Dear Fellow Monarchs:

As we officially begin the Spring 2024 semester at Old Dominion University, please accept a warm Monarch welcome to our new and returning students, faculty, and staff following the semester break. I hope that each of you had a relaxing and rewarding time away!

Before the break, we celebrated the opening of our newest location in Virginia Beach, which expands our focus on data science and enhances our collaboration with business and industry in cutting-edge technological advancements. We also received confirmation from our regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Our recent site visit resulted in zero findings and a ten-year reaffirmation, which represents the maximum length possible, due to our excellence and success in meeting nearly 100 standards and core requirements. And, we engaged in a number of graduation celebrations and Commencement ceremonies to honor our newest Monarch alumni.

As we settle back into our regular routines with shorter days and cooler weather until spring officially arrives, let us be reminded of the vital role of Monarchs and the core values of our community, such as accessibility, collaboration, excellence, global engagement, inclusion, innovation, and respect. All of these values contribute to a caring and diverse community that fuels a mission of purpose, promotes a sense of belonging, and prioritizes the importance of safety.

During the Fall 2023 semester, I directly heard from individual Monarchs, who shared that they did not feel safe due to specific instances and individual interactions experienced on our campus. While we will always have differences, we should not allow those issues, regardless of their level of impact or severity, to create a divide on our campus in which individuals are questioning their personal safety.

I encourage all Monarchs to utilize available services, including the ODU Cares Team; the Office of Counseling Services for students or the Employee Assistance Program for faculty and staff; and the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. These specialized offices and programs, and so many others across campus, are fully prepared to individually support all Monarchs in their unique journeys.

As we fully re-open the expanded and improved Student Recreation and Well-Being Center, students will have direct access to and utilization of a world-class engagement and services hub. Additionally, we are in the final stages of construction on the New Health Sciences Building with move-in to occur in the coming months and a dedication ceremony to be held in late April.

I know the Spring 2024 semester holds excitement and promise for our great institution. I look forward to seeing all that will be accomplished as we continue our honored traditions with a lasting legacy and profound impact in the areas of teaching, research, and service!


Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.