logistics, and Maritime Operations, which will better position our University to meet regional and global workforce needs and advance economic growth in our community and across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Another significant effort to meet community needs is the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) integration, which has been the focus of comprehensive planning efforts for nearly two years. As the General Assembly and Governor Youngkin work collaboratively to finalize the state’s budget, our integration is closer to becoming a reality with Day One targeted and on track for January 1, 2024. This continued momentum would not be possible without the engagement and support of our campus partners, who have dedicated their talent and time to advance this important initiative, as well as the advocacy and leadership of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Barry Knight of Virginia Beach and Senator Louise Lucas of Portsmouth. These local leaders have been true champions in advancing this integration with a multi-faceted and shared goal to enhance health care; strengthen educational programs; bolster the workforce pipeline; and address health and economic disparities facing fellow citizens.

All of this excitement and progress come at a time in which we have completed the first semester for full implementation of the University’s 2023-2028 strategic plan, “Forward-Focused: Where Innovation Meets Possibilities,” across seven focal areas with 30 goals and 103 strategies. The Spring 2023 progress reports for each of the plan’s key performance indicators are available for review at As previously pledged, this level of accountable and transparent reporting will occur following every Spring and Fall semester within the implementation period.

I look forward to engaging with our caring campus throughout the Fall, including Presidential Open Forums to be held during the week of October 2, 2023, with additional details to be shared in the coming weeks. I also look forward to hosting a new Monthly Faculty Luncheon Series, as well as the Annual State of the University Address on November 3, 2023 beginning at 10:00 AM in Chartway Arena during which we will reflect on recent progress; highlight the incredible work of our fellow Monarchs; and announce future plans. I hope that every Monarch has an enjoyable and productive Fall 2023 semester!

With Monarch Pride,

Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.